effort bargain

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  • Human Resource Management
  • Sociology


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The exchange of effort for reward which lies at the core of the employment relationship. This sociological concept captures the tacit or customary nature of the economic exchange within work and assumes that accepted norms regulate the worker's input. As such, it can guide the analysis of workplace conflict, which may arise when an established effort-reward ratio is disrupted through management action; for example, by managers seeking to raise effort levels without offering a pay increase in return. It can also be used to analyse change in the employment relationship, and arguably a feature of much work restructuring in recent years has been to shift the effort bargain in the employer's favour so that effort has increased disproportionately to reward. Finally, the process of ‘effort bargaining’ refers to attempts by workers to seek compensation in pay for any increase in effort.

Subjects: Human Resource Management — Sociology.

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