What happens when a young professional with 40+ years of experience decides to legitimise his appreciation of a subject with theoretical foundation, empirical investigation and peer deliberation?-He adds a Dr to his name. And what happens when this academic Doctorate of Management contemplates to capture the lessons learnt in a published form, sprinkles it with field notes of ‘road much travelled’ and proposes a paradigm based on his thoughts, ideas, and learnings?-A treatise or a memoir is curated.
HR-IR Unison: A treatise, is one such memoir by Dr. Viresh P Mathur, who has spent four decades in the service of a people issues and has organically evolved both himself and the subject through ideation, deliberation, contemplation, experimentation, and consolidation of practices. The treatise is a collection of his formal and informal understanding of Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management, the converging spaces of the two themes, the subsystems of the two that are still in silos and the consequences of this interface for industrial harmony.
Organised into four chapters, the treatise navigates the conceptual viewpoint, historical evolution of theory and practices, empirical evidence of perception of actors in the field and furthers the roadmap for constructive integration of HRM and IR. The first chapter, ‘HR and IR: One Objective, Two Terms, Three Actors’ sets the context of exposition by introducing the scope, span and spatial convergence of HR and IR sprouting from the author’s experience-validated concern for declining attention of new-breed HR professionals, to IR specially in manufacturing sector and embracing glamorous realms of HR, selectively. Through a fluidic integration of principles, practices and perspectives of HR and IR he makes a very compelling proposition to his professional circuit for balancing appreciation of HR and apprehensions of IR through a unified paradigm. Chapter two titled “Converging Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management -Morphing Industrial Scenario” starts with a sketching of the trends and transitions of IR and its sub systems with a locus of pre and post liberalisation and a focus on employee productivity. It goes on to establish emergence and development of HR to address the challenges posed by systems and limitations of IR and crystallises a blueprint for synergistic vision of HR encompassing virtues of IR. The next section “HRM and IR in the Indian Tyre Industry-Concept and Evidence from Review of Literature” discusses the theoretical design of perspectives and prospects in a specific industry that offers inductive generalisations both for manufacturing sector and India Inc., by virtue of its respectable share in both. The choice of industry sector in the memoir was natural selection based on decades of tacit knowledge invested by the author. The final chapter “Empirical Field Notes on HR-IR in Tyre Industry” is a consolidation of implicit, explicit and tacit knowledge of the author surrounding HR and IR and a call for further deliberation, addition, and action for both veterans and contemporary colleagues in the fraternity.
The treatise is a practical guidebook, written in a lucid manner deliberately avoiding the hyperbole temptation, at the same time keeping the domain trait upright. It may not be best of academic delight or literary thrill but it will certainly find merit and appreciation in the intellectual circuits for its very humble, very profound and very “straight from the heart and mind” submissions and appeals. It is meant for select readership and is promising for both students and practitioners of people management. It has its share of flaws inherent from the dare of a field specialist encroaching the academia but the courage of conviction emanating from a lifetime of experience of the author is worth exonerating the naiveté.