Explain and critically evaluate the central argument and methodology in the article by Royle, 1999 ‘Recruiting the Acquiescent Workforce’, Employee Relations, 21:6, 540-55. McDonald is one of the largest fast food chains in the world. Founded in USA, it has more than 12,000 stores in its hometown and has been expanding spectacularly outside the USA. Despite the great number of its stores around the globe, McDonald is well-known for its uniformity of product (Love, 1995; Ritzer, 1993). This uniformity can be achieved as a result of the Multinational Enterprise (MNE).
Nevertheless, as different countries have distinct national legalization and units of operating, it is highly impossible for McDonald to have perfectly the same labour relations and practices across these countries. Understand this matter, Tony Royle, in his article “Recruiting the Acquiescent Workforce” compare UK and German McDonald’s workforce setting. This essay will analyse and critically evaluate this study conducted by Tony Royle as reported in Journal of Employee Relations 1999.
The study aimed to identify to what extent McDonald’s standardisation approach conveys the employee relations practices between these 2 differing countries, UK and Germany, with distinct labour market regulations and how does McDonald accommodated limitations in regard to the availability of a certain type of works. The study suggest that there is a dynamic relationship between the national employment regulation and MNE, with MNE may still be constrained by the national regulation as the national regulation is deeply rooted in the national industrial relations.
The study focuses on McDonald’s workforce characteristics and the restaurants’ hierarchy. The findings presented in the study are a fraction of a larger study conducted in some European Countries about McDonald’s labour relation practices. They are based on questionnaires, interview, and an observation conducted between 1994 and 1997. Most of the analysis is based on the interview material conducted with McDonald’s management and workers in both countries (Royle, 1999).
The use of questionnaires, interview and observations in this study is justifiable seeing that the subjects of interests do not need quantification and would be more appropriately assessed via qualitative study. Despite the fact that a qualitative analysis may has some restrictions such as being more resource intensive, and less objective, it gives researchers with more depth and complexity of the issues (Kvale, 1996). In the article, Royle described that the labour market regulation and practices in both countries are notably dissimilar.
Milne (1998) stated that labour market in UK is far regulated compared to other European Countries. Different with UK, German industrial relations system is marked as being “social partnership” (Turner, 1998). The dissimilarities will mean the availability of some types of labour may be constrained, and labour may only be employed in particular conducts. Considering this, it is arguable that the UK does not extensively challenge MNEs in their employee relations practices, while Germany has a highly regulated industrial relations system which gives substantial limitation on the MNEs’ employee relation practices.
Compared to UK, Germany has more stringent regulations for the young and disabled people and characterized by strong and well organized industrially based trade unions. O’Reilly and Bothfeld (1998) also indicated that German labour market still applies a more coordinated corporatist style and have a lower numbers of part time jobs. In addition, it is also described that, German business organisations manage with overall lower staffing level compared to UK organisations (ibid. ).
Royle then analyses how this dissimilarity in the national regulation impacts the job, recruitment, and hierarchy of McDonald in both countries. In terms of number of employees, it is apparent that UK employ relatively more than Germany, with 65 and 52 respectively (Royle, 1999). This may be explained as German McDonalds have a high proportion of full time workers with low labour turnover. This could be a result of the collective agreement in the country. This diversity occurs in national legislations in the two countries also influences the recruitment and selection process.
Recruitment is defined as the process in which a company identifies and attracts a pool of qualified applicants for a job vacancy needed for the success and survival of the business (Balnave, Brown, Maconachie, Stone; 2009). Selection is the process of acquiring and using information about job applicants to decide who should be hired in a business for long term or short term job vacancy (Jackson, Schuler, and Werner, 2009). It is greatly important for an organisation to be able to recruit a suitable individuals into its the organisation, therefore the selection system need to be designed to “support the overall organisation strategy, he monitoring of the internal flow of personnel.. matches emerging business strategies” (Beaumont, 1993 p. 57). In terms of job recruitment and selection, McDonalds in the UK and Germany have different goals. McDonald’s Germany does not employ so many workers at the age of 18 or less, while in UK, most of the employees made up of students at the age of 16-20. German Youth Legislation, which limit the flexibility of under 18s, may be the cause of this diversity as most of managers stated that those under 18s were too inflexible thus no use for the restaurants (Royle, 1999).
In addition, McDonald’s Germany believes the company image would be bad if it employs large numbers of under 18s, which is markedly contrast with the UK. The flexible working hours and part time job make UK workforce mostly made up of students and people wanting flexible working hours (ibid. ). Further, while the German workforce is extremely competitive with most of the employees have qualifications and skills from previous works, the UK workforce, which composed of mostly young people, are more likely to be low skilled workers (Royle, 1999).
However, deeper analysis reveals that the German workforce is made up of people whose qualifications and skills are not recognised in the competitive labour market. This may be due to language restriction (ibid. ). However, regardless the diversity in employment regulations in both countries, McDonald’s franchise system is argued to allow the corporation to maintain an enormously tight controls over its franchise operations (Royle, 1999). This control is done through MNEs.
Via MNE, the corporation able to control outcome, including its quality and product uniformity, impose a uniform production process, as well as impose consistent arrangement upon employees’ interactions with recipients (Leidner, 1993). MNE’s concerns are whether they can produce the same hamburger in the UK, USA, and Germany and can whether their practices able to resemble the practices of the parent corporation. Royle, in his article explains that even though at first glance the practices in the two countries may seem entirely different, McDonald still able to implement its MNEs policy in those two differing countries.
This implies that there are key similarities in McDonald workforce in the UK and Germany. In regards to job and workers, while the total number of workers in both countries is to some extent different, the proportion of hourly paid to salaried managers tends to be the same. Further, in both countries the works are fragmented into different stations where while some flexibility could be called for, the employees will tend to do the work they are first assigned for (Royle, 1999).
A deeper evaluation of the nature of work in both countries discloses a fundamental similarity with largely deskilled with high levels of automization. There is also evidence of basic similarity in the makeup of workforce in both countries. The workforce can be divided into two categories. First, those who find McDonald as the last resort to make money as they find it difficult to find jobs elsewhere and have no recognised qualification or may not be able to speak the language fluently, such in the case of German workforce.
Second, are those who perceive themselves as having limited interest in McDonald as they are not financially dependent, for example they are students, or just use McDonald as coasters (Royle, 1995, 1999). This may be ubiquitous in the UK workforce where most of the employees are students who do not depend on the income generated by working in McDonald. In terms of recruitment and selections both countries behave similar as well. Royle stated that the process for applying a job at McDonald’s in most countries is usually alike.
The applicants fills in application forms, and if successful they will proceed to the next steep which is interview (Royle, 1999). In his other article, Royle also stated that McDonalds in both countries, and other countries, tend to select applicants who ‘have the “right attitude” and feel comfortable with the corporate culture, the McDonald’s way of doing things’ (Royle, 1995 p. 53). The right attitude implies that the applicants will be unlikely to challenge management control.
Moreover, McDonald also tries to maintain the low level of union involvement by not employing applicants who are members of a union where possible (Royle, 1995). McDonald in both countries also minimise their employment of disable people (Royle, 1999). Another likeness in the two countries is the workforce. The workforce in these two countries are that all of the employees are either need money or need the work and McDonald is seen as the chance that would otherwise not exist (Royle, 1995).
The German workforce is mostly made up of immigrants who are lack of recognised qualification, language ability, and seen as minority and have few other job opportunities besides in McDonald. The UK workforce, which is mostly made up of students and young workers with no previous work experience, need the job for their career aspiration and may have little knowledge about the working conditions in other industries (Royle, 1999). They will be unlikely to challenge the managerial prerogative and company policy and put their career on the line.
These fundamental similarities in the employment practices in both countries are due to the implementation of MNEs policy which is transferred to the workplace by the remarkably stiff and detailed rules and procedures. Any decisions outside recruitment and selection process need to be given to the parent corporation in the USA (Royle, 1999b). For instance, when the McDonald Germany faced a problem of whether it should negotiate with NGG, one of the unions in Germany, the decision was not made by the McDonald Germany alone but also with the parent corporation (ibid. . Due to the implementation of MNEs in McDonald franchises in both the UK and Germany, McDonald still able to maintain the routinisation in the production process and in the corporate structure and is capable of controlling the product quality and uniformity in both countries. Yet MNE is still constrained by the national industrial regulation system which makes the recruitment and selection process in each country differs. The findings in the article suggest that local operators are only local in the sense of being close to the markets.
McDonalds and other MNE practices are subject to a highly controlled and centralized system restricted directly through the corporate culture. Any changes to the system need to be referred to the USA as it corporate parent. The significance is that the different national regulation can constrains MNEs only in determining whom they can employ and the process they are employed. Reference Balnave, N. , Brown, J. , Maconachie, G. & Stone, R. (2009), Employment Relations in Australia, 2nd ed. Wiley & Sons, Milton, Qld. Beaumont, P. , (1993), Human Resource Management: Key Concepts and Skills, Sage, London. . Jackson SE, Schuler R and Werner S. (2009). Managing Human Resources,10th ed. South-Western Cengage Learning. Mason, USA. Leidner, R. (1993), Fast-Food Fast Talk: Service Work and the Routinisation of Everyday Work, University of California Press, Los Angeles. , . Love, J. F. (1995), McDonald’s Behind the Arches, Bantam Press, London. , Kvale, S (1996). Interviews An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. Sage Publications. Milne, S. , (1998) ‘Analysis, Union Recognition: Will Tony Blair Pay His Dues? ’, The Guardian, 17th March: 15. O’Reilly, J. , Bothfeld, S. 1998), “For better or worse? Part-time work in Britain and West Germany. A comparison of the German socio-economic panel and the British household panel”, Paper presented to the Work, Employment and Society Conference, University of Cambridge. , . Ritzer, G. (1993), The McDonaldization of Society, Sage, California. , . Royle, Tony. (1995). International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. Vol. 7, Iss. 2,3; pg. 52, 5 pgs. Bradford. Turner, L. (1998), Negotiating the New Germany: Can Social Partnership Survive? , Cornell University Press, New York. , .