Employment relations in small business: a case study of registered clubs in NSW

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Buultjens, J 2003, 'Employment relations in small business: a case study of registered clubs in NSW', International Journal of Employment Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 31-54.


Employment relations in Australian small businesses has been a relatively neglected area of empirical research. The research that has been undertaken has concentrated on 'typical' owner-operated small businesses. This article helps to address the paucity of research in small business employment relations and provides a different perspective by examining 'atypical' small businesses. Registered clubs, which are neither privately nor government owned, have a unique ownership structure and business goals. In addition, club managers who are responsible for the day to day running of clubs have to carry out policies formulated by Boards of Directors. The study found that employment relations in small clubs were similar to those in small business generally. For example, small clubs were more likely to have lower rates of unionisation than large clubs and less communications with a trade union. They were also likely to have more informal methods of communication within the workplace. Small clubs, like other small businesses, despite more informality in employment relations, were more likely to use award provisions to determine wages for their managers and employees. These similarities occurred despite substantial differences in the circumstances of small registered club managers and their private sector counterparts.

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