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Grievance means any type of dissatisfaction or discontentments arising out of factors related to an employees job which he thinks are unfair. A grievance arises when an employee feels that something has happened or is happening to him which he thinks is unfair, unjust or inequitable. In an organization, a grievance may arise due to several factors such as: 1. Violation of managements responsibility such as poor working conditions 2. Violation of companys rules and regulations 3. Violation of labor laws 4. Violation of natural rules of justice such as unfair treatment in promotion, etc. Various sources of grievance may be categorized under three heads: (i) management policies, (ii) working conditions, and (iii) personal factors 1. Grievance resulting from management policies include:
o o o o o o o

Wage rates Leave policy Overtime Lack of career planning Role conflicts Lack of regard for collective agreement Disparity between skill of worker and job responsibility

2. Grievance resulting from working conditions include:

o o o o

Poor safety and bad physical conditions Unavailability of tools and proper machinery Negative approach to discipline Unrealistic targets

3. Grievance resulting from inter-personal factors include

o o o o

Poor relationships with team members Autocratic leadership style of superiors Poor relations with seniors Conflicts with peers and colleagues

It is necessary to distinguish a complaint from grievance. A complaint is an indication of employee dissatisfaction that has not been submitted in written. On the other hand, a grievance is a complaint that has been put in writing and made formal.

Grievances are symptoms of conflicts in industry. Therefore, management should be concerned with both complaints and grievances, because both may be important indicators of potential problems within the workforce. Without a grievance procedure, management may be unable to respond to employee concerns since managers are unaware of them. Therefore, a formal grievance procedure is a valuable communication tool for the organization.

Grievance procedure is a formal communication between an employee and the management designed for the settlement of a grievance. The grievance procedures differ from organization to organization. 1. 2. Open door policy Step-ladder policy

OPEN DOOR POLICY: Under this policy, the aggrieved employee is free to meet the top executives of the organization and get his grievances redressed. Such a policy works well only in small organizations. However, in bigger organizations, top management executives are usually busy with other concerned matters of the company. Moreover, it is believed that open door policy is suitable for executives; operational employees may feel shy to go to top management. STEP LADDER POLICY: Under this policy, the aggrieved employee has to follow a step by step procedure for getting his grievance redressed. In this procedure, whenever an employee is confronted with a grievance, he presents his problem to his immediate supervisor. If the employee is not satisfied with superiors decision, then he discusses his grievance with the departmental head. The departmental head discusses the problem with joint grievance committees to find a solution. However, if the committee also fails to redress the grievance, then it may be referred to chief

executive. If the chief executive also fails to redress the grievance, then such a grievance is referred to voluntary arbitration where the award of arbitrator is binding on both the parties.


Grievance may be any genuine or imaginary feeling of dissatisfaction or injustice which an employee experiences about his job and its nature, about the management policies and procedures. It must be expressed by the employee and brought to the notice of the management and the organization. Grievances take the form of collective disputes when they are not resolved. Also they will then lower the morale and efficiency of the employees. Unattended grievances result in frustration, dissatisfaction, low productivity, lack of interest in work, absenteeism, etc. In short, grievance arises when employees expectations are not fulfilled from the organization as a result of which a feeling of discontentment and dissatisfaction arises. This dissatisfaction must crop up from employment issues and not from personal issues. Grievance may result from the following factorsa. Improper working conditions such as strict production standards, unsafe workplace, bad relation with managers, etc. b. Irrational management policies such as overtime, transfers, demotions, inappropriate salary structure, etc. c. Violation of organizational rules and practices The manager should immediately identify all grievances and must take appropriate steps to eliminate the causes of such grievances so that the employees remain loyal and committed to their work. Effective grievance management is an essential part of personnel management. The managers should adopt the following approach to manage grievance effectively-

1. Quick action- As soon as the grievance arises, it should be identified and resolved. Training must be given to the managers to effectively and timely manage a grievance. This will lower the detrimental effects of grievance on the employees and their performance. 2. Acknowledging grievance- The manager must acknowledge the grievance put forward by the employee as manifestation of true and real feelings of the employees. Acknowledgement by the manager implies that the manager is eager to look into the complaint impartially and without any bias. This will create a conducive work environment with instances of grievance reduced. 3. Gathering facts- The managers should gather appropriate and sufficient facts explaining the grievances nature. A record of such facts must be maintained so that these can be used in later stage of grievance redressal. 4. Examining the causes of grievance- The actual cause of grievance should be identified. Accordingly remedial actions should be taken to prevent repetition of the grievance. 5. Decisioning- After identifying the causes of grievance, alternative course of actions should be thought of to manage the grievance. The effect of each course of action on the existing and future management policies and procedure should be analyzed and accordingly decision should be taken by the manager. 6. Execution and review- The manager should execute the decision quickly, ignoring the fact, that it may or may not hurt the employees concerned. After implementing the decision, a follow-up must be there to ensure that the grievance has been resolved completely and adequately. An effective grievance procedure ensures an amiable work environment because it redresses the grievance to mutual satisfaction of both the employees and the

managers. It also helps the management to frame policies and procedures acceptable to the employees. It becomes an effective medium for the employees to express t feelings, discontent and dissatisfaction openly and formally.


The following methods can help the employer to identify the grievances:

1. DIRECTIVE OBSERVATION: Knowledge of human behaviour is requisite quality of every good manager. From the changed behaviour of employees, he should be able to snuff the causes of grievances. This he can do without its knowledge to the employee. This method will give general pattern of grievances. In addition to normal routine, periodic interviews with the employees, group meetings and collective bargaining are the specific occasions where direct observation can help in unfolding the grievances.

2. GRIP BOXES: The boxes (like suggestion boxes) are placed at easily accessible spots to most employees in the organisation. The employees can file anonymous complaints about their dissatisfaction in these boxes. Due to anonymity, the fear of managerial action is avoided. Moreover managements interest is also limited to the free and fair views of employees.

3. OPEN DOOR POLICY: Most democratic by nature, the policy is preached most but practiced very rarely in Indian organizations. But this method will be more useful in absence of an effective grievance procedure, otherwise the organisation will do well to have a grievance procedure. Open door policy demands that the employees, even at the lowest rank, should have easy access to the chief executive to get his grievances redressed.

4. EXIT INTERVIEW: Higher employee turnover is a problem of every organisation. Employees leave the organisation either due to dissatisfaction or for better prospects. Exit interviews may be conducted to know the reasons for leaving the job. Properly conducted exit interviews can provide significant information about the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation and can pave way for further improving the management policies for its labour force.


In handling grievances, a considerable amount of time must be spent in talking to employees; gathering data from them and passing on various types of information. Such talks to be most effective, should conform to definite patterns and adhere to well tested rules. The manager must seek to develop an attitude towards employees that should be helpful in gaining their confidence. The management should also display a sincere interest in the problems of employees and their constructive willingness to be to help to them with a view to gain not only their confidence but also their utmost loyal by and genuine cooperation. The procedure adopt by the management in handling the grievances must be apparent. Grievances should be handled in terms of their total effect on the organisation and not solely their immediate or individual effect.


The 15th session of Indian Labor Conference held in 1957 emphasized the need of an established grievance procedure for the country which would be acceptable to unions as well as to management. In the 16th session of Indian Labor Conference, a model for grievance procedure was drawn up. This model helps in creation of grievance machinery. According to it, workers representatives are to be elected for a department or their union is to nominate them. Management has to specify the persons in each department who are to be approached first and the departmental heads who are supposed to be approached in the second step.

The Model Grievance Procedure specifies the details of all the steps that are to be followed while redressing grievances. These steps are:

STEP 1: In the first step the grievance is to be submitted to departmental representative, who is a representative of management. He has to give his answer within 48 hours.

STEP 2: If the departmental representative fails to provide a solution, the aggrieved employee can take his grievance to head of the department, who has to give his decision within 3 days.

STEP 3: If the aggrieved employee is not satisfied with the decision of departmental head, he can take the grievance to Grievance Committee. The Grievance Committee makes its recommendations to the manager within 7 days in the form of a report. The final decision of the management on the report of Grievance Committee must be communicated to the aggrieved employee within three days of the receipt of report. An appeal for revision of final decision can be made by the worker if he is not satisfied with it. The management must communicate its decision to the worker within 7 days.

STEP 4: If the grievance still remains unsettled, the case may be referred to voluntary arbitration.

Overall the present way of Grievance Handling. However, there are certain grievances, which cannot be addressed through the present procedure so a need for a grievance handling forum in the organization is required , 88% of the employees agree the above statement and only 22% of the employees disagree to it, By comparing these percentages, I can conclude that there is need for a grievance handling forum in the organization.

Empowerment by Arun Monappa and Mirza S. Saiyadain NRM conceptual and legal frame work by A.M.Sarma Dynamics of Industrial Relations in India by C.B. Mamaoria and S. Mamoria Human resource development by P.C. Tripathi Management and Organization Behaviour by P. Subba Rao.

1. Meaning Of Grievance 2. Grievance Procedure 3. Effective Way To Grievance Handling 4. Methods Of Identifying Grievances 5. Principles Or Guidelines For Grievance Handling 6. Grievance Procedure In Indian Industry 7. Conclusion