L'auteur présente ici quelques propos sur la polysémie du terme « politique » en relations industrielles.
The word « politique » takes on a variety of meanings in business and industrial relations, the extent of which is more considerable in Southern Europe than in North America.
This is a constant source of problems for the neo-latin countries whose cultural, ideological and religious background, as well as their union and business history, are very different from those of countries of anglo-saxon or rather germanic origins.
Instead of benefiting from a vocabulary adapted remarkably to this field, they possess one single noun and one single adjective with identical spelling: "politica" or in French « politique ». As a case in point, the English language has three distinct nouns:politics, policy andpolity; as well as two different adjectives:politic and political).
As a result, it is possible to speak of a « politique organisationnelle » and of a « politique générale de l'entreprise » and the various subordinate « politiques » com-posing it. In our particular field, there are « politiques de personnel » and « politiques du travail » (in other words, aspects « politiques » of work organization as well as working conditions). There are other applications as well within the corporation, such as the organizational aspect of employee representation — the case of the « comité d'entreprise » in France — a body responsible for cultural activities, including « culture politique ». (The latter constituting occasionally, the pretext for partisan propaganda). There is also the case of unions supposedly « politisées », largely because of their closed, but not necessarily organic links with political parties, for which they often act as transmission belts. Finally, there are political parties, organized as such in the workplace, and whose activities contradict from time to time the very unions which are closest to their point of view. The resulting interaction creates tensions, as each attempts to penetrate the area of « décisions politiques » of industrial management. We also speak of « grèves politiques » which take different forms in different countries.
All those questions require great discretion in the use of vocabulary, combined with more diversified knowledge in the very large area of industrial relations, including: organizational theory, business administration, labour and business history, political science and the dynamics of social interaction.
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