Can Occupational Predation Buy Labour Quiescence? The Case of the Public Sector in Zimbabwe

Langtone Maunganidze


Occupational crimes and industrial conflict remain one of the most complex challenges confronting both industrial relations scholars and practitioners. Buoyed by postmodern thinking the paper examines the extent to which the dynamics and patterns of occupational predation is wickedly traded-off for labour quiescence. It focuses specifically on a selected Zimbabwean public sector organisation that is responsible for the administration and monitoring of revenue collection for the State. The paper advances that although some organisational settings are more structurally ‘criminogenic’ and providing more opportunities for occupational crimes than others, this one is a ‘wicked’ case in which occupational crimes have been institutionalized and systemically transformed into a form of calculative or ‘fractional’ collective bargaining. Both primary and secondary data is collected from two of the organisation’s largest stations using a qualitative research approach and analysed by a combination of thematic and domain data analysis techniques. Twenty participants from each station were selected by both simple stratified and purposive availability sampling designs. It is observed that occupational crimes in this organisation have taken a predatory character and invariably acting as a buffer inventory that insulates the organisation against unfavourable macro-economic environment. While alternative conventional theories of worker mobilization or resistance would have viewed this situation as a sufficient condition and opportunity for employees to engage in collective action, evidence suggests otherwise. The paper concludes that predation in the public sector levels the ground in the management of industrial conflict as it is traded-off for industrial peace or labour quiescence.

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Business and Management Research
ISSN 1927-6001 (Print)   ISSN 1927-601X (Online)

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