Stakeholders – Employers, Employees, Employer Associations, Unions, Government Organisations, Society

Stakeholders: an individual or group that has a common interest in or is affected by the actions of an organisation.


  • The individual or organisation that pays others to work for its business.
  • They are often owners, and take responsibility for ensuring that the business has the appropriate staff to achieve the organisations goals.
  • Large businesses will have a human resources department whose focus is the management of employee-related issues, allowing other managers to specialise in different operations of the business.
  • A typical human resources department would:
    • Work with other departments to recruit the appropriate staff for the business.
    • Ensure that the working conditions and benefits that the employees receive comply with federal and state government regulations.
    • Implement a range of training and development programs to cater for the changing staffing needs of the business
    • Develop a number of rewards for employees to show them how valued they are in the business.


  • An individual who provides his or her skills to a business in return for a regular source of income.
  • Has the responsibility to complete their tasks in a manner that is lawfully described by the employer.


Employee Associations

  • Organisations that aim to promote the interests of employers within the business environment.
  • They lobby governments to develop policies that enhance the interests of employers.
  • Employer associations also consult with governments on change to key policy issues. For example: The Business Council of Australia, and the National Farmers’ Federation.


  • Organisations formed by employees in an industry, trade or occupation to represent them in efforts to improve wages and working conditions of their members.
  • Unions assist employees with disputes in the workplace and act as a bargaining agent in wage negotiations. They also advise members on workplace rights, wage levels and occupational health and safety issues.
  • The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) lobbies the government for improved working conditions and wage increases for Australian employees.

Government Organisations

  • establish the legal framework which operates employment relationships. For example:

    • An Award is a legal document that specifies the minimum working conditions that apply to all people employed in a common industry. It covers matters such as wages, holidays, sick leave and overtime.
    • Working Conditions are the non-wage features of an employee’s workplace contract. These include the hours of work, rostering issues, promotional policies and OH&S.
    • Certified Agreement is an agreement that is negotiated between an employer and all its employees and if requested, unions may assist employees in the negotiating process.
    • The Better Off overall test is used by Fair Work Australia to examine whether employees will be worse off if they sign a new wage agreement rather than being employed under an award and relevant laws.
    • An Industrial dispute is a problem that arises between an employer and either a group of employees or an individual employee at a workplace.
    • Conciliation is used when Fair Work Australia offers some suggestions to help resolve the dispute.
    • Arbitration involves a commissioner hearing the cases put forward by both parties and then making a decision which is legally binding on both parties.
  • Fair work Australia was established in 2010 by the Fair Work Act 2009 and its primary functions are to:
    • Encourage the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes between employers and employers through conciliation and arbitration.
    • Determine minimum wages through national wage case hearings
    • Arbitrate on unfair dismissal claims where the employee believes that his or her dismissal was ‘harsh, unjust or unreasonable’
    • Apply the Better Off Overall test to certain wage agreements.


  • Influences the workplace, as workplace practices are reflective of behaviours that are upheld within society.
  • Issues such as perceived discrimination, harassment and unfair working conditions are becoming increasingly publicised.
  • With strong media attention, businesses must be seen to respond in a manner that is consistent with the view of society.


Extract from Business Studies Stage 6 Syllabus. © 2010 Board of Studies NSW.