Human resources on the waterfront: Managing history
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The paper reports on a three year study into change as it was occurring at the Conaust Ltd Terminal at the Port of Fremantle. The research began after the first Conaust Ltd Enterprise Based Agreement and continued through the period of negotiations and implementation of the second Enterprise Based Agreement. In depth interviews held with members of the workforce generated spontaneous constructs about life on the waterfront. The paper examines employee and management perceptions on the history of the Port of Fremantle life. These perceptions are supported by interviews with key stakeholders and relevant literature. The findings are reviewed in the context of the pre 1960?s workplace culture, the 1960?s - 1991 environment, and the post 1991 Enterprise Based Agreement workplace. In response to the debate surrounding the question ?has there been real change on the waterfront?? the findings support the claim that there has indeed been change on the waterfront. It is demonstrated that the change which was implemented in November 1991 with the first Enterprise Based Agreement has been true to the nature of change. It has been ongoing change which has acquired a flow on effect with one change precipitating another. The paper concludes with a discussion on the importance of history in establishing a platform for change.This research was made possible by funding assistance from Curtin Business Foundation, the Australian Research Council administered by DEET and the industry partner in this collaborative project, Conaust Ltd of the P&O Group. We acknowledge the significant contribution made by all those who have participated in the research.
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