Boycott is a term used to describe one of the issues faced by employers in the industrial relations aspect of human resource management. It relates to the attempt taken by employees to place economical pressure on their organization by abstaining from using or buying their products. Boycotts can be a combination of withdrawal of support for the employer or refusal to work, although the latter is known as strike. The aim of a boycott is to coerce the management into accepting the demands put forth by the union.
A primary boycott is an organized effort by the union to discourage consumers from buying their employer’s products. For example, if the management and the union of a shoe company X had a dispute over wages, the employees could discourage their friends, family and acquaintances to stop buying shoes of brand X.
A secondary boycott is the boycott of a third party firm who is unrelated to the union’s dispute, in order to cease relations between their company and the third party. For example if the employees attempt to discourage consumers from purchasing from a retailer that sells the brand X shoes, eventually the retailer would be forced to cease dealings with company X in order to keep their business running. Secondary boycott however is illegal in many countries.