Posted in Human Resources Terms, Total Reads: 1396

Definition: Whipsawing

Whipsawing is described as the bargaining technique where unions may attempt to spread wage benefits or get things done in a threatening manner. They use aggressive methods of comparison against the manager where he is forced to give into their claims.

It was prevalent in the 1980’s when there was enough power among the union. They used to benchmark their employer with that of the best in the industry, and used coercive tactics to get their pay raised. Any attempt to resist the coercion process would result in either a strike or slowdown of work by the employees.

Types of Whipsawing

1. Coercive Whipsawing: Forceful threats & capability of the management to shift production facilities.

2. Discursive whipsawing: Threats arising from the management, regarding shifting of work to some other place, thereby causing the locales to lose the job. It is a type of a rhetorical threat, where the management expects the announcement to cause flutter.

3. Hegemonic Whipsawing: It is basically convincing the employees regarding the situation that is present in the industry, and that it is crucial for them to work. The employees are considered to have been convinced

4. Formal bidding


1. Often people involved in whipsawing do not understand the consequences that may arise as a result of their actions

2. The parties involved in disputes often resort to whipsawing in order to get things in their favor, and put economic pressure on the management

3. Owing to whipsawing, sometimes a recession in a product market drives down production & underutilization of the resources, leading to a loss.

Thus even though whipsawing could have implications, there msut be a proper bargaining system & negotiation process by which both the employees & employers can maintain a cordial relation.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Whipsawing along with its overview.

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