Table of Contents

Handbook of Manufacturing Industries in the World Economy

Handbook of Manufacturing Industries in the World Economy

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Vida Vanchan

This interdisciplinary volume provides a critical and multi-disciplinary review of current manufacturing processes, practices, and policies, and broadens our understanding of production and innovation in the world economy. Chapters highlight how firms and industries modify existing processes to produce for established and emerging markets through dynamic and design-driven strategies. This approach allows readers to view transformations in production systems and processes across sectors, technologies and industries. Contributors include scholars ranging from engineering to policy to economic geography. The evidence demonstrates that manufacturing continues to matter in the world economy.

Chapter 6: Relocation of production activities and underlying social dynamics: an analytical framework based on a Canadian perspective

Patrice Jalette

Subjects: business and management, strategic management, geography, economic geography, urban and regional studies, regional studies

Extract

The relocation of activities related to the production of goods and services profoundly disrupts industrial relations dynamics. In recent years, the practice of transferring or outsourcing production activities to other locations in Canada or abroad has been facilitated by factors such as trade liberalization and capital flows, technological development, lower transportation costs and access to skilled labour in low-wage countries (Berger, 2006; Murray, 2010). This globalized context is clearly favourable to employers since it adds to the arsenal of strategies and tactics at their disposal to pressure workers and their trade unions to accept concessions on working conditions (Jalette, 2011). The third actor in industrial relations – the state – must also deal with this context of transnationalization of production which poses considerable challenges to national regulations and public policies, highlighting the vulnerability of both the state itself and local communities in the face of employer options to relocate production activities (Murray, 2012). An in-depth knowledge of business decisions regarding the transfer of production activities is thus needed in order to understand the social dynamics that such decisions bring to bear in labour–management relations and beyond. In the current context, it is generally held that workers, the state and local communities can only stand by and watch the flow of production location transfers, being utterly powerless and lacking the capabilities or resources to stop them.

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