New Directions in the Study of Work and Employment

New Directions in the Study of Work and Employment

Revitalizing Industrial Relations as an Academic Enterprise

Edited by Charles J. Whalen

Charles Whalen’s book identifies avenues leading to the revitalization of industrial relations as an academic discipline. The contributors, a stellar assemblage of the field’s leading scholars, demonstrate there is much work to be done: the scope and intellectual content of industrial relations need to be reconsidered; academic and social institutions must be reshaped; and new conceptual and practical issues demand attention.

Chapter 8: Let a Thousand Journals Bloom: The Precarious Landscape of Labor and Employment Publishing

Immanuel Ness, Bruce Nissen and Charles J. Whalen

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, economics and finance, labour economics


Immanuel Ness, Bruce Nissen and Charles J. Whalen INTRODUCTION On the surface, recent trends in the publication of labor and employment journals aimed at academics, practitioners and activists seem to belie the widespread concern that the industrial relations field – regardless of whether one defines it narrowly to include only union-management relations or more broadly to include all aspects of work and employment – is in crisis. Online access to journals and consolidation in the publishing industry mean that today’s labor publications are, overall, reaching more readers, resting on a more secure financial footing, and producing higherquality products than in the past few decades. Moreover, the evolution of the study of labor and employment over the past few decades has resulted in a proliferation of journals. A closer look, however, reveals a more precarious landscape. The study of work and employment is becoming less its own interdisciplinary area and more a specialty field within traditional academic disciplines. There may be more journals, but there is a downside to this fragmentation, especially for those interested in the resolution of society’s labor problems. Corporate publishing also brings risks along with rewards. It can put financial pressure on libraries and editorial boards, and is susceptible to political influence. This chapter surveys and assesses the labor and employment journal terrain. The authors are US-based editors and the chapter, divided into three sections, focuses primarily on labor publishing in the United States. The first section traces the evolution of publishing in the labor field since...

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