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 10: Varieties of Capitalism and Employment Relations under Globalization: Evidence from the Auto Industry

Nick Wailes, Russell D. Lansbury and Jim Kitay

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


Nick Wailes, Russell D. Lansbury and Jim Kitay INTRODUCTION In recent times, it has been broadly accepted that changes in the international economy, normally referred to as globalization, have significant consequences for national patterns of employment relations. There are, however, competing views about globalization’s significance and the types of changes it is likely to produce. Some analysts have argued that globalization produces convergence in labor standards across countries and regions, while others have suggested that the pressures associated with globalization are refracted through national level institutional arrangements, resulting in continued diversity (see Wailes et al., 2003 for a review of these arguments). Empirical studies of comparative changes in employment relations provide little support for either of these views, revealing a complex pattern of both continuity and change across countries. In our earlier work, we have argued that rather than focusing exclusively on the role of institutional arrangements, there may be benefits associated with focusing on the interplay between interests and institutions in shaping national patterns of employment relations in the context of globalization and have applied this framework to a study of changes in employment relations in autos and banking in Australia and Korea (see Lansbury et al., 2003 and 2006). This chapter reports on a research project that seeks to continue our constructive engagement with the new institutionalism. Recent institutionalist scholarship has gone beyond the focus on single institutions and begun to examine the relationship between institutions. These theories of capitalist diversity attempt to distinguish di...

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