Research Handbook of Comparative Employment Relations

Research Handbook of Comparative Employment Relations

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Michael Barry and Adrian Wilkinson

The Research Handbook of Comparative Employment Relations is an essential resource for those seeking to understand contemporary developments in the world of work, and the way in which employment relations systems are evolving around the world.

Chapter 8: Employment Relations in China and India

Fang Lee Cooke

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour, social policy and sociology, labour policy


Fang Lee Cooke INTRODUCTION There has been growing interest in comparative studies of China and India (e.g., Khanna, 2007; Sheth, 2008) since Jairam Ramesh, an Indian academic politician, coined the term ‘Chindia’ in his book Making Sense of Chindia: Reflections of China and India (2005). These studies have gone a long way in enlightening us of the similarities of and differences between the two countries in terms of their respective geo-political, economic and socio-cultural characteristics and their rising significance in the global politico-economic stage. However, few studies have been carried out to compare and contrast the labour markets and employment relations (ER) systems of the two countries. This is in spite of the fact that the characteristics displayed in these two important aspects of a nation’s economy are important in understanding how they interact with other institutional forces and shape patterns of economic growth and competitive dynamics of each of the two countries. Whilst a small number of comparative studies on the ER systems of Asian economies, including China and India, do exist, these pioneering and important studies have largely focused on the impact of industrialization strategy and globalization on the national ER systems of selected Asian countries in the 1990s (e.g., Kuruvilla, 1996; Kuruvilla and Venkata Ratnam, 1996; Frenkel and Peetz, 1998; Frenkel and Kuruvilla, 2002; Kuruvilla and Erickson, 2002). As Bhattacherjee (2001) pointed out, comparative studies on ER in Asian countries need to be cast on a longer historical horizon and based on a wider range of societal...

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