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M. Rezaul Islam, Niaz Ahmed Khan, Siti Hajar Abu Bakar Ah, Haris Abd Wahab and Mashitah Binti Hamidi

Fieldwork/data collection is one of the most important parts in the research process, and it is particularly important for social sciences research. A number of aspects that need to be considered by a researcher before starting data collection include: ethical permission from the concerned ethical body/committee, informed consent, contract with different stakeholders, field settings, time allocation and time management, field leading, data collection, contextual and cultural diversities, community settings, socioeconomic and psychological patterns of the community, political pattern, rapport building between data collectors and respondents, permission to access community, language and mode of data collection, power relations, role of gatekeepers, privacy and confidentiality issues, layers of expectations among researchers/respondents/ funding organization, data recording (written, memorization, voice recording and video recording), and so on. Many aspects are very difficult to understand before going into the field. Sometimes, a researcher’s previous experience about a particular community may help to gain field access, but it may be difficult to assess the field in advance due to rapid changes within people’s livelihoods and other shifts in the community. The change of a political paradigm sometimes seems also to be a challenge at the field level. We believe that although technological innovation has benefited some aspects of the data collection of fieldwork in social research, many other dimensions (mentioned above) of fieldwork endure unchanged.

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Edited by Mohammad B. Rana and Matthew M.C. Allen

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Edited by Maureen McKelvey and Jun Jin

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Edited by Songshan Huang and Ganghua Chen

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Edited by Songshan Huang and Ganghua Chen

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Edited by Young-Myon Lee and Bruce E. Kaufman

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Jai-Joon Hur

This chapter examines how the Korean labor market has evolved in recent times, and how it has both influenced and been shaped by Korea’s employment and industrial relations. Restrictions on job opportunities for youth, non-regular and low-wage workers, SME workers, and women have been exacerbated by a slowdown in economic growth and tertiary degree inflation. Labor market dualism persists, while the gaps in wages and benefits along firm size and working status faultlines are widening. Reform has failed because of a lack of negotiating skill and mutual-interest acknowledgment demanded for coordination. At the same time, Korean labor market regulations lag behind those of other industrialized nations by being unfriendly to global and IT-heavy workplaces, by impeding job opportunities, and by reducing job quality. Social partners must let go of the legacies that have led to the current labor market conditions, and adopt a new cooperative approach.

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Young-Ki Choi

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Dong-Bae Kim and Fang Lee Cooke

This chapter looks at the introduction and practice of HRM deployed in Korean companies since the Asian Financial Crisis and the relationship between HRM and labor unions. The limited evidence from recent surveys and studies suggests that new HRM practices employed since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis may have contributed to the gradual decline in union density, from a high of 18.6 per cent in 1989 to 10.2 per cent in 2015. Analysis did not find systematic evidence that HRM has directly affected labor unions, except where there was a change in union status from union to non-union. These results echo other researchers’ conclusion that the effect of labor union substitution with HRM practice is a primarily US phenomenon. A review of the extant empirical studies shows that labor unions play different roles in the adoption of specific HRM/management practices, with various impacts on workers and gendered implications.

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Yongjin Nho and Hyung-Tag Kim

This chapter explores the militant unionism of Korean labor, tracing its form to a history of resistance to authoritarianism. While militant labor unionism has had some successes, including gains in and protection of wages, it appears burdened with unintended consequences in the enterprise-centered landscape of Korea: inter-union rivalry and increasing wage differentials by firm size and employment status, as well as negative employment outcomes. While unions have attempted to reorganize along industrial lines, they have to date been effectively muted despite distorted statistics suggesting the contrary. The two competing national unions – the ‘old unionism’ enterprise-based FKTU, and the industrializing KCTU, further complicate the picture, with branch affiliate negotiations effectively draining industry level vigor. Case discussion of the Korean Financial Industry (FKTU affiliate) and Korean Metal Workers Union (KCTU affiliate) helps to shed light on the reality of multi-employer bargaining practices.