BRAVERMAN, although not a teacher of industrial relations, had an important influence on the field. His work is associated with the study of “labour process”, which Marx wrote about, and the “deskilling thesis”, which this American neoMarxist author developed in the postwar years. He was mainly concerned with how work was routinized and how “the bosses” substituted unskilled labour for skilled labour to maximize management control in the later stages of “monopoly capitalism”. Braverman's work has had a wide impact on radical writers in the industrial relations and sociology literature amongst others since the late 1970s.
CLEGG is a British author who was the doyen of the subject in his prime years. He wrote an authoritative history of British trade unionism and many other studies on collective bargaining, industrial democracy and incomes policy, among other subjects. His book on trade unionism under collective bargaining, for example — one of several important contributions in his substantial publications list — is a model of clarity and comparative studies. As an author and scholar, he was not only concerned with theoretical analysis but also public policy: he was the drafter of the report of the Royal Commission that dealt with reform of industrial relations and trade unions in the late 1960s in Britain. As a pluralist, he was a rebel against both Christianity and Marxism. He did not believe, however, that by pursuing his own line of pragmatic reformism he was serving the interests of management or capital.
The role of DUNLOP in the study of industrial and labour relations cannot be underestimated. His book shaped the way most contemporary scholars in the field think about industrial relations systems. Following Talcott Parsons, he helped to establish industrial relations as a discipline in its own right through his work on dispute resolution as well as wage determination, among other topics. His work was pathbreaking and helped to create his reputation as one of the major industrial relations theorists of his time, as did his role as an advisor on public policy in the area in the US.
The work of FOX centres on the analysis of “unitary”, “pluralist” and “radical” approaches to the field. He was a defender of “pluralism” against its Marxist critics. He emphasized “trust” as a critical factor in good industrial relations. Fox's work is often associated with the “Oxford School” as it was known, and his colleagues, Clegg and Flanders. Fox was an able social scientist and his work made a substantial impact on industrial sociology.
The theme of “convergence” was central to KERR's writings. Kerr and colleagues argued that industrial relations across the globe would eventually converge because of the exigencies of technology and industrialization. Their work became very influential not only in the US but also in Europe and further afield amongst scholars in this area of study, in the 1960s and 1970s. In spite of so-called “globalization”, many crucial national differences still prevail, however, to a greater extent than they anticipated, even between economies at the same stage of development such as within the European Union.
KOCHAN is probably the most influential writer in the field of industrial and labour relations at the present time, not only in the US but also across the profession worldwide. He has taught at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Insititute of Technology for most of his career and has been responsible for the integration of industrial relations with human resource management. He aimed to achieve a more analytical approach to the study of the field. By emphasizing the role of “strategic choice”, he has provided a useful inter-disciplinary tool both for scholars and practitioners.
Perlman's books are now mostly cited in the historical analysis of the field but they remain most important analytically. He emphasized the “homegrown” ideology of American labour, attacking the Marxist approach. PERLMAN, published in 1928, has been seen as promoting business unionism against class conscious unionism. He thought workers should look after their immediate economic interests rather than pursue wider political goals.
STRAUSS has made an important contribution to the study of collective bargaining. He also contributed to the study of union government and leadership as well as worker participation. Strauss believed that participation was not possible if unions opposed it. Trade unions often saw the former as a threat. Representative participation and collective bargaining, he argued, have much in common. He similarly had a major impact on the evolution of personnel relations and human resource management concepts and practices through his textbooks.
WEBB & WEBB (“the Webbs”, as they are collectively known in the literature) in many ways “invented” collective bargaining, industrial relations, and trade unions around the turn of the century in Britain (WEBB & WEBB 1897), although they were not the very first to write on these emerging institutions. They wrote the initial and “classic” history of unions (WEBB 6t WEBB 1894), as they had emerged in the industrial revolution and its aftermath. The Webbs conceptualized the “common rule” in their analysis of unions. They also wrote seminally on cooperatives. They believed that the final end of society was the citizen, as both consumer and producer. They were among the main founders of the British welfare state and were responsible for setting up the London School of Economics.
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