Perceiving "Labour Relations"

Alexander, Paul, Deery, Stephen, Leggett, Chris, Levin, David, Mitchell, Richard, Quilty, Mary, Smith, Wendy, and Young-ki, Park (1994) Perceiving "Labour Relations". Working Paper. University of New South Wales, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

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Abstract

[Extract] What precisely does Australia's deeper engagement with Asia entail? Over the last two years the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia has sponsored a project - the Australian-Asian Perceptions Project - designed to examine differences in culture or 'world view' which can cause misunderstanding and confusion in Australian-Asian relations. The Project tackles what Senator Evans has called Australia's' otherness'-'our unique character and position as viewed by our neighbours' - and also the 'otherness' of Asian countries as seen by Australia and by each other.

The Australian-Asian Perceptions Project seeks to influence the intellectual framework within which Government and the private sector respond to apparent uncertainty and ambiguity in our commercial, political and security relations.

One of the strategies adopted by the Australian-Asian Perceptions Project to achieve these ends is to undertake a series of 'comparative perceptions studies'. These studies identify and examine the significance of specific 'master-ideas' operating in Australia and the different countries of the Asian region. Each study examines a particular field of activity which has aroused concern in Australian-Asian relations. The fields include the education process, business ethics, labour relations, expectations of government, the role of the media, human rights, democracy and national security.

The strategy adopted in the comparative studies has been somewhat unusual. Groups of specialists - combining expertise in a range of different disciplines and areas - work together for a five-day period to produce a draft paper. Collaboration of this type is rare in that it involves specialists both on Australia and one or more Asian societies, including in some cases scholars based in Asian countries. Furthermore, the writing groups usually interviewed people' both from within and outside the academic world who have had a range of experience in the field under study.

The hot-house atmosphere of these workshops -'composition meetings' was the phrase employed to underline the organisers' determination to produce written matter as well as ideas - was not always conducive to the preparation of disciplined drafts. Much re-writing has taken place since the meetings were held, often requiring a series of later mini-workshops involving some or all members of the writing group. Editors have played a major role, as have expert readers, and the result is, naturally, not in accord with the views of every contributor at all points.

This paper is concerned with a topic which is constantly described as being of vital importance to Australia's economic engagement with the Asian region. It considers the proposition that Australian and 'Asian' approaches to labour relations differ radically. Can we speak of' Asian' approaches and, if so, is it possible to portray them as 'harmonious' in contrast to a tradition of confrontation existing in Australia? The discussion covers the role of law, government and trade unions, and includes speculation about likely future trends in labour relations. Finally, we examine work situations in which management and labour come from different societies and cultures.

Item ID: 17222
Item Type: Report (Working Paper)
Keywords: industrial relations, labour, Asia
Additional Information:

Australian-Asian Perceptions Project Working Paper Number 4

ISBN: 978-0-7334-0883-0
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2011 06:11
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1503 Business and Management > 150306 Industrial Relations @ 100%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910401 Industrial Relations @ 100%
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