Strategic HRM and the transformation of Singapore's industrial relations

Leggett, Chris (2003) Strategic HRM and the transformation of Singapore's industrial relations. In: Exploring the mosaic, developing the discipline: abstracts of the 7th Conference on the International Human Resource Management. pp. 132-133. From: Exploring the Mosaic, Developing the Discipline: 7th Conference on International Human Resource Management, 4-6 June 2003, Limerick, Ireland.

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In 1986, Kochan, Katz and McKersie (1986: p. 16) appealed for a new conceptualisation of the institutional structure and forces that influence industrial relations to replace the popular organising framework of Dunlop (1958). They argued that American industrial relations had undergone a transformation from the 1960s in which trade unionism had lost the legitimacy it had gained from the New Deal legislation and that collective bargaining -- as well as other practices, values, laws and institutions that make up an industrial relations system, no longer adequately reflected its American character. Consequently they proposed a revised model that took account of the strategic choices of the actors in an industrial relations system. In America, they concluded that employers had responded to labour and product markets in ways that reduced their vulnerability to unionism, while unions and government had remained fixed in the collective bargaining model of the New Deal.

In response to speculations by, among others Kochan et al., in the subsequent paperback version of their 1986 book, on the usefulness of the strategic choice model for the analysis of industrial relations elsewhere than in America, this paper aims to make the case for a study of Singapore's industrial relations with a view to testing the strategic choice transformation hypothesis. Following an introduction, in which the question of the nature of 'transformation' is mooted, the paper identifies the research questions for such a study before proceeding with a review based on the literature of precursor industrial relations organising frameworks and of Singapore's industrial relations. The criteria for justifying the importance of the study and for employing an historical case study. methodology are elaborated before proposing that there is an academic case for such a study. This paper anticipates that, subject to some modifications, such a study will show the strategic choice model to be a useful tool for international and comparative studies of industrial relations.

Item ID: 17165
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: human resource management, strategy, Singapore
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2011 02:27
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1503 Business and Management > 150305 Human Resources Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910499 Management and Productivity not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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