Changing Employment Relations and Governance in the International Auto Industry
Author(s)Kochan, Thomas A; Lansbury, Russell D
In recent years, considerable debate has surrounded the issue of whether a fundamental transformation of employment relations is underway in both the industrialised and industrialising countries. Comparative studies at the national or macro-level of employment relations have been conducted within both an OECD group of countries (see Locke et al 1995) and newly industrialising economies (see Verma et al 1995). To these have been added complementary studies at the industry-level: in steel, telecommunications, banking and automobile manufacturing. These studies have adopted a broader similar analytical framework that focus on five sets of employment practices or issues, as follows: (1) the way work is organised (2) the process of skills acquisition and development (3) the structures and processes of pay and compensation (4) staffing and employment security arrangements (5) enterprise governance and labour-management relations issues. The analytical framework adopted for these studies argues that employment practices are shaped by features of the external environment and the choices of firms, unions and governments, as well as by the broader institutional context at the industry and firm levels. The issue of enterprise governance occupies an ambiguous position in that it may be viewed both as a feature of the external environment (especially where governments have legislated for certain arrangements) as well as an element in employment relations practice.
Paper prepared for meeting of the IMVP, Sao Paulo, Brazil;
auto industry, employment relations