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|Title:||The Importance Of Small Differences: Globalisation And Industrial Relations In Australia And New Zealand|
|Publisher:||University of Sydney. Work and Organisational Studies|
|Abstract:||Recent debates in comparative industrial relations scholarship have raised significant questions about the impact of changes in the international economy on national patterns of industrial relations. Globalisation, it has been argued, creates pressures for convergence that will increasingly undermine national diversity in industrial relations institutions and outcomes. At its most extreme, the globalisation thesis predicts "a universal race to the bottom" of labour standards. This globalisation thesis has been broadly criticised in the comparative industrial relations literature. Rather, a growing body of comparative industrial relations literature has pointed to evidence of continued diversity, despite the common pressures associated with changes in the international economy. This literature has focussed on the importance national level institutional variables play in explaining diversity and suggested that differences in national level institutional variables are likely to produce cross-national divergence rather than convergence. While the institutionalist approach represents an important corrective to the globalisation thesis, it has difficulty explaining similarities in patterns of industrial relations changes, despite institutional differences across countries, and is largely unable to explain changes in the institutions themselves. This thesis argues that these limitations of the institutionalist approach reflect its intellectual origins in comparative politics. The major contribution of this thesis is the development of an interaction approach the relationship between international economic change and the domestic institutions of industrial relations. This alternative theoretical approach, which is drawn from concepts in the political economy tradition in industrial relations and the international political economy literature, identifies four key variables the shape the relationship between international economic change and the domestic institutions of industrial relations: namely, the international economic regime; the national production profile; the accumulation strategy of the state; and the role of institutional effects. The thesis tests the explanatory power of the interaction approach by focussing on the comparison between two closely matched countries- Australia and New Zealand- during three periods of significant economic change in the international economy: the end of the nineteenth century; the immediate post world war two period; and, in the late 1960s. It shows that each of these periods a focus on changes in the international economy and how they impact the interests of employers, workers and the state helps explain both similarities and differences in industrial relations developments in the two countries. In doing so it demonstrates the importance of what appear to be small differences between the cases. The ability of the interaction approach to account for similarities and differences across three time periods in two most similar countries suggests that it may have broader application in cross-national comparison and that may provide the basis for a more general reassessment of the relationship between the contemporary wave of globalisation and industrial relations institutions and outcomes.|
|Rights and Permissions:||Copyright Wailes, Nick;http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/copyright.html|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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