The authors assert that changing world markets and new technologies are driving industrial restructuring. The ability of developing countries and the new transitional economies to compete in the global marketplace will depend on their ability to transform industrial relations policies involving trade unions and collective bargaining so that they promote flexibility in the workplace and encourage the formation and effective use of human resources. History has shown, they say, that there are certain key moments of transition in industrial relations systems. After that time, systems get set and are hard to modify. Often these key moments are the result of legislative changes (such as the National Labor Relations Act and the emergence of public sector unions after the burgeoning of public sector legislation in the United States). Sometimes they are the result of key historical or economic junctures (such as the postwar reconstruction in Japan and Germany, and independence movements in the developing world). Recent pressures for structural change in the developing world present an opportunity for major transitions in industrial relations. Drawing on the Japanese and German experiences, as well as experiences in the developing world, the authors focus on lessons that can be applied in guiding this transformation. Workers participation in decisionmaking, they contend, is critical for bringing about the essential popular acceptance of changes that will come with industrial restructuring. It is also important to coordinate and integrate industrial relations policy with other social, legal, economic, and educational policies. The education system, for example, should not be overproducing college graduates when there is an undersupply of unskilled and skilled workers.
Labor Management and Relations,Environmental Economics&Policies,Labor Standards,Politics and Government,Work&Working Conditions
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