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London School of Economics, Department of Industrial Relations


MSc (Econ) Industrial Relations and Personnel Management  



Comparative Industrial Relations



Academic Year 2002/03 




The Course 'Comparative Industrial Relations' (ID401) begins by tackling the concepts and methods essential to comparative industrial relations. We introduce various types of system and compare and contrast the roles of the state, management and unions in different countries. In the second half of the Lent term you will take one from a range of five-week modules dealing with specialist issues in comparative industrial relations.



Dr Sarah Ashwin (module leader), Prof David Marsden, Prof Richard Hyman, Stephen Dunn, Sue Fernie, Niels-Erik Wergin



For MSc Students where regulations permit. A general knowledge of the social sciences is required. No previous knowledge of industrial relations in any particular country is required.


Course Syllabus: 

The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to a comparative analysis of industrial relations processes and outcomes. This will be done through the analysis of a selection of countries including the UK, USA, Western European nations, Japan and East Asian countries.



A number of industrial relations models will be analysed and compared, in particular the Anglo-Saxon, Rhine, Japanese and 'European social' models. Important themes in comparative industrial relations will also be explored, including globalisation and industrial relations; the role of management and trade unions within different industrial relations systems; the state and industrial relations; collective bargaining; corporate governance; industrial democracy, and other related issues in comparative employment relations.

Students are expected to: attend lectures and seminars; play significant part in discussions; make presentations in seminar sessions.



The course extends over 25 weeks. In the MT and the first half of LT teaching will be 2˝ hours per week, one hourly lecture (ID401) and one seminar (ID401.A) of 1˝ hours.


Lecture Plan:

Lecture 1: An introduction to comparative industrial relations

Lecture 2: Varieties of capitalism and industrial relations systems

Lecture 3: Labour and unions

Lecture 4: The State

Lecture 5: Varieties of management

Lecture 6: Anglo-Saxon model

Lecture 7: Industrial relations in Japan: myths and realities

Lecture 8: The ‘European social model’

Lecture 9: Industrial relations in transforming economies

In the second half of the LT there will be an opportunity to choose a specialist module on a range of options, such as 'Industrial relations and the future of the European Social Model' and ‘Gender and employment in comparative perspective’.

The third term will consist of a number of case studies of particular industrial relations issues.


Basic Texts

Bamber, G. and Lansbury, R. (eds.) (1998) International and Comparative Employment Relations, 3rd Edition. London: Routledge.

Ferner, A. and Hyman, R. (eds.) (1998) Changing Industrial Relations in Europe, Oxford: Blackwell.

Hyman, R. and Ferner, A. (eds.) (1994) New Frontiers in European Industrial Relations,  Oxford: Blackwell.

Locke, R., Kochan, T. and Piore, M. (eds.) (1995) Employment Relations in a Changing World Economy, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Hyman, R. (2001) Understanding European Trade Unionism: Between Market, Class and Society London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: Sage.

Marsden D. W. (1999) A Theory of Employment Systems: Micro-foundations of Societal Diversity,  Oxford University Press, Oxford.



Continuous assessment and examination. Students are required to write two essays during the course which counts towards half their grade.


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