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Bristol Business School, University of the West of England


Employee Relations


Academic Year 2000/01



Course Outline

This course is compulsory for undergraduate students in their second year in the Bristol Business School at the University of the West of England. It can also be taken by students from other faculties.

The course introduces students to the study of employee relations, which is concerned with the employment relationship and how this is shaped by external factors and the ‘actors’ within that relationship. These ‘actors’ are management and workers and their representatives in their respective organisations and the state. The study of employee/industrial relations addresses these relationships in the context of  an ever changing external legal, economic, political and social environment. Questions are asked such as - Are trade unions in terminal decline? What will be the likely effects of New Labour’s employment relations legislation?  Can discrimination in the workplace ever be ended? Does ‘employee participation’ simply mean that workers are working harder? What is the effect of Japanese inspired working practices in the British workplace? How has FDI shaped British industrial relations practice?

The course thus encourages students to examine how changes in the external environment impact upon everyday workplace relationships and how individuals within the workplace and/or collective representative organisations utilise their bargaining power to enhance their position.

The course alerts students to different interpretations and theoretical perspectives of employee relations and workplace conflict that are to be found in academic books and journals as well as in newspapers and television coverage of the subject. It encourages students to develop a critical analysis of the subject and to develop their own views in the light of an understanding of different theoretical approaches.

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Lecture Programme

Theoretical Approaches and Context of ER

Week 1          Introduction to the Course (Lecture only: no seminars)

Week 2          Perspectives on Workplace Conflict

Week 3          The Changing Face of British Employee Relations

Week 4          New and Emerging Patterns of Work

Week 5          New Management Initiatives: From Collectivism to Individualism ?

Participants and ‘Actors’ in ER: Employees, Trade Unions, and Employers

Week 6          Employers and the Management of Employee Relations

Week 7          Multinationals and Employee Relations

Week 8          Employee Representation and Trade Unions

Week 9          Trade Unions in 2000

Week 10        Non Union Organisations

Week 11        Film ‘The Winter of Discontent’

The Role of the State in Employee Relations

Week 12        Reading Week

Week 13        Reading Week

Week 14        The Role of the State

Week 15        Voluntarism, Corporatism and ‘Social Partnership’

Week 16        The Law in Employee Relations

Week 17        New Labour and its Legislative Programme

Workplace Issues

Week 18        Industrial Conflict and Strikes

Week 19        Collective Bargaining and New Pay

Week 20        Employee Involvement – Empowerment or Work Intensification?

Week 21        Equal Opportunities and Employee Relations

The European Dimension

Week 22        Employee Relations and the European Union

Week 23        The European Model of Social Partnership

Week 24        Review

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Reading List

General Texts

G.Hollinshead, P.Nicholls, S.Tailby (eds.): Employee Relations - A Contemporary Perspective, Pitman, 1999
P.Blyton, P.Turnbull: The Dynamics of Employee Relations, Macmillan, 1998
H.Gospel, G.Palmer: British Industrial Relations, Routledge, 1993
S.Kessler, F.Bayliss: Contemporary British Industrial Relations, Macmillan, 1998
I.Beardwell (ed.): Contemporary Industrial Relations: A Critical Analysis, OUP, 1996
P.Edwards (ed.): Industrial Relations, Blackwell, 1995
R.K.Brown: Understanding Industrial Organisations, Routledge, 1992
R.Hyman: Industrial Relations: a Marxist Introduction, Macmillan, 1975
B.Towers (ed.): A Handbook of Industrial Relations Practice, Kogan Page, 1993
K.Legge: Human Resource Management: Rethorics and Realities, Macmillan, 1995
J.Kelly: Rethinking Industrial Relations, Routledge, 1998
P.Sparrow, M.Marchington: Human Resource Management: the New Agenda, Pit-man, 1998
F.Burchill: Labour Relations, Macmillan, 1997
P.Beaumont: The Future of Employment Relations, Sage, 1995
N.Millward et al: All Change at Work?, Routledge, 2000

Changing Nature of Work

A.Danford: Japanese Management Techniques and British Workers, Mansell, 1998
M.Noon, P.Blyton: The Realities of Work, Macmillan, 1997
P.Thompson, C.Warhurst (eds.): Workplaces of the Future, Macmillan, 1998
E.Heery, J.Salmon (eds.): The Insecure Workforce, Routledge, 2000
M.Piore, C.Sabel: The Second Industrial Divide, Basic Books, 1984
J.P.Womack et al: The Machine that Changed the World, Macmillan, 1990
S.Tailby, C.Whitson (eds.): Manufacturing Change: Industrial Relations and Re-structuring, Blackwell, 1991
J.Atkinson, N.Meager: New forms of Work Organisation, IMS, 1986
J.Clark: Managing Innovation and Change, Sage, 1995
W.Hutton: The State We’re In, Vintage, 1996
T.Watson: Sociology, Work and Industry, Routledge, 1995
H.Braverman: Labor and Monopoly Capital, New York, Routledge, 1974
A.Pollert: Farewell to Flexibility, Blackwell, 1991
A.Rainnie: Industrial Relations in Small Firms, Cassell, 1989
J.McInnes: Thatcherism at Work: Industrial Relations and Economic Change, OUP, 1987
P.Thompson: The Nature of Work, Macmillan, 1989
H.Beynon: Working for Ford, Penguin, 1984
P.Garrahan, P.Stewart: The Nissan Enigma, Mansell, 1992
N.Oliver, B.Wilkinson: The Japanisation of British Industry, Blackwell, 1993
T.Nichols (ed.): Capital and Labour, Athlone, 1980
R.Hyman, W.Streeck (eds.): New Technology and Industrial Relations, Blackwell, 1989

Trade Unions

P.Fairbrother: Trade Unions at the Crossroads, Mansell, 2000
J.McIlroy: Trade Unions in Britain Today, Man.Univ.Press, 1988
J.Kelly: Trade Unions and Socialist Politics, Verso, 1988
R.Darlington: The Dynamics of Workplace Unionism, Mansell, 1994
P.Ackers, C.Smith, P.Smith (eds.): The New Workplace and Trade Unionism, Rout-ledge, 1996
D.Marsh: The New Politics of British Trade Unionism, Macmillan, 1992
J.Kelly, E.Heery: Working for the Union : British Trade Union Officers, Camb. Univ. Press, 1994
S. Cunnison, J. Stageman: Women and Trade Unions, Macmillan, 1993
M.Poole: Theories of Trade Unionism, Routledge, 1984
P.Fosh, E.Heery (ed.): Trades Unions and Their Members, Macmillan, 1990

Management, MNCs

B.Harrison: Lean and Means:Why Large Corporations Will Continue To Dominate the Global Economy, Guilford Press, 1997
N.Milward et al: Workplace Industrial Relations in Transition, Dartmouth, 1992
P.Hirst, G.Thompson: Globalisation in Question, Polity, 1996
P.K.Edwards: Managing the Factory, Blackwell, 1987
R.Hyman: Strikes, Macmillan, 1989
J.Storey: Managerial Prerogative and the Question of Control, Routledge, 1983
B.Towers (ed.): The Handbook of Human Resource Management, Blackwell, 1996
K.Sisson (ed.): Personnel Management in Britain, Blackwell, 1999
J.Storey: The Management of Human Resources, Routledge, 1992
H.Gospel: Markets, Firms and the Management of Labour in Modern Britain, CUP, 1992

Gender, Race, Discrimination

S.Walby: Gender Segregation at Work, OUP, 1988
T.Rees: Women and the Labour Market, Routledge, 1992
V.Beechey: Unequal Work, Verso, 1988
A.Phizacklea, R.Miles: Labour and Racism, Routledge, 1980
P.Braham, A.Rattansi, R.Skellington: Racism and Anti- Racism: Inequalities,  Opportunities and Policies, Sage, 1993
C.Hakim: Key Issues in Women’s Work, Athlone, 1997
C.Cockburn: Brothers, Male Dominance, and Technological Change, Pluto, 1991
C.Cockburn: In the Way of Women, Macmillan, 1991
A.Pollert: Girls, Wives, Factory Lives, Macmillan, 1981
F.Colgan, S.Ledwith (eds.): Women in Organisations, Macmillan, 1997
D.W.Bygott: Black in Britain, OUP 1992
S.Faludi: Backlash: The Undeclared War against Women, Chatto, 1992
E.Vallance: Business Ethics at Work, CUP, 1995

The Role of the State and Labour Law

D.Coates: Models of Capitalism, Polity Press, 2000
G.Esping-Andersen: The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, Polity Press, 1990
G.Esping-Andersen: Social Foundations of Post-industrial Economies, OUP, 2000
W.Streeck: Social Institutions and Economic Performance, Sage, 1992
C.Crouch: Industrial Relations and European State Traditions, Clarendon, 1993
R.Lewis: Labour Law in Britain, Blackwell, 1986
Lord Wedderburn: The Worker and the Law, Penguin, 1986
Lord Wedderburn: Labour Law and Freedom : Further essays in Labour Law,  Lawrence and Wishart, 1995
D.Lewis: The Essentials of Labour Law, IPM, 1990

European and Comparative

A.Ferner, R.Hyman: Changing Industrial Relations in Europe, Blackwell, 1998
R.Hyman, A.Ferner: New Frontiers in European Industrial Relations Blackwell,1994
G.J.Bamber, R.D.Lansbury: International and Comparative Industrial Relations, Routledge, 1995
A.Martin, G.Ross (eds.): The Brave New World of European Labor, Berghahn, 1999
C.Lane: Management and Labour in Europe, Edward Elgar, 1995
P.Leisink, J.van Leemput, J.Vilrokx (eds.): The Challenges to Trade Unions in Europe, Edward Elgar, 1996
M.Upchurch (ed.): The State and Globalization: Comparative Studies of Capital and Labour in National Economies, Mansell, 1999
M.Gold: The Social Dimension, Macmillan, 1993
N.Adnett: European Labour Markets, Longman, 1996
M.Leat: Human Resource Issues of the European Union, Pitman 1998

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