British Industrial Relations Paradigm, A Critical Outline History and

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British Industrial Relations Paradigm: A Critical Outline History and Prognosis

  • Peter Ackers and
  • Adrian Wilkinson
  • Article first published online: 28 NOV 2005

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-9296.2005.00184.x

    The Journal of Industrial Relations

    Volume 47, Issue 4, pages 443–456, December 2005

    How to Cite

    Ackers, P. and Wilkinson, A. (2005), British Industrial Relations Paradigm: A Critical Outline History and Prognosis. The Journal of Industrial Relations, 47: 443–456. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-9296.2005.00184.x

    Author Information

  • Business School, Loughborough University, Louborough, Leicestshire LE11 3TU, UK. Email: p.ackers@lboro.ac.uk; a.j.wilkinson@lboro.ac.uk

  • Publication History

  • Issue published online: 28 NOV 2005
  • Article first published online: 28 NOV 2005
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    • Abstract
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    This article reflects critically on the history of the British pluralist industrial relations (IR) paradigm, from its foundation by Flanders and Clegg at Oxford in the 1950s, through its development and consolidation in both public policy and academic circles. No sooner was the paradigm firmly established with the 1968 Donovan Report and 1970 foundation of the Industrial Relations Research Unit at Warwick University (among other markers), than it faced new challenges and, arguably breakdown. These challenges came, first, from 1970s New Left Marxism, riding on a tide of industrial and student unrest, and then from 1980s Thatcherism and the destruction of workplace industrial relations. The article concludes by outlining six main strengths of the British IR paradigm and looking forward to how IR can regain its relevance in the very different world of work that lies ahead.

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