The global evolution of industrial relations. Events, ideas and the IIRA

Chronicles the birth and development of the industrial relations field, its ups and downs, challenges, transformations and differing fortunes across countries from the late 19th century to the present.


“Kaufman's book is a tour de force. It is a thoughtful and analytical history of the evolution of international and comparative industrial relations as a field of study. It is an insightful overview of the links between industrial relations and institutional economics and a passionate (and in my view correct) argument for why we need to maintain and strengthen these linkages. It will be an extremely valuable resource as we take up the challenges facing our field today and tomorrow."
Thomas A. Kochan, MIT Sloan School of Management, Institute for Work and Employment Research, USA

“This is the best work ever written on the historical development of industrial relations.”
Tadashi Hanami, Professor Emeritus, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan

“…an indispensable source of knowledge for anyone interested in the field of industrial relations, in the work of the ILO and in the activities of the IIRA.”
Prof. Dr. Manfred Weiss, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany

Essential reading for anyone concerned with the history and practice of industrial relations, this landmark volume chronicles the evolution of the field to date. It focuses on the largely untold story of how the globalization of industrial relations took hold and explores in depth the pivotal events, ideas and people behind it.

For the most part, the roots of industrial relations field are found in the United Kingdom and North America and this volume takes a substantive look at the field and practice that developed in these regions before the Second World War.

A comprehensive and informative account of post World War II events is also provided. The book highlights the four all-important pillars that shaped industrial relations after this period: the International Labour Organization, the International Industrial Relations Association (IIRA), the leading role in industrial relations played by the United States following World War II, and the spread of industrialism, market economies, trade union movements, and democratic forms of government to many non-Western nations.

Key features:

  • Provides the only comprehensive, up-to-date account of the evolution of the industrial relations field
  • Outlines the four pillars that led to the internationalization of industrial relations after World War II
  • Includes substantive background on the roots of industrial relations in the Anglo-Saxon countries, including the role of the IIRA
  • Discusses the future prospects for the field of industrial relations
  • Traces the development of modern industrial relations in continental Europe, Japan, Republic of Korea, India, Africa and Latin America