Change and Transformation in Asian Industrial Relations

Sarosh Kuruvilla, Cornell University
Christopher L. Erickson, UCLA Anderson School of Management

Suggested Citation
Kuruvilla, S., & Erickson, L. (2002). Change and transformation in Asian industrial relations.

Required Publisher Statement
Copyright by Blackwell Publishing. Final paper published as Kuruvilla, S., Erickson, C.L., (2002). Change and Transformation in Asian Industrial Relations. Industrial Relations, 41,171-227.


Authors argue that industrial relations systems change due to shifts in the constraints facing those systems, and that the most salient constraints facing IR systems in Asia have shifted from those of maintaining labor peace and stability in the early stages of industrialization, to those of increasing both numerical and functional flexibility in the 1980s and 1990s. The evidence to sustain the argument is drawn from seven “representative” Asian IR systems: Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, and China. They also distinguish between systems that have smoothly adapted (Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines) and systems that have fundamentally transformed (China and South Korea), and hypothesize about the reasons for this difference.