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Module Reading List

Contemporary Industrial Relations, 2021/22, Semester 1
Alan Roe
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

 Module taught by Gabriella Alberti (module leader) and Ian Greenwood

Seminars: Jiachen Shi

Schedule of lectures 

Week 1. Introduction – Industrial relations and the employment relationship (Gabriella +Ian)

Week 2. The state in industrial relations 1 – UK Industrial Relations: Politics and the State (Ian)

Week 3. The state in industrial relations 2 – The European Union, Brexit and Industrial Relations (Gabriella)

 Week 4. Voice and participation at work 1 – High performance work systems (Ian)

Week 5. Voice and participation at work 2 – The demise of collectivism and partnership Agreements (Ian)

 Week 6. Gender, equalities and industrial relations in the UK (Gabriella)

Week 7. Gender and Equalities – the European Agenda (Gabriella)

Week 8.  Industrial relations, precarious work and the gig economy (Gabriella)

 Week 9. New social movements and new actors in industrial relations (Gabriella)

 Week 10: Revision Lecture (Gabriella)


1)  Introduction to Industrial Relations

This lecture sets the scene by defining industrial relations as a field of study. It asks, what’s the basis of the employment relationship between employees and employers?

Dunlop J.T. (1958), Industrial Relations Systems, Holt-Dryden, New York.

Gennard, J. and Judge, J. (1997) Employee Relations, CIPD.

Van Wanrooy B, Bewley H, Bryson A, Forth J, Freeth S, Stokes L and Wood S (2013) The 2011 Workplace Employment Relations Study-First findings. Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Williams, S. (2020). Introducing employment relations: a critical approach. Oxford University Press. (both hard copy and e-book available) 


Theme I: The State and Industrial Relations


These two lectures question the role of the State as an actor in the employment relationship. Within the UK we will consider the shift from the ‘New Right’ Conservative government to the ‘New Left’ Labour administration, and the ‘return’ to the right under the coalition government and the recent developments under the last two Tories government. However, with the growing significance of the EU the State is increasingly influenced from outside its traditional boundaries.

2) UK Industrial Relations: Politics and the State

Howell C. (2004), ‘Is There a Third Way for Industrial Relations? , British Journal of Industrial Relations, 42:1 March 2004.

Smith, P. and Morton, G. (2006) ‘Nine Years of New Labour: Neoliberalism and Worker Rights’ British Journal of Industrial Relations, 44(3): 401-420.

Williams, S. and Scott, P. (2010) ‘Shooting the past? The modernisation of Conservative Party employment relations policy under David Cameron’, Industrial relations journal., 41(1): 4-18.

Williams, S. (2020). Introducing employment relations: a critical approach. Oxford University Press, Chapter 3 The Politics of Employment Relations (pp. 116-134)


3)  Industrial Relations and the role of European Union

Jensen, C.S. Madsen, J.S. and Due, J. (1999) ‘Phases and Dynamics in the Development of EU Industrial Relations Regulation’. Industrial relations journal. . 30(2).

Leat M (1998), Human resource issues of the European Union, Pitman, London. (Chapter 6)  Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva.

Gennard, John, (2010) Chapter 5: The Importance of the European Union. FROM: Gennard, John, Managing employment relations, 5th ed. pp.133-176. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development [GA1] (Available on the VLE under ONLINE COURSE READING FOLDER) Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva.

 Gumbrell-McCormick, R., & Hyman, R. (2013) ‘Mapping the terrain: varieties of Industrial Relations and Trade Unionism (introduction), Trade unions in Western Europe : hard times, hard choices. Oxford University Press.

Howell, C, (1999) Unforgiven : British trade unionism in crisis. In: Martin, A, The brave new world of European labor : European trade unions at the millennium. pp.27-74. New York: Berghahn Books. Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva.

N Countouris and K D Ewing (2019) “Brexit and Workers’ Rights by N Countouris and K D Ewing” Institute of employment rights, chapter 3 and 5.Available online at

Schiek, D., Oliver, L., Forde, C., Alberti, G. (2015) In The EU socio-economic model from Rome to Lisbon and beyond (Chapter 1.2 and 1.3 ); Conclusion and Recommendations. Collective Bargaining in the Internal Market (Chapter 5. 4). In EU Social and Labour Rights and EU Internal Market Law. Directorate General for Internal Policies. Policy Department A: economic and scientific Policy. Available online 

Williams, S. (2020). The Politics of Employment Relations in Williams, S. Ed, Introducing employment relations: a critical approach. Oxford University Press, Chapter 3 (pp. 116-134)


Theme II Voice and participation at Work

Voice at work is considered one of the key mechanisms for improving the performance of organisations. These lectures consider the extent and impact of voice in the UK and the influence of the EU in extending its impact.

4)  High Performance Workplaces

Godard, John (2004) ‘A Critical Assessment of the High-Performance Paradigm’ British Journal of Industrial Relations. vol. 42:2 pp. 349 – 78.

Guest, D.E., 2011. Human resource management and performance: still searching for some answers. Human resource management journal. , 21(1), pp. 3-13.

Dobbins, T. and Dundon, T. (2017) The Chimera of Sustainable Labour–Management Partnership, British Journal of Management, 28: 3, 519-533.

Heffernan, M and Dundon, T. (2016) Cross-level effects of high-performance work systems (HPWS) and employee well-being: the mediating effect of organisational justice. Human Resource Management Journal, 26: 2, 211-231.

Guest, D.E., 2011. Human resource management and performance: still searching for some answers. Human resource management journal. , 21(1), pp. 3-13.


Truss, C., 2001. Complexities and Controversies in Linking Hrm with Organizational Outcomes. Journal of management studies. , 38(8), pp. 1121-1149.

Wood, Stephen (1999) ‘Human Resource Management and Performance’ International journal of management reviews. vol. 1:4 pp. 367 - 413.

5)  Demise of collectivism and partnership agreements

Frege, C. (2002) ‘A Critical Assessment of the Theoretical and Empirical Research ion German Works Councils’ British Journal of Industrial Relations., 40(2): 221-248.

Hall, M. (2006) ‘A cool response to the ICE Regulations? Employer and trade union approaches to the new legal framework for information and consultation’ Industrial relations journal., 37(5): 456-472.

Terry, M. (1999) ‘Systems of collective employee representation in non-union firms in the UK’ Industrial relations journal., 30(1): 16-30.

Cook, H., MacKenzie, R., & Forde, C. (2020). Union partnership as a facilitator to HRM: Improving implementation through oppositional engagement. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 31(10), 1262-1284.

 MARTINEZ LUCIO, M. and STUART, M., 2005. 'Partnership' and new industrial relations in a risk society: an age of shotgun weddings and marriages of convenience? Work, Employment and society, 19(4), pp. 797-817.

 SAMUEL, P. and BACON, N., 2010. The contents of partnership agreements in Britain 1990-2007. Work, Employment and society, 24(3), pp. 430-448.


Theme III: Equalities, Fairness and Industrial Relations

In these two lectures we will explore the historical developments of equality claims in the UK and in Europe, starting with women struggles for equal wages with men and finishing with the new challenges of addressing multiple diversities (including ethnicity, race, disability alongside gender) from the point of view of industrial relations actors, within and without the EU.

6) Equalities, gender and industrial relations in the UK

Ashe, S., Nazroo, J. ‘Equality, Diversity and Racism in the Workplace A Qualitative Analysis of the 2015 Race at Work Survey’, Business in the

Cabinet Office (2017), Race Disparity Audit, London, HMSO (esp Chs 2, 5, 10) Available from:

Conley, H. (2012) ‘Using equality to challenge austerity: new actors, old problems’, Work, employment and society., Vol. 26 (2), 349-359.

Dickens, L. (2007), ‘The Road is Long: Thirty Years of Equality Legislation in Britain’, British Journal of Industrial Relations., Vol. 45(3)

Equality and Human Rights Commission (2018), Measuring and Reporting on Disability and Ethnicity pay gapsResearch Report 117, Manchester, EHRC Available from:

Equality and Human Rights Commission (2017), The Gender Pay Gap, Research Report 109, Manchester EHRC Available from:

Equality and Human Rights Commission (2017), The Ethnicity Pay Gap, Research Report 108, Manchester EHRC Available from:

Equality and Human Rights Commission (2017), The Disability Pay Gap, Research Report 107, Manchester EHRC Available from:

Hoque, K., Noon, M., (2004), ‘Equal opportunities policy and practice in Britain: Evaluating the ‘empty shell’ hypothesis’, Work, employment and society., Vol. 18(3)

Kirton, G., Greene A-M, (2015), The Dynamics of Managing Diversity: A Critical Approach 4th ed., London, Routledge (esp. Chs 7 and 8)

Moore, S., Tailby, S. (2015), ‘the Changing Face of Employment Relations: Equality and Diversity’, Employee relations. Vol. 37 (6), pp 705-719

O’Reilly, J., Smith, M., Deakin, S.,& Burchell, B. (2015). Equal Pay as a Moving Target: International perspectives on forty-years of addressing the gender pay gap. Cambridge Journal of Economics. , 39(2), 299-317.

The Equalities Review (2007), Fairness and freedom [electronic resource] : the final report of the Equalities Review.. Norwich, HMSO

Wright, T., Conley, H.,& Moore, S. (2011). Addressing Discrimination in the Workplace on Multiple Grounds: The Experience of Trade Union Equality Representatives. Industrial Law Journal. 40(4), 460-465

7) Equalities, gender and other dimension of difference – the European Agenda

Leschke, J., & Jepsen, M. (2014). Is the economic crisis challenging the prevailing gender regime? A comparison of Denmark, Germany, Slovakia, and the United KingdomSocial politics. : International Studies in Gender, State & Society 21 (4), 485-508.

Milner, S., Gregory, A. (2014). Gender equality bargaining in France and the UK: An uphill struggle? The Journal of Industrial Relations, 0022185613509997. 56(2) 1–18

Rubery, J. (2015), ‘Austerity and the future for gender equality in Europe’, Industrial and labor relations review., Vol. 68(4),

Fagan, C., & Rubery, J. (2018). Advancing gender equality through European employment policy: the impact of the UK's EU membership and the risks of Brexit. Social Policy and Society, 17(2), 297-317.

 MacLeavy, Julie (2018) Gender equality: adrift in the Brexit backwash. LSE Brexit (27 Jul 2018). Website.

 Verdin, R., & O'Reilly, J. (2020). What future for gender equality policy in the UK after Brexit?. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, 70. OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (afp 25/09/2020)   

 Theme IV: Contemporary Industrial Relations: Continuity and Change

These two lectures will focus on the changing strategic and tactical initiatives being adopted by employers in the management of work, employment and industrial relations and how unions and other movements responded. This will include consideration of employment status, networked organisations, the flexibilization and precarisation of work and the implications of these for trade unions and for industrial relations generally. The final lecture will consider what new actors have emerged across labour and wider social movement to address these new challenges in employment relations and society at large.

Week 8 Industrial relations, precarious work and the gig economy

Week 9. New social movements and new actors in industrial relations

  • Alberti, G. (2016). Mobilizing and bargaining at the edge of informality: The “3 cosas campaign” by outsourced migrant workers at the University of London.WorkingUSA, 19(1), 81-103.


Please note these readings are suggested by the module leader as background and more in-depth reading into the topics covered during the lectures. More specific guidance will be offered with regard to preparing for the oral assessment in the first part of the course.

This list was last updated on 07/10/2020