Newsletter issues
Combined index

Industrial Relations, Labour Market Institutions and Employment

by Franz Traxler

ESA Research Network

A variety of disciplines and perspectives refer to the labour market and to employment. This research network will link these subjects with industrial relations, especially with regard to two main issues:

First, industrial relations can be understood as institutions which govern the labour market and employment. While standard economics tend to regard the labour market as a mechanism of pure arm's-length exchange relations, the key assumption of sociology is that the labour market and employment are embedded in social structures; and industrial relations represent a particularly important institutional element of this social structure. In this context, the research will concentrate on "labour-market embeddedness", its variations across countries and its changes over time. This includes the question of the effect which industrial relations have on labour market performance and employment structures.

Second, changes in the labour market and employment in turn exert pressures for adjustment on industrial relations institutions. The globalization of markets, European integration and the accompanying changes in both the labour market and employment pose a serious threat to established industrial-relations institutions. The way in which distinct institutions cope with this challenge is another question addressed by this research network.

The more general problems behind the two main issues are whether and how industrial relations - which are still nation-centred - can stand in an economy which has increasingly become both globalized and European. In line with this, special emphasis will be placed on a cross-national perspective.


Franz Traxler
Institute of Sociology
University of Vienna
Bruenner Strasse 72

A-1210 Vienna, Austria
Fax: + 43 1 291 28 544

EURODATA Newsletter No. 3 Article 3