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Markets, Firms and the Management of Labour in Modern Britain

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Management

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About the Authors
  • In this examination of the development of employers' personnel, human resources, and industrial relations policies in Britain in the twentieth century the author focuses on how employers organize the employment relationship, control work relations, and deal with trade unions and industrial relations. He develops an approach that emphasizes the interaction of external market forces, internal management structure and organization, and strategic choices, and argues that British employers' historical adherence to market-based strategies rather than internal strategies has had negative consequences for economic performance and national competitiveness relative to the United States, Germany, and Japan.

    • Survey of the development of employers' industrial relations and personnel policies in Britain in the twentieth century
    • Has a wide historical scope, a well-respected author, and also compares UK with US, Germany and Japan
    • A wide potential market - MBA and management studies students, as well as graduate and undergraduate students of industrial relations, economics, history and sociology
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '… will surely find a secure place in the industrial relations literature. The contribution which it makes to industrial relations theory and the link it forges with the theory of 'strategic choice' is significant.' Industrial Relations Journal

    Review of the hardback: 'Gospel has marshalled together a wealth of business history material, much of it from primary sources, in a coherent history which will be of use to anyone interested in British labour management. He also demonstrates the usefulness of institutionalist concepts and the potential for dialogue between institutionalism and other industrial relations, labour process and management perspectives.' Work, Employment & Society

    Review of the hardback: '… a wide ranging and detailed analysis of the forces which have shaped the conduct of UK employers with regard to the management of labour … The book would be of interest to a variety of readers. It touches on issues of major concern for policy makers, and should constitute an important reference for students and researchers in the fields of industrial relations, labour economics and business history.' International Review of Applied Economics

    Review of the hardback: 'This is a compelling account. The breadth of research in primary and secondary sources is impressive. The analysis is intelligent and sound.' Business History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2011
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511880360
    • availability: Adobe Reader ebooks available from
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: the management of labour
    Part I. The Inheritance:
    2. Markets, firms, and the management of labour in the nineteenth century
    Part II. Continuities and Change in the First Half of the Twentieth Century:
    3. Markets, firms, and the organisation of production
    4. The evolving employment relationship
    5. Employers, unions, and collective bargaining
    Part III:
    6. Markets, firms, and the organisation of production
    7. Industrial relations: challenges and responses
    8. Employment relations in the post-war period
    Part IV. Conclusions:
    9. Markets, firms and the management of labour
    End notes

  • Author

    Howard Gospel, University of Kent, Canterbury and London School of Economics and Political Science

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