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The Role Of The State In Employment Relations

3096 words - 13 pages

The 21st Century has witnessed Asia’s rapid ascent to economic prosperity. As economic gravity shifts from the Western world to the Asian region, the “tyranny of distance [between states, will be] … replaced by the prospects of proximity” in transnational economic, scientific, political, technological, and social develop relationships (Australian Government, 1). Japan and China are the region’s key business exchange partners. Therefore these countries are under obligation to steer the region through the Asian Century by committing to these relationships and as a result create business networks, boost economic performance, and consequently necessitate the adjustment of business processes and resources in order to accommodate each country’s employment relations model (Wiley, Wilkinson, & Young, 2005). Cognizant of the fact that neither Japan nor China has given up on its external (protectionism or parity) adjustment tools, it is posited that they can nonetheless coexist since both “produce different things and in different ways” and as such avoid the cited perilous US and Mexico competition; but due to globalization, the operating environment portends a convergence or divergence of Industrial Relation (ER) strategies between China and Japan (Lipietz, 1997; Zhu & Warner, 2004).
Whereas China ushered in the 21st Century as member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and as an economic power, Japan entered the Asian Century with a stagnant economy. And as China transforms its economy into a ‘socialist market economy’ it is held that the attendant social, economic, and political transformations necessitate that its state controlled IRs system is decentralized and more so, it should be converge with international best practice IR standards (Zhu, Warner, & Feng, 2011). Although the Chinese government has endeavored to reform its labor market, the “deep-rooted national culture and its long history of centralized state power” as exhibited by the tenets of the all-powerful All-China Federation of Trade Unions1925 (ACFTU), has meant that any initiated IRs reform should be “with Chinese Characteristics” (p.128). It is important to note in the 1980/90s most countries in the Western hemisphere and Asia restructured their IRs systems. This episode can be attributed to factors specific to these countries; but owing to the fact that most of Asia’s economies are linked to the global economy, it is posited that this process may not have been coincidental but it was occasioned by competitive pressures in the global labor market (Kuruvilla & Erickson, 2002).
In practice, the IR systems are organized along these associations: employees and trade unions; employers and their federations; and the state and its agencies in charge of work place and community affairs (Bamber & Leggett, 2000). However, it is argued that besides these institutions, as economies strive to attain the Industrialized Market Economies (IMEs) status, the intervening technological, social, and...

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