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Friday, October 26, 2012

What is Industrial Relations (Part I) - The Origins of Industrial Relations

          To understand what is industrial relations, it is important to know about the origins of industrial relations. Since the ancient times, feudalism could be seen around the nations of world, especially at eras of Rome, Alexander, Ashok, and Persian and more. It developed after 1200 AC and furthermore, with invasions of Portuguese, Dutches, British, and   French. Before that, it was seen in both western and eastern kingdoms as well. Slavery could be seen from the great era of ancient Egypt. From that era till American civil war ends one could see slavery system, and feudalism. It expanded further in 1900s in some of regions.

        Under Feudalism there were no industrial relations; the only relationship was master and servant. Then gradual Capitalism began as time passed. To understand the origins of industrial relations, we need to understand the evolution of work under capitalism. Under feudalism we had a master and serf relationship, and serfs were bound to the service of the lord or landowner and remained attached to them. Servant was bound to do what the land lord or master said, even the servant is agreed with it or not. If he was not able to do that, the punishment may be hunger or even death. This didn’t happened in each and every place, but in many places it happened. Many of Negros and invaded nations faced this and other forms of slavery. Industrial relations, arose as a direct consequence of the way capitalism organized work.

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       Under the feudalism, also existed the master craftsman who worked independently and created useful items- for example, furniture, boats etc.; and this was sold on the public market. Most of eastern countries, those craftsmen’s were capitalized to some areas, and later they were expanded individually to different types of areas and was able to manage their life with the barter system- exchange goods for another good. Some craftsmen’s, who were able to produce pots, swards, knifes etc., and carpenters etc… followed these methods. There could be seen two predominant forms of works under feudalism.  Those are agriculture/serfdom and craftsman/independent labor. Both survived with the barter system or money exchange latterly, from the serfdoms salary given by master.

        The change from feudalism to capitalism saw the emergence of industrial relations as a discipline. The change from feudalism to capitalism was marked by the industrial revolution, the process began in the 14th and 15th century in Britain, and it was spread among other European countries and to the world. The full impact of this was felt in the middle of the 18th and 19th century. World War I and World War II also gave a great impact of the development of industrial revolution. How it happened? In the World War, all parties involved in it needed to win and they invested much more on machineries such as air crafts, trucks, ships, jeeps and tanks and guns and more. In World War II, the situation was at the peak. Hitler’s invasion to Europe and Japanese invasion to USA and Australia made opportunities to do trials and push nations to be success at wars, finish it immediately by defeat the enemy. There was competition among the nations to be the first. After World Wars, nations pushed themselves in to re-establish new world with peace and prosperous. They were depending on the craft work and agriculture work the major form of production; and succeeded.
By 1950, the world began to talk about industrial relations and the most acceptable definition of that era was done by Professor Barnash in 1954. He defined IR as “Area of study and practice concerned with the administration of the employment function in modern public and private enterprise. This function involves workers, unions, managers, government and various publics”.

         After World War II- this is the time industries has begun to expand over the world than expanding with in one industry, and also expanding and start the evolution of industrial relations.

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