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The Impact of Technological Change on Industrial Relations: an International Perspective

The Impact of Technological Change on Industrial Relations: an International Perspective


CURRENT INFORMATION The Impact of Technological Change on Industrial Relations: an International Perspective Russell D. Lansbury University of Sydney Technological change has emerged, or re-emerged, during the past decade as an issue of major importance for industrial relations. Technological change may be defined as 'the process by which economies change over time in respect of the products they produce and the processes used to produce them' (Stoneman, 1983). Techno- logical change may involve any change in equipment or process, through the application of knowledge and skills, which results in a significant alteration in the relationship between labour, capital and raw materials. Opinions differ over the degree to which recent changes in technology have transformed society and created a 'new industrial revolution'. Nevertheless, there is broad agreement that the pace of technological change increased during the past two decades as did the extent of its impact on economies and societies. The papers in a symposium conducted by the International Industrial Relations Association in Hamburg, September 1986, addressed the issue of technological change and industrial relations from a comparative perspective, although many of the authors focused on their own country's experiences in relation to others. New technology was examined by
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