For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Richard Hyman: Marxism, trade unionism and comparative employment relations"

by Frege, Carola; Kelly, John; McGovern, Patrick (2011)


Richard Hyman has been a hugely influential figure in the field of industrial relations for the best part of four decades. At a time when the future of the very subject has been questioned, we highlight three areas of Hyman's work that we believe provide fertile territory for future research. The first concerns the importance of theory and the continuing need to broaden the subject of industrial relations so that it is treated as an area in which we can examine wider questions about ‘the political economy of waged labour’. The second area is the changing nature of employee representation which, for much of Hyman's career, was synonymous with the analysis of trade unions under capitalism. The third area is one of the more striking recent successes within the subject, namely the study of comparative industrial relations. Each of these areas reveals Hyman's talent for identifying and clarifying a set of issues around the politics of work that will endure regardless of whether the subject is known as industrial relations, employment relations or human resource management.


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