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A New Framework of Enterprise Unionism: A Comparative Study of Nine Asian Countries

Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations

ISBN: 978-0-76231-386-0, eISBN: 978-1-84950-470-6

Publication date: 1 January 2006


This paper proposes a new theoretical framework to explain enterprise unionism and conducts the first systematic comparative study of union structure in nine Asian countries. Our framework emphasizes political dynamics and the role of the state in labor relations and argues that the initial period of the collective bargaining era constituted a critical juncture (state labor policy) that occurred in distinctive ways in different countries and that these differences played a central role in shaping the different union structures in the following decades. The nine countries are mainly divided into three groups, depending on the type of state labor policy: enforcement of enterprise unionism; centralization/laissez-faire (non-enterprise unionism); and dual unionism/gradual transition (middle-ground). Governmental data were used for the study. A clear correspondence between state labor policy and union structure in each of these groups was found. We believe that our framework significantly enhances our understanding of the Asian cases. Future research should explore the validity of the proposed framework through comparative studies of Latin American cases where enterprise unions have also been observed.


Yong Jeong, D. and Lawler, J. (2006), "A New Framework of Enterprise Unionism: A Comparative Study of Nine Asian Countries", Lewin, D. and Kaufman, B.E. (Ed.) Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations (Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 155-211.



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