Based on the 1991 Shirley Lerner Memorial Lecture, a discussion is conducted of the challenges and opportunities facing teachers and researchers arising from the rapidly changing practice of industrial relations. A widening of the scope of the subject, to include its individual as well as collective aspects, it is argued, is fully compatible with seeing the main focus as the employment relationship. The challenge to the subject′s research tradition of empirical enquiry, multi‐disciplinarity and above all, its integrity, is much more fundamental. Maintaining this tradition is not only vital for industrial relations, but also for the future direction of the business schools in which most industrial relations teachers and researchers find themselves.
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