Industrial relations on the British pattern have always been, and probably always will be, a messy area — a complex mish mash of institutions, systems and procedures interlaced with the variances of human behaviour and organisational structure and control. And this situation persists even though it is becoming increasingly apparent that successful industrial relations are vital to British industry. Already well aware of the urgent need for clarity many trainers, like others concerned with industrial relations, are now extremely concerned about their own role in terms of recent developments in industrial relations, especially relating to worker participation, codetermination and the control of industry. It seems to me that such a trainer has two options. Either he can try to ignore the changes until the day when he finds himself in a situation he can neither control nor avoid, or he can forearm himself before entering the arena. It is the aim of this article, the first of a series, to pose a few of the fundamental questions that trainers should be asking themselves if they are to make a positive contribution to industrial relations developments. Subsequent articles will discuss how the trainer can make a start by formulating an appropriate overall strategy, and will describe some of the techniques the trainer can use.
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