It is now widely accepted, perhaps with some qualifications, that the dominant British school of industrial relations in recent years has been the liberal‐pluralist or volutaristic‐pluralist school. Its centre has been Oxford and its main members have included Hugh Clegg, the late Allan Flanders, W E J McCarthy, G S Bain and A Fox. The influence of this group has been exhibited in its impact not only on industrial relations teaching and research, but also on policy, especially through the Donovan Report. Indeed, several writers have chosen to characterize it as a problem‐solving rather than a theoretical approach. However, it is important to acknowledge that a practical orientation may not in itself constitute an a‐theoretical position. Hyman and Fryer thus, for example, use the label ‘pragmatism’ to describe a component of the theoretical orientation of the ‘Oxford school’, thus recognizing that while its ‘theory may be only semi‐articulated and ….. partially developed’, the work of the school is not a‐theoretical.
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