Discuss the contribution made by Dunlop to industrial relations theory

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pnhancock eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Theories of industrial relations prior to Dunlop's theory conceptualized the different aspects of industry- employers, employees, and the state- as separate structures that worked independently, and were entirely autonomous from each other and environmental factors. Dunlop posited that industrial relations actually functioned like a system in which every aspect was interconnected. He also emphasized the social context that shaped the roles of these three components of industrial relations, arguing that employees and employers, as well as employers and the state, interacted differently depending on external factors. The system of industrial relations, according to Dunlop, was influenced by three major factors: technological progress, the state of the economy, and political leadership. Essentially, what Dunlop contributed to understandings of industrial relations was a theory that incorporated social, political, and economic context in order to conceptualize industrial relations as a social system between workers, employers, and the government.