In Pursuit of Flexibility: The Transformation of Labour-Management Relations in Chinese Enterprises

  • John Benson
  • Philippe Debroux
  • Masae Yausa
Part of the Studies on the Chinese Economy book series (STCE)


In industrialized nations, the pursuit of flexibility has underpinned enterprise reform since the 1980s. This ‘new frontier’ in the management of labour (Baglioni, 1990) is seen as the only way for firms to improve productivity and so survive in the global marketplace. Elimination of rigidities, especially those in the labour market, has been perceived as the key to increased competitiveness and decreased unemployment in the advanced economies. This flexibility argument was articulated by Piore and Sabel (1984) who argued that the saturation of markets in advanced economies and shrinking demands in the Third World make Fordist-type mass production less appropriate and uncompetitive. The same evolution is also noticeable in service industries such as retailing and finance, where a transformation of management practices is required to cope with the diversification and segmentation of markets and the proliferation of products.


Trade Union Human Resource Management Banking Sector Industrial Relation Manufacturing Company 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Benson
  • Philippe Debroux
  • Masae Yausa

There are no affiliations available

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