The Origins & Evolution of the Field of Industrial Relations in the United States


Cover Page

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS (IR) developed as a distinct academic subject and field of study nearly three-quarters of a century ago. This book provides a historical survey of the origins and development of the field in the United States and an analysis of the factors that contributed both to the field's ascendancy in the decade after World War II and to its sharp decline in the 1980s.

The book has three objectives. The first is to provide a detailed account of the intellectual history of the field of industrial relations, its relationship to personnel management (and related fields such as organizational behavior), and the historical development of the major institutions of industrial relations in American academe, including university degree programs and professional associations. The second objective is to assess the reasons for the marked decline in the field's intellectual and organizational for, tunes over the last two decades, a decline that has proceeded to the point that the continued existence of industrial relations programs at a number of universities is threatened. Finally, the third objective is to develop a strategy for change that will preserve and strengthen industrial relations as a field of study, if not in name then in intellectual spirit.