Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Economics - Faculty of Commerce


This history of academic industrial relations in Austraha from the 1950s to the 1990s examines the ways in which assumptions, methods, and objects of analysis have been shaped by ideas and events external to the field of study. As an uncertain interdiscipUnary field, Australian academic industrial relations was as open to influences from changes in social and pohtical norms, pubhc policy and the changing imperatives of higher education, as it was to the ideas of scholars in the USA and UK, and those from nearby older disciplines. Within academic industrial relations, the tensions arising from dealing with these often competing influences were exacerbated by the rival models of unidisciplinarity and multidiscipUnarity for the study of industrial relations. Moreover, the very notions of what constituted academic industrial relations were constantly under question, right through to the 1990s when the managerialist HRM approaches to the study of work and employment appeared to threaten the existence of industrial relations as a field of study. This historical overview traces and analyses all of these influences, and the ways they interacted with each other in shaping the field of study. All of these patterns of influence emphasise the importance of taking account of environmental influences and the transmission of ideas in a disciplinary history.

02Whole.pdf (6748 kB)



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.