Approaches to Industrial Conflict: A Note
In Volume 5 of the Journal, Charles Tily and Roberto Franzosi critiqued P.K Edwards' Strikes in the United States 1881-1974 In his book, Edwards charts the development of United States strike patterns, setting them in the context of technical and organizational changes. He quantitatively examines three key phases of the strike movement: the impact of industrial change at the end of the nineteenth century, the upheaval caused by the New Deal, and the role of strikes in the institutionalized
... titutionalized system of the post-war period Edwards' data reveal that the overallpattern of strike activity, as measured by the frequency, size, and duration of strikes, remained remarkably constant despite enormous industrial and institutional changes. Edwards concludes that America's high strike rate in the early 1970s resultedfrom an unremitting struggle between employers and workers for control of the workplace. In arguing thus, Edwards directs considerable critical attention to the work of Edward Shorter and Charles Tilly, who are the major exponents of the view that strikes in most European countries refqect wider political forces. In their review of Edwards' book, Tilly and Franzosi organize their discussion around three approaches to industrial conflict." the protest approach, the power struggle approach, and the industrial relations approach. One of the reviewers' contentions is that Edwards' analsis of industrial conflict falls within the industrial relations tradition, which stresses the containment of workers'and managers' demands within organizational forms that vary significantly over time and between places. In the follo wing Note, Edwards responds to Till, and Franzost Edwards asserts that his analysis goes beyond a defined industrial relations approach. He maintains that his work comes within a broader sociological tradition concerned with the limitations and contradictions, as well as with the strengths, of industrial relations institutions.