The organization of industrial relations in Hong Kong: Economic, political and sociological perspectives

Wing Kai Stephen CHIU, David A. LEVIN

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Abstract

In this paper we focus on the question of why the organization of industrial relations in post-World War II Hong Kong has remained much less formalized and centralized than in other industrial societies. We assess the merits of three analytical perspectives - transaction cost economics, political conflict and neoinstitutional sociology - in accounting for these characteristics. We argue that the economic and political perspectives, despite their limitations, contribute to the understanding of the Hong Kong case but that it is the institutional environment, analyzed from a neo-institutional sociological perspective, which has constituted the overarching framework within which political and economic variables operate. We conclude by suggesting that the contrast between the continuity in the organization of industrial relations in postwar Hong Kong and the reorganization of industrial relations in post-colonial Asian societies shows that political arguments may apply best during periods of major political transformation when significant shifts occur in the power structure. Copyright © 1999 EGOS. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-321
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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Industrial relations
Economics
Political economics
Hong Kong
Costs

Bibliographical note

Chiu, S. W. K., & Levin, D. A. (1999). The organization of industrial relations in Hong Kong: Economic, political and sociological perspectives. Organization Studies, 20(2), 293-321. doi: 10.1177/0170840699202005

Keywords

  • Industrial relations
  • Governance structures
  • Transaction costs
  • Political conflict
  • Neo-institutional sociology
  • Hong Kong