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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Labor Studies and Employment Relations (LER)

LER 400 (IL) Comparative Employment Relations Systems (3) Analysis of structure and elements of employment relations systems in developed and developing areas.

LER 400 Comparative Employment Relations Systems (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

This course explores contemporary topics in employment relations in the world. The course examines seven examples of employment relations systems, each carefully chosen to illustrate important variations in employment relations practices. It also provides an overview of economic globalization and its impact on employment relations. Topics include global sweatshops, child labor, the diffusion of human resource practices, and corporate social responsibility. The first country case is Germany, which provides an example of a country with strong national unions and a highly developed system of works councils. The Swedish case exemplifies a long-tradition of centralized bargaining and tripartite relations that is now in transition. The third case, Japan, illustrates some of the initial experiences with team work, just-in-time production, and employee commitment through job security and training. China offers an example of a socialist system in transition that has become an economic powerhouse through massive export processing zones, government controlled unions, and wage competition. Brazil provides an important example of a Latin American country with a state dominated employee relations system. South Africa offers a case of highly politicized employment relations in a country in transition from extreme racial segregation to a democracy. Finally, India represents Asia's other economic powerhouse, with an English speaking workforce that is drawn to the booming call center industry and export-oriented production. The second half of the course looks at broader themes related to the topic of globalization. Sweatshops in Mexico and child labor in India examined alongside the diffusion of high-end human resource practices in Brazil. In this section, student will also study inter-governmental institutions such as the World Trade Organization, and the International Monetary Fund. The final unit of this section examines the topic of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), recent attempts by corporations -at times in coordination with labor unions--to establish basic sets of rules or standards for their employees wherever units of the corporation might be located in the world today.

General Education: None
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Spring 2008
Prerequisite: 3 credits in Labor and Employment Relations

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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