Between Boston and Berlin: American MNCs and the shifting contours of industrial relations in Ireland
Collings, David G.
Morley, Michael J.
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Collings, D. G., Gunnigle, P. & Morley, M. J. (2008) Between Boston and Berlin: American MNCs and the shifting contours of industrial relations in Ireland. "The International Journal of Human Resource Management" 19 (2) 240 - 261
Drawing on detailed qualitative case studies and utilizing a national business system lens, we explore a largely underrepresented debate in the literature, namely the nature of change in a specific but critical element of business systems, that is the industrial relations (IR) institutions of the State and the impact of MNCs thereon. Given the critical mass of US investment in Ireland, we examine how US MNCs manage IR in their Irish subsidiaries, how the policies and practices they pursue have impacted on the Irish IR system, and more broadly their role in shaping the host institutional environment. Overall, we conclude that there is some evidence of change in the IR system, change that we trace indirectly to the US MNC sector. Further, the US MNC sector displays evidence of elements of the management of IR that is clearly at odds with Irish traditions. Thus, in these firms we point to the emergence of a hybrid system of the management of IR and the establishment of new traditions more reflective of US business system.