'Humanising' construction? The languages of industrial relations reform, full employment and productivity after 1945

HAYES, N., 2005. 'Humanising' construction? The languages of industrial relations reform, full employment and productivity after 1945. British Contemporary History, 19 (1), pp. 3-26. ISSN 1361-9462

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Abstract

The impact of “human relations” ideology remains contentious. This article examines how such ideas were deconstructed in the British building industry during the postwar battle to raise productivity. Construction offers a useful testing bed for a strategy based on organic, workplace co-operation: it has the dichotomous attributes of past “human neglect” within a reputed industrial relations framework of harmonious mutuality. The industry suffered heavily from unemployment before 1939. It might be expected, therefore, that mindsets changed significantly with the onset of full employment. But did a common understanding of “human relations” exist to disable workplace antagonisms and past insecurity? Indeed were such constructs viewed as a priority, and in that sense have meaning? This article concludes that the past continued to haunt the industry, and that meanings were ambiguous and misconstrued, but that nevertheless a new purposeful, common agenda arose.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: British Contemporary History
Creators: Hayes, N.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Date: 2005
Volume: 19
Number: 1
ISSN: 1361-9462
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1080/1361946042000303837DOI
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:36
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2016 09:11
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15490

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