Exploring recent changes in employment practices in seven industrialized countries (Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and the United States) and in two essential industries (automobile and telecommunications), Harry C. Katz and Owen Darbishire find that traditional national systems of employment are being challenged by four cross-national patterns. The patterns, which are becoming ever more prevalent, can be categorized as low-wage, human resource management, Japanese-oriented, and joint team-based strategies. The authors go on to show that these changing employment patterns are closely related to the decline of unions and growing income inequality. Drawing upon plant-level evidence on emerging employment practices, they provide a comprehensive analysis of changes in employment systems and labor-management relations. They conclude that while the variation in employment patterns is increasing within countries, evidence suggests that there is much commonality across countries in the nature of that variation and also similarity in the processes through which variation is appearing. Hence the term "converging divergences."
"Converging Divergences is an important addition to the growing literature on comparative industrial relations.... Katz and Darbishire are to be congratulated on their meticulous and wide-ranging study.... This is a carefully researched and well-argued book."
Industrial and Labor Relations Review
"Katz and Darbishire write about convergence with a decided twist. Not only has the monistic version of convergence towards the 'one best way' been replaced with 'four best ways', but the authors also discover three other kinds of variation.... In sum... this study will be a valuable addition to the comparativist's bookshelf. It successfully charts a number of key common trends that are evident across most advanced capitalist societies and it provides us with much insight into developments within two key industries.... Its larger message about patterns of commonality intersecting with national and local institutions and strategies deserves a wide audience."
Anthony Giles, Universite Laval
The Journal of Industrial Relations
"This comparative study will be of use to educators and activists alike. The prior claims of convergence-thesis advocates, of societies characterized by strong trade-union representation and institutionalization, did not envisage the deregulated product and labor markets and the declining union representation of the present global economy. For activists, the book clearly outlines the challenges presented to unions by the decentralization of collective bargaining and global economic integration."
Labor Studies Journal
"Broad and sweeping in its scope, yet differentiated and nuanced in its findings, Converging Divergences takes us on an impressive tour of developments in industrial relations across a wide range of countries and key industries."
Kathleen Thelen, Northwestern University
"Converging Divergences provides fresh insight into the impact of globalization on employment relations, illuminating both similarities and differences within advanced industrial economies. Harry C. Katz and Owen Darbishire analyze the complex changes that are leading to a growing inequality of income as collective bargaining becomes increasingly decentralized around the world. This book is required reading for anyone interested in worldwide changes to employment systems."
Russell D. Lansbury, University of Sydney, Australia
"Examines the increasing diversity of employment systems... with a special focus on the automobile and the telecommunications industries."
"This important book examines changing employment relations in a global context. The dominant theme is the erosion of collective bargaining as a means of managing employment. Recommended for labor studies collections, upper-division undergraduate through faculty."