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  • Author: Thomas Fetzer
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: For a long time scholars of industrial relations tended to associate notions of internationalization with the debate about the cross-border convergence of industrial relations systems. Convergence versus path dependence was thus a key controversy in industrial relations studies for decades. This debate was mirrored in multinational companies when their attempts to “export” industrial relations practices to foreign subsidiaries encountered host country influences that constrained such attempts. In recent years many scholars shown the need for a wider and more complex analysis of internationalization processes that goes beyond the convergence/path dependence dichotomy. Building on this development, the paper presents a historical case study of the impact of cross-border subsidiary integration on industrial relations at Ford Germany and Ford UK between 1967 and 1985. I argue that convergence and path dependence need to be combined with a third “differential internationalization” approach that reflects the country-specific gradual change that emerges from subsidiary integration. The paper concludes by reflecting on the implications of the case study for contemporary internationalization debates.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Germany