University of Limerick
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Industrial relations, the new right and the praxis of mismanagement

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-06, 09:57 authored by Tony Dobbins, TONY DUNDONTONY DUNDON

Purpose – The purpose of the article is to outline the insights provided by Alan Fox in Man Mismanagement in relation to the rise of the New Right political economy and the spread of unitarist managerialism. The article assesses the contemporary work and employment relations implications of mismanagement arising from a “second wave” of the New Right ideology from 2010 in the UK. Design/methodology/approach – Responding to the Special Issue on Alan Fox, the article focuses on Alan Fox’s book Man Mismanagement, considering industrial relations developments arising between the 1st (1974b) and 2nd (1985) editions relating to the political rise of the New Right. It reviews various literature that illustrates the contemporary IR relevance of the book and Fox’s insights. Findings – The New Right’s ideology has further fragmented work, disjointed labour rights and undermined collective industrial relations institutions, and macho mismanagement praxis is even more commonplace, compared to when Fox wrote Man Mismanagement. The stripping away of the institutional architecture of IR renders the renewal of pluralist praxis, like collective bargaining and other forms of joint regulation of work, a formidable task. Originality/value – The value of the article relates to the identification of dramatic historical industrial relations events and change in the UK in Alan Fox’s book Man Mismanagement, most notably relating to the rise to power of the Thatcherite New Right in 1979. Originality is evidenced by the authors’ drawing on Fox’s ideas and assessing the implications of the “second wave” of the New Right in the contemporary industrial relations (IR) context of the 2020s under the conceptual themes of fragmented work, disjointed labour rights and undermined collectivism



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