Monday, 15 July 2013

Objective but not detached: Partisanship in industrial relations research

an article by Ralph Darlington (University of Salford, UK) and John Dobson (Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration, Latvia) published in Capital & Class Volume 37 Number 2 (June 2013)


This article considers whether industrial relations (IR) research is objective, impartial or value-free, and argues that many IR academics in Britain have tended to start from a social-democratic premise which makes them relatively more sympathetic to the interests and objectives of workers and their trade unions than to the business needs of employers and managers.

Focusing attention on the partisanship of those who have made a distinctive ‘radical/critical’ contribution to IR scholarship, it advances the argument that IR can, at one and the same time, be both partisan and objective.

Acknowledging the real potential dangers of bias in adopting a methodological approach that states, in the words of C. Wright Mills, ‘I have tried to be objective, but I do not claim to be detached’, it provides a defence of the potential merits of partisanship, provided it is underpinned by rigorous scholarly research.

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