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Introducing Employment Relations

A Critical Approach

Fifth Edition

Steve Williams

21 April 2020

ISBN: 9780198835530

488 pages

In Stock

Price: £54.99

The most trusted and thought-provoking introduction to employment relations, this new and extensively updated edition draws on the most up-to-date research and contemporary examples to help students develop their knowledge, understanding, and critical assessment of the main issues relating to employment relations.



Combining a broad variety of contemporary examples with up-to-date research, this thought-provoking text will help you to develop your knowledge, understanding, and critical assessment of the main theories and themes relating to employment relations.

  • The book's critical approach moves beyond a descriptive narrative to ensure students are challenged and can appreciate the complexities inherent in the subject.
  • A wealth of learning features, including 'international perspectives', 'contesting employment relations' and 'insight into practice' boxes offer students a variety of perspectives as well historic, legal, and cultural context.
  • A wide range of up-to-date research, contemporary examples and case studies are used to guide students through the real world of work, employment, and employment relations.
  • An accessible writing style and the thematic organization of the book engages students from the start, and clarifies the often complex and multifaceted issues.
  • Also available as an e-book with functionality, navigation features, and links that offer extra learning support

New to this edition

  • Fully updated to reflect the implications of Brexit, the rise of new forms of working (such as the gig economy), and developments such as casualization and automation.
  • Material on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has been significantly expanded and now includes a new 'international perspective' box on mandatory arbitration in the United States.
  • Case studies, insights, and perspectives boxes have been increased in number and geographical variety to further support you in making the link between theory and practice.
  • A new 'key concepts' feature helps you to understand and define the main issues relating to each chapter.
  • A new guide is now available for adopting lecturers and contains advice on how each chapter can be taught, as well as suggested seminar activities.

About the Author(s)

Steve Williams, Reader in Employment Relations, University of Portsmouth

Dr Steve Williams is a Reader in Employment Relations at the University of Portsmouth.

Table of Contents

    Part 1: Introducing employment relations
    1:The nature of employment relations
    Part 2: The dimensions of employment relations
    2:Employment relations in the contemporary economy
    3:The politics of employment relations
    4:Social divisions and employment relations
    Part 3: Key elements of employment relations
    5:Managing employment relations
    6:Trade unions and worker representation
    7:Pay determination and employment relations
    8:Working time and employment relations
    Part 4: Conflict and employment relations
    9:Labour conflict and employment relations
    10:Resolving labour conflict
    Part 5: Employment relations: Perspectives and prospects
    11:Globalization and employment relations
    12:Conclusion: Understanding employment relations


"This book provides a comprehensive and critical account of contemporary UK employee relations." - Bob Smale, Brighton University

"This book is very up-to-date on contemporary research with various national and international examples that encourage students to think critically about employment relations." - Marilena Antoniadou, Manchester Metropolitan University

"A comprehensive and up-to-date book on employment relations. Easily accessible, full of useful examples and case studies that make things clear to students. Has a good relationship between theory and practice and is structured in a clear way." - Jane Holgate, University of Leeds

"This is a contemporary and welcome book of international significance, providing a solid understanding of employment relations and an articulate discussion of the circumstances of the twenty-first century envirnment, in which these relations operate. By highlighting the experiences of workers themselves, it manages to cover in a critical way the role of managers and HR practitioners, and to further illustrate the role of trade unions and worker representation. Anyone interested in the ways work and employment relations are experienced, regulated and contested, from various perspectives, will find this book an invaluable source of fascinating and critical arguments." - Dr Marilena Antoniadou, Manchester Metropolitan University

"Highly accessible to both our home and international students, this excellent introduction to employment relations provides a critical understanding of the historical context, politics and dynamics of employment relations today, with a focus on the UK and the EU, including instructive teaching tools and case studies of recent policy and legal challenges such as Brexit and their significance for ER." - Professor Gabriella Alberti, Leeds University

"Introducing Employment Relations provides a theoretically informed discussion of key debates in the field of employment relations. The chapters are guided by a clear structure that organizes the material in an accessible manner. Its critical approach to the analysis of employment relations makes it an essential book for both students and teachers." - Dr Dragos Adascalitei, University of Sheffield

"The fifth edition of this excellent, proven book is written in a straightforward and engaging style, making it easy for students at all levels to understand the field of employment relations as well as major changes within the wider political, economic and social context. A highly accessible and comprehensive text." - Terry Driscoll, University of South Wales

"This is an excellent, comprehensive and very insightful book that critically and thoughtfully addresses the many and varied contemporary developments in employment relations." - Dr Andrew Smith, University of Bradford

"In a field awash with introductory texts; Williams' Introducing Employment Relations stands head and shoulders above the rest." - Niall Cullinane, Queen's University Belfast

"This book is an outstanding introduction to the study of work and employment relations; synthesising key theoretical debates, the wider research literature and novel, contemporary case studies." - Stephen Mustchin, University of Manchester

"What I truly like about this book is it offers very structured, focused and comprehensive content on employment relations. You can see a clear flow of discussion points in each chapter which connects its readers to real life scenarios through strategically placed case studies and other related examples." - Dr Sawlat Zaman, Newcastle University

"This is an insightful and critical text that introduces students to the full range of participants and processes within individual and collective employment relationships." - Dr Ronnie Caddow, Glasgow Caledonian University

Additional Resources

Digital formats and resources

Introducing Employment Relations is supported by online resources and is available for students and institutions to purchase in a variety of formats.

The e-book offers a mobile experience and convenient access along with functionality tools, navigation features and links that offer extra learning support: www.oxfordtextbooks.co.uk/ebooks

This book is accompanied by online resources featuring:

For students:
Web links to useful sources
Additional case studies
Legislation, research, and policy updates
Flashcard glossary

For lecturers:
PowerPoint slides
Case study guides
Guides to End-of-Chapter questions
Online additional case study guides
Video links
Guides to individual chapters

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