Product review for Cooperation and Conflict in Occupational Safety and Health: A Multination Study of the Automotive Industry
The result of an eight-year, international research study, this volume examines the methods used to promote occupational safety and health in the automotive industries of the United States, West Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Kenya. The author pays particular attention to the ways in which the broad national social, economic, political, and legal environments influence occupational safety and health activities and outcomes. The study also focuses on the differing degrees of cooperation and conflict exhibited among involved parties in the handling of occupational safety in different countries and companies. Based upon his findings, the author develops a contingency theory of labor-management-government cooperation and conflict that has broad implications for current debates about the need to develop more cooperative relationships within U.S. firms.
Following an introductory chapter that defines key concepts and presents an overview of the research design, Wokutch provides a historical overview of occupational safety and health in the United States for the reader unfamiliar with these issues. He goes on to describe occupational safety and health activities and relationships in the U.S. automotive industry, contrasting them with the handling of these issues in the five other countries under study. National work injury statistics are then compared and related to the economic and sociopolitical environment in which they occur. The next three chapters shift the focus of analysis to the firm and plant level and provide intra and inter-company comparisons. Finally, Wokutch discusses the conclusions and implications of his research and offers recommendations for the handling of occupational safety and health issues derived from his study. Students of labor and industrial relations as well as occupational safety and health and human resources managers will find Wokutch's study an important contribution to the business and management literature.