The HRM challenge and the teaching of IR at Australian universities

M. Westcott, N. Wailes, Trish Todd, J. Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


By the end of the 1980s many academics working in the eclectic field called `industrial relations' (IR) began to express concern about the threat to the area posed by the rise of `human resource management' (HRM). A number of IR academics argued that the rise of HRM would, among other things, spell the end of specialist courses and programs in IR and academic departments or units of IR in universities. This article reviews evidence on changes that have been occurring in the teaching of industrial relations in Australian tertiary institutions over the decade of the 1990s. While there has been a substantial increase in the teaching of HRM, IR as a discipline has not been completely eroded and in places has proved to be resilient and adaptable to the challenge posed by HRM, in many instances incorporating and accommodating HRM into IR programs. The paper concludes by assessing the implications of changes in the teaching of IR in response to the challenge of HRM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-189
JournalAsiapacific Journal of Human Resources
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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