Media, new union strategies, and non-government organizations as global players: the struggle over representation and work

Walker, Steve (2013). Media, new union strategies, and non-government organizations as global players: the struggle over representation and work. In: Martinez Lucio, Miguel ed. International Human Resource Management: An Employment Relations Perspective. London: SAGE, pp. 277–292.

URL: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/books/Book236025

Abstract

The last quarter of a century has seen the rise of what Manuel Castells famously called the "network society", in which the production of wealth has moved beyond the earlier industrial mode of capitalist production to what he terms an "informational mode", represented by widespread changes in the nature and geographic distribution of work. These changes have affected not just corporations and governments, but also civil society; transnational networks of social movements, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and trade unions have emerged, both responding to and shaping the contemporary world (Castells 2001). Of particular interest here is that actors within and beyond the traditional labour movement have used diverse networked technologies and organizational forms in responding to the changing structure of corporate organization and both governmental and non-governmental forms of work regulation. Labour's response has involved not just traditional trade unions but also, increasingly, collaboration with NGOs and wider social movements. The Internet is an important component of these developments, which have seen diverse actors within the wider labour movement using information and communication technologies (ICT) in widely differing ways with similarly diverse effects.

This chapter discusses some of the dynamics in these changes. It is organized as follows: first, an introduction to this "networked labour movement" focusing on the relationship between technology and organization. The subsequent discussion and examples are organized around three themes: the Internet as a resource for coordination, the Internet as a resource for campaigning and, briefly, ICT and the Internet as a site of conflict.

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