The industrial relations of skills formation

John Mathews*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Central to human resource management is the question of employee skills and their effective utilization, through such arrangements as competency-based training, performance appraisal and assessment. In this context, collective issues come to the fore: the formulation of skills-based work and pay systems, the mechanisms and procedures governing workers’ allocation to and progression through skills-based job classification systems, the tracing out of career paths and the conduct of skills audits and training programmes. These issues of necessity are largely being resolved at the enterprise level. They are complemented by broader questions to do with skills standardization, accreditation and portability of qualifications, which can only be resolved at the trans-enterprise level. Because all these issues have a collective character, they provide an opportunity to extend the traditional agenda of industrial relations, at both enterprise and national and sectoral level. In this paper, the expanded industrial relations agenda is linked with the emergence of new production systems based on high quality, high value-added production where skills formation and effective utilization of skills become a competitive necessity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-609
Number of pages19
JournalThe International Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • human resource management
  • industrial relations
  • learning space
  • mass production
  • new production systems
  • skills formation
  • training space


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