Manpower Management in the Domestic and International Construction Industry

  • Peter Enderwick


Manpower management in the construction industry is heavily influenced by the particular characteristics of the industry. The most significant include the labour intensive nature of much construction, employment instability, an unstable industrial structure which has been referred to as the ‘construction jungle’ (Stallworthy and Kharbanda, 1985), fragmented bargaining structures and the interdependence of trades as well as pervasive regulation. Analysis is also complicated by the diversity of labour management practices. Significant differences exist between public and private sector contractors. Within the private sector, unionised trades and firms coexist with a significant non-union sector and a large casualised subcontracting industry. The emphasis in this paper is on private sector construction and particular attention is paid to the growth of ‘labour only’ subcontracting.


Labour Supply Construction Industry Industrial Relation Multinational Enterprise Monthly Labor Review 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. ALCHIAN, A. A. and DEMSETZ, H. (1972) ‘Production, Information Costs and Economic Organisation’, American Economic Review, 62, pp. 777–95.Google Scholar
  2. ARRIGHI, G. (1982) ‘A crisis of hegemony in S. Amin et al. Dynamics of Global Crisis (London: Macmillan).Google Scholar
  3. BAIN, G. S. (ed.) (1983) Industrial Relations in Britain (Oxford, Basil Blackwell).Google Scholar
  4. BAIN, G. S. and ELSHEIKH, F. (1979) ‘An Inter-Industry Analysis of Unionisation in Britain’, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 17, pp. 127–57.Google Scholar
  5. BARNA, T. (1983)‘Process Plant Contracting: a Competitive New European Industry’, in G. Shepherd, F. Duchene and C. Saunders (eds) Europe’s Industries: Public and Private Strategies for Change (London: Frances Pinter).Google Scholar
  6. BOWLBY, R. L., CARROLL, S. L and EVANS, R. (1980) ‘Measuring the Social Costs of Instability in Construction’, Monthly Labor Review, 103, pp. 53–7.Google Scholar
  7. BUCKLEY, P. J. and CASSON, M. (1976) The Future of the Multinational Enterprise (London: Macmillan).Google Scholar
  8. BUCKLEY, P. J. and CASSON, M. (1985) The Economic Theory of the Multinational Enterprise (London: Macmillan).Google Scholar
  9. BUTTERICK, J. (1952) ‘The Inside Contract System’, The Journal of Economic History, 12, pp. 205–21.Google Scholar
  10. CASSON, M. (1985) ‘Horizontal and Vertical Integration in the Construction Industry,’ unpublished paper.Google Scholar
  11. COASE, R. (1937) ‘The Nature of the Firm’, Economica, 4, pp. 386–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. CODRINGTON, C. and J. S. HENLEY (1981) ‘The Industrial Relations of Injury and Death: Safety Representatives in the Construction Industry’, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 19, pp. 297–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. DAWSON, S., CLINTON, A, BAMFORD, M., and WILLMAN, P. (1985) ‘Safety in Construction: Self Regulation, Industrial Structure and Workforce Involvement’, Journal of General Management, 10, pp. 21–38.Google Scholar
  14. DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT (1983) Gazette, November.Google Scholar
  15. DOERINGER, P. and PIORE, M. (1971) Internal Labor Markets and Manpower Analysis (Lexington: D. C. Heath).Google Scholar
  16. DUNN, S. and GENNARD, J. (1984) The Closed Shop in British Industry (London: Macmillan).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. DUNNING, J. H. (1981) International Production and the Multinational Enterprise (London: Allen and Unwin).Google Scholar
  18. EDWARDS, R. (1979) Contested Terrain: The Transfrmation of the Workplace in the Twentieth Century (London: Heinemann).Google Scholar
  19. FLEMING, M. C. (1980) ‘Construction’ in P. S. Johnson (ed.) The Structure of British Industry (London: Granada).Google Scholar
  20. FOSTER, H. G. (1972) ‘Wages in Construction: Examining the Arguments’, Industrial Relations, 11, pp. 336–49.Google Scholar
  21. FOSTER, H. G. (1978) ‘Industrial Relations in Construction: 1970–1977’, Industrial Relations, 17, pp. 1–17.Google Scholar
  22. GABRIEL, J. and HOLZAPFL, F. (1981) ‘Entrepreneurial strategies of adjustment and internal labour markets’ in F. Wilkinson (ed.) The Dynamics of Labour Market Segmentation (London: Academic Press).Google Scholar
  23. GORDON, D. M., EDWARDS, R. and REICH, M. (1982) Segmented Work, Divided Workers: The Historical Transformation of Labour in the United States (Cambridge: University Press).Google Scholar
  24. HABER, W. and LEVINSON, H. (1956) Labor Relations and Productivity in the Building Trades (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan).Google Scholar
  25. HANSON, C, JACKSON, S. and MILLER, D. (1982) The Closed Shop (Aldershot: Gower).Google Scholar
  26. HILLEBRANDT, P. M. (1984) Analysis of the British Construction Industry (London: Macmillan).Google Scholar
  27. JENSEN, M. C. and W. H. MECKLING (1976) ‘Theory of the firm: managerial behaviour, agency costs and ownership structure’, Journal of Financial Economics, 3, pp. 305–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. KEATING, B. P. (1981) ‘Standards: implicit, explicit and mandatory’, Economic Inquiry, 19, pp. 449–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. LECRAW, D (1986) ‘Third World Multinationals in the Service Industry’ in P. Enderwick (ed.) Multinational Service Industries (London: Croom Helm).Google Scholar
  30. LEIBENSTEIN, H. (1976) Beyond Economic Man (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar
  31. LIPSKY, D. B. and H. S. FARBER (1976) ‘The Composition of Strike Activity in the Construction Industry’, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 29, pp. 388–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McCARTHY, W. E. J. (1984) The Closed Shop in Britain (Oxford: Basil Blackwell).Google Scholar
  33. McCORMICK, B. J. (1964) ‘Trade Union Reaction to Technological Change in the Construction Industry’, Yorkshire Bulletin of Economic and Social Research, 16.Google Scholar
  34. McPHERSON, M. (1983) ‘Efficiency and Liberty in the Productive Enterprise: Recent Work in the Economics of Work Organisation’, Philosophy and Public Affairs, 12, pp. 354–68.Google Scholar
  35. MANDELSTAMM, A. B. (1965) ‘The Effects of Unions on Efficiency in the Residential Construction Industry: a Case Study’, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 18, pp. 503–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. MARGLIN, S. A. (1974) ‘What do Bosses do? The origins and functions of hierarchy in capitalist production’, Review of Radical Political Economics, 6, pp. 33–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. MILLS, D. Q. (1980) ‘Construction’ in G. C. Somers (ed.) Collective Bargaining: Contemporary American Experience (Wisconsin: IRRA).Google Scholar
  38. MOORE, R. (1981) ‘Aspects of segmentation in the United Kingdom building industry labour market’, in F. Wilkinson (ed.) The Dynamics of Labour Market Segmentation (London: Academic Press).Google Scholar
  39. NEO, R. B. (1976) International Construction Contracting (Aldershot: Gower).Google Scholar
  40. OSTER, S. M. and QUIGLEY, J. M. (1977) ‘Regulatory Barriers to the Diffusion of Innovation: Some Evidence from Building Codes’, Bell Journal of Economics, 8, pp. 361–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. OSTERMAN, P. (ed.) (1984) Internal Labor Markets (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press).Google Scholar
  42. PENFIELD, R. V. (1976) ‘The Double-breasted Operation in the Construction Industry’, Labor Law Journal, 21, pp. 89–93.Google Scholar
  43. PRICE, R. (1980) Masters, Unions and Men: Work Control in Building and the Rise of Labour 1830–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. ROSS, P. (1972) ‘Origin of the Hiring Hall in Construction’, Industrial Relations, 11, pp. 366–79.Google Scholar
  45. SEYMOUR, H., FLANAGAN, R and NORMAN, G. (1985) ‘International investment in the construction industry: an application of the eclectic approach’ unpublished paper.Google Scholar
  46. SIMON, H. A. (1957) Models of Man (New York: Wiley).Google Scholar
  47. SCHULENBURGER, D. E. (1978) ‘A Contour Theoretic Approach to the Determination of negotiated wage chage in the Building Construction Industry’, Economic Inquiry, 16, pp. 395–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. SMITH, C. T. B., RICHARD CLIFTON, PETER MAKEHAM, S. W. CREIGH and R. V. BURN (1978) Strikes in Britain, Department of Employment, Manpower Paper No. 15, HMSO, London.Google Scholar
  49. STALLWORTHY, E. A. and KHARBANDA, O. P. (1985) International Construction and the Role of Project Management (Aldershot: Gower).Google Scholar
  50. STOKES, H. K. (1981) ‘An Examination of the Productivity Decline in the Construction Industry’, Review of Economics and Statistics, 63, pp. 495–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. TSCHETTER, J. and LUKASIEWICZ, J. (1983) ‘Employment Changes in Construction: Secular, Cyclical and Seasonal’, Monthly Labor Review, 106, pp. 11–17.Google Scholar
  52. US DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (1976) US Service Industries in World Markets: Current Problems and Future Policy Development (Washington DC).Google Scholar
  53. VILLA, P. (1981) ‘Labour Market Segmentation and the Construction Industry in Italy’, in F. Wilkinson (ed.) The Dynamics of Labour Market Segmentation (London: Academic Press).Google Scholar
  54. WANG, C. L. and HILASKI, H. J. (1978) ‘The Safety and Health Record in the Construction Industry’, Monthly Labor Review, 101, 3–9.Google Scholar
  55. WELLS, L. T. (1983) Third World Multinationals (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press).Google Scholar
  56. WHELCHEL, B. D. (1971) ‘Informal Bargaining in Construction’, Industrial Relations, 10, 105–9.Google Scholar
  57. WILLIAMSON, O. E. (1975) Markets and Hierarchies, Analysis and Anti-Trust Implications (New York: The Free Press).Google Scholar
  58. WILLIAMSON, O. E. (1980) ‘The organisation of work: a comparative institutional assessment’, Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation, 1, pp. 5–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter J. Buckley 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Enderwick

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations