Unions and Their Changing Environments

  • Bill Ford


In the 1990s, Australian unions are likely to continue to face environments undergoing multi-dimensional and multi-directional changes. In an increasingly interdependent world, unions, like other organisations, face differing combinations, rates and types of changes (e.g. economic, technological, organisational, social, etc.), major discontinuities (e.g. energy crisis), ambiguity, instability and uncertainty. The significance of these environmental changes may vary considerably for individual unions and their members. It is important therefore to endeavour to understand the nature, dimensions and direction of environmental changes, as well as their intricate network of dynamic relationships. It is clearly not possible to do this in one brief chapter. The modest aim of the chapter therefore is:
  • to outline some of the key changes facing Australian unions in the foreseeable future such as internationalisation and the diverse transformations and transfers of technologies, technocultures, organisations, work organisation, skill formation, labour markets and population;

  • to note the resources needed by unions to adapt to their changing environments;

  • to note the diversity and change in the criteria for evaluating the role of unions and the gaps in knowledge about Australian unions.


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Copyright information

© Bill Ford & David Plowman 1989

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  • Bill Ford

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