Calls for papers

Two Current Calls for Papers 

Work and Employment Relations in Health Care: Conference and Special Issue

The Industrial and Labor Relations Review is calling for papers for a conference and subsequent publication devoted to work and employment relations in health care. Conference co-organizers Ariel C. Avgar (Illinois), Adrienne E. Eaton (Rutgers), Rebecca Givan (Rutgers), and Adam Seth Litwin (Johns Hopkins) will assist the journal's regular editors in developing the issue.

Scholars interested in participating should submit a paper to the conference organizers by November 15, 2013. Authors whose papers are accepted will be invited to a conference sponsored by the University of Illinois, School of Labor and Employment Relations and the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University, to be held in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on March 14 and 15, 2014. Conference expenses will be partially subsidized. Papers presented at this conference should be suitable for submission to external reviewers. Based on the organizers' recommendations, discussions at the conference, and fit with the issue, a subset of authors will be asked to submit their papers to the ILRReview with the expectation that their papers will be published in the special issue once they pass the external review process. Papers that reviewers deem of good quality that are not selected for the special issue will be considered for publication in a regular issue of the journal.

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The health care industry in the United States and in most developed and developing countries is in a state of rapid change. The industry faces dramatic challenges both in terms of the quality of care provided and in escalating costs and shortages in many key occupational groups.As such, scholarly interest is growing in this sector as a unique setting in which to study work, organizations, and employment relations.

Over the last decade, employment relations research in the health care sector has shed new light on a variety of innovations—from new models of labor representation and work structures to emerging methods of delivering patient care. Scholars from a number of disciplines have begun to examine the relationship between these innovations and their outcomes for organizations, employees, and patients. Nevertheless, the need is substantial for additional empirical evidence regarding the manner in which these different organizational innovations influence key outcomes for a variety of stakeholders. For example, large-scale investments in information technology (IT) are expected to revolutionize the nature of health care delivery in all three subsectors. However, employment relations theory and early empirical studies suggest that material performance improvements hinge on a careful restructuring of work systems around the new technologies. We also have much to learn regarding the interplay of market and institutional forces in the health care workplace. Apparent shortages in many important occupational groups, including primary care physicians, nurses, and other technical occupations, have sparked policy debates about the nature, sources, and solutions to these problems. Some scholars argue that perceived and actual shortages of domestically trained nurses and other occupational groups have led to programs of recruitment of foreign-trained and foreign-born workers to fill such gaps. And, at both the high- and low-skilled ends of the labor market, the system is dependent on global labor migration. All of this makes for a fertile context in which to study emerging workplace phenomena and their consequences for multiple stakeholders, within and beyond the health care domain.

We are especially interested in empirical submissions from scholars whose work is grounded in the health care workplace with diverse disciplinary perspectives from sociology, psychology, economics, or political science incorporated, as well as collaborative pieces from social scientists and scholars in medicine or public health. International research is especially encouraged, though U.S.-focused research is certainly welcome. Papers may be supported by a range of methodologies, including survey research, qualitative or quantitative case studies, or statistical analyses of archival data.

Potential topic areas include, but are not limited to: 

  • Management responses to technologically induced changes in the organization of work
  • Implications of health care reform for multiple organizational stakeholders including patients, managers, employees, and unions
  • Organizational experimentation with new forms of employee involvement
  • Changes in physician compensation, pay inequality, and the gender pay gap resulting from new payment models, including managed care
  • Partnerships between health care purchasers and providers aimed at improving care quality and efficiency
  • New models of patient care delivery, such as patient-centered care or relationship-centered care
  • New inter- or intra-organizational models of skill development and job ladders
  • The relationship between care quality for patients and job quality for workers
  • Workforce implications of the recent emphasis on health care quality and patient safety
Prospective contributors are urged to consult any of the coordinators regarding preliminary proposals or ideas for papers. To submit your full paper for consideration for the conference and subsequent consideration for the ILRReview special issue, please e-mail it to by the November 15, 2013, deadline.

Special Issue on Work and Employment Relations and the New Statism

The ILRReview is calling for papers for a special issue devoted to work and employment relations and the new statism. Scholars interested in participating should submit a paper to the journal by December 1, 2013.

The special issue, coordinated by Adrian Wilkinson and Geoffrey Wood, will explore new approaches to and new perspectives from comparative institutional analysis on the role of the state. It will focus on the less visible and direct ways in which the state may influence industries, firms, and workers. Although the marginalization of unions and the hegemony of neoliberalism in many advanced societies challenged the raison d’être of industrial relations, the revival of institutional approaches to political economy has underscored the relevance of a field of study in which institutions, including those clustered around the state, have always been central. The recent economic crisis, while generated through failures in market regulation, has ironically led to both pressures for a further paring back of governmental capabilities for regulation and enforcement and a renewed interest in the possibilities for meaningful institutional redesign of the role of the state.

This special issue will highlight main currents in contemporary institutionalist thinking and their relevance for the study of the present role of the state in industrial relations. Although institutional analysis is often associated with assumptions of strong path dependence, recent work has highlighted the circumstances and the possible forms of systemic change and the role of super- and sub-national institutional configurations in making for bounded diversity.

The United States, which is often upheld as the archetypical liberal market economy (LME), incorporates not only market-oriented but also strongly network statist elements. The latter would encompass the overlapping military industrial, security, and penal complexes. Although active industrial policy is generally politically taboo, it becomes entirely acceptable when phrased in security terms. Security contractors and high-technology firms servicing these complexes may be characterized by highly individualistic employment relations, but the defense procurement industry has also propped up large traditional manufacturing firms in, inter alia, the aerospace, engineering, shipbuilding, and military vehicles industries, where many firms are characterized by heavy unionization and traditional pluralist industrial relations. In other words, the consequences of state intervention in these areas for work and employment are uneven.

At a broader level, state support for the military industrial, security, and penal complexes in the United States––and to a lesser extent in the United Kingdom––highlights the extent to which state intervention may prop up large areas of economic activity in LMEs. The banking sector is another example of prodigious and ongoing state support. Not only does the high-technology sector in the United States benefit from spillover defense spending, but, as is the case with the pharmaceutical industry, it also gains through close relations with universities and regional authorities.

Unlike more traditional forms of statism, the new statism has been characterized by governments playing a less active or more arms-length role in relation to specific IR policies and practices followed by associated or client firms. At the same time, indirect or direct state financial patronage and support allow for a greater stability than normally afforded by the quotidian fluctuations of markets. Hence, state linked, supported, and directed sectors are likely to follow very different work and employment relations paradigms compared to those encountered under a strict market regime. Traditional manufacturers, which may not otherwise have survived, often prosper if they are defense contractors; such firms may be highly unionized, and management may be able to offer more secure terms and conditions of service than would otherwise be the case.

Although the IT and biotech industries are characterized by individualistic employment relations, close ties on a regional basis with the not-for-profit sector and specific state structures encourage industrial clustering; this allows for the development of a relatively privileged class of highly mobile individuals who are able to trade on sector-relevant skills and experience. Finally, the penal and military complexes, while not always providing work that is necessarily desirable, do provide jobs that would otherwise not exist in areas of high unemployment. This not only helps “solve” structural problems, but by occupying, in particular, large numbers of young men with limited formal skills, also reduces the likelihood of social protest.

The ILRReview welcomes empirical papers based on a range of methodologies, including survey research, fieldwork in the form of qualitative or quantitative case studies, and the use of archival data. Submissions should take account of salient issues, such as how direct or indirect state financing might change behavior and the impact of specific state policy agendas, financing, and ownership regimes on industrial relations practice in client or associated firms. Purely conceptual submissions are discouraged.

Particular themes papers could address include (the list is by no means extensive):

  • Work and employment relations in traditional government-related industries, such as defense manufacturing, private military contractors (PMCs), and the penal complex.
  • Work and employment relations in pharmaceuticals: the impact of ties with the state and not-for-profit sectors.
  • Work and employment relations in the IT sector: the impact of ties with the state and not-for-profit sectors.
  • Neoliberal ideologies and politics in terms of new ideas on the role of the state.
  • The global economic crisis and the changing role of the state.
  • The uneven nature of the “hollowing out” of governmental regulatory capability on firm-level practice.

To submit your paper for consideration, please visit our submissions page and follow our on-screen instructions.

Prospective contributors are urged to consult the coordinators regarding preliminary proposals or ideas for papers: Adrian Wilkinson ( and Geoffrey Wood (