Privatization, Markets and Industrial Relations in China



Within a context of gradual privatization and rapid marketization in China, this paper draws on detailed research of the perceived impact these have had on the work, status and attitudes of different industrial relations ‘actors’ within seven enterprises in Guangdong and Shanghai in 1998–9. It will be shown that the main pressure for tightening control over the workplace has come from the development of markets and that privatization has had important but limited catalytic effect in this process. Considerable internal and external constraints restrict the impact of privatization, which stem from China’s continued ambivalence towards capitalist market relations.