Collective Bargaining as Industrial Democracy: Hugh Clegg and the Political Foundations of British Industrial Relations Pluralism



Hugh Clegg and Allan Flanders are generally recognized as the founding fathers of postwar British academic Industrial Relations (IR). While Flanders is regarded as the chief ‘theorist’ of pluralism, Clegg’s own contribution is seen mainly in terms of his empirical research and public policy work: as the author of numerous detailed studies and the field’s major textbook, the first Director of the Industrial Relations Research Unit at the University of Warwick, a member of the Donovan Commission and many other enquiries. Indeed, Trade Unionism under Collective Bargaining (1976) is often regarded as Clegg’s one and only foray into IR theory. This paper explores Clegg’s largely forgotten early writing on industrial democracy to argue that he made a critical, independent theoretical contribution to the British IR paradigm.