Reconstructing Industrial Relations in Taiwan’s High-Tech Industries

Chien-Ju Lin of Binghamton University looks at Taiwan’s industrial relations since the democratic transition in 1987. Lin points out that the upturn in workers’ struggles managed to skip the Hsinchu Science Industrial Park. There the high-tech firms established and maintained non-unionised workplaces.

Lin explains this by examining the role of employers and management strategies and discerns that management strategies have two aspects. First, high-tech industrial managers took advantage of “Taiwan-style” employee profit sharing and stock ownership to strengthen firms’ top tier of strategic decision-making with the support of the state’s support. Second, while human resource management strategies will often differ from country to country, Taiwan’s management strategies drew from the experiences of Silicon Valley. Rather than fragmenting workers into teams and ethnic networks as in Silicon Valley, Taiwan’s managers established individual labour and management relations to avoid collective labour conflict.

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