1st Edition

Crossing Boundaries Work and Industrial Relations in Perspective

By Russell D. Lansbury Copyright 2021
    212 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    204 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides thoughtful insights into the development in work, organisations and employment relations in the last 50 years. In a semi-autobiographical approach, the author reflects on important contributions by other scholars, practitioners, and policy makers to work and employment relations.

    The book covers a variety of themes which have been the subject of research undertaken by the author over his career and explores these themes over a period of time with examples drawn from various countries. It also emphasises that countries and regions cannot be understood in isolation from each other. The author seeks to convey the importance of crossing disciplinary boundaries in the social sciences in order to interpret changes in work, organisations and employment relations.

    Drawing on the author’s rich experience and research, the book is engaging and accessible to anyone who wishes to learn more about the rapidly changing workplace and employment relations.

    1.Starting out (1940s and 1950s) 2. The world opens up at university 1963–1967 3. Nordic exposure (1967–1970) 4. The best of British experience (1970–1973) 5. Monash University in the Whitlam and Fraser eras (1974–1980) 6. Transition to Sydney: the Hawke/Keating era begins (1981–1986) 7. New horizons at the University of Sydney (1987–2000) 8. A broader role in academic research and leadership (2000–2009) 9. Research and travels in retirement (2010–2020) 10 Concluding observations on Work and Industrial Relations. Afterword by Thomas A. Kochan.


    Russell Lansbury is an Emeritus Professor of Work and Employment Relations at the University of Sydney Business School.

    "This book tells the story of an amazing academic career, building on talent and commitment, while at the same time revealing the significance of working together with people in order to ‘get the job done’. The really intriguing story running through this book tells about the people Russell Lansbury met and worked together with at home in Australia as well as abroad." Soren Kaj Andersen, Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Research on Work and Employment Relations, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

    "By masterly weaving in of personal anecdote with economic and political trends, Russell Lansbury identifies key events in Australia’s employment relations system in an engaging and insightful analysis.  This excellent book, by one of Australia’s most outstanding industrial relations scholars of his generation, benefits from his deep understanding not only of Australia but also of developments in other advanced and emerging market economies." ─ Janice Bellace, Samuel A. Blank Professor Emeritus of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA

    "Russell Lansbury’s approach to scholarship and life shine through the pages of this wonderful book. Generosity, curiosity, intelligence and warmth are a rare combination in a scholar and these qualities, as well as his internationalism and commitment to public service, explain the enormous impact he has had throughout his distinguished career.  As those of us who have been mentored by Prof Lansbury often say - ‘be like Russell’"─ Rae Cooper AO, Professor of Gender, Work and Employment Relations, University of Sydney

    "In Crossing Boundaries Russell Lansbury provides both a personal memoir and an intelligent, perceptive discussion of the changing world of industrial relations over the last 50 years. Few people have been so central to developments in Australia and worldwide. Over time, Russell developed a network of key academics and actors in the field and this facilitated the unique insights he shares with us here. The book is a clearly written, human account – a ‘must read’ for those working in industrial relations and related fields." ─ Dexter Dunphy AM, Emeritus Professor UNSW and University of Technology Sydney, Australia

    "Crossing Boundaries is the story of an internationally renowned scholar who crosses borders and cultures, exploring the meaning of work and indeed humanity, not only through his research but also through his exploration with people of all nationalities and walks of life. Russell Lansbury’s memoir will reignite, deep within us, the desire and hope of connecting with people for building a better future for work and life." ─ Dr Chang-Hee Lee, Country Director, International Labour Organisation, Vietnam.

    "In this fascinating book Russell Lansbury provides a wealth of insights into the changing nature of work and the challenges and opportunities society faces adjusting to those changes. Lansbury provides powerful lessons from a remarkable career that mixed path breaking academic work with an insider’s engagement with the practical world." ─ Harry C. Katz, Jack Sheinkman Professor and former Dean, Cornell University and President-elect, International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA)

    "Russell Lansbury is the supreme internationalist. In a truly distinguished career, Russell draws deep respect from scholars around the world for his impressive body of industrial relations knowledge, his facility across disciplines and for his perfect collegiality. All this, combined with warm insights to Russell’s family and personal life, make this a most engaging book." ─ John Niland AC, Emeritus Professor and former Vice-Chancellor, UNSW, Australia, and Former President, International Labour and Employment Relations Association

    "This is a must-read book for everyone interested in work and employment relations – as a field of study, and as an important part of contemporary society. It tells the fascinating story of the life, adventures and work of a world-class scholar, and a curious, generous, and kind friend and colleague. The book serves as an inspiration to undertake international and comparative research, and to engage in dialogue with social partners, governments and other stakeholders to promote a fair and just future of work." ─ Mia Rönnmar, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law at Lund University, Sweden, and President of the International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA)

    "I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir which not only provides fascinating glimpses of Russell Lansbury’s rich academic life but is also highly illuminating about the history of Australian industrial relations. I was riveted and I’m sure many others will be too." ─ Judy Wajcman, Anthony Giddens Chair of Sociology, London School of Economics, UK

    "Russell Lansbury’s intriguing memoir perceptively reminds us that the key characteristics of a good society remain much the same through time. It is the road that we must travel down to approach it that changes most. There has never been a better time to put this insight definitively at the centre stage of public debate." ─ Keith Whitfield, Professor of Human Resource Management, Cardiff University, UK

    "This scholarly memoir is of an only child, of parents of modest means in Melbourne who had limited opportunities in class-divided 1940s Australia. They influenced him to adopt a strong work ethic, to not be materialistic and to study. From there Russell Lansbury became a leading international industrial relations academic over five decades. He has shown remarkable endurance and has been a prolific publisher, focusing on books of public interest for a wide audience."-Andrew Scott, Deakin University, for Labour History 2021

    "Crossing Boundaries is a very welcome addition to what is a decidedly niche genre, industrial relations autobiography... His account also shows that most successful academic research is collective, based on research centres and conducted through research teams, and that it has become increasingly international both in the people involved and in the scope of inquiry."Edmund Heery, for BJIR 2021

    "This interest, openness, and genuine curiosity for other cultures and institutions is reflected in Russell’s work. Throughout his career, he conducted comparative studies on Sweden, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, the U.K., and Germany. He has worked with and learned from so many scholars across the world."Peter Berg, for Labor and Employment Relations Association 2020

    "Scholarly fields and disciplines are built on scholarly careers. While that may seem obvious, most of what is visible in scholarship are individual contributions – articles, books, conference presentations, data, and other artifacts. Almost invisible is the entire arc of the associated scholarly careers, particularly careers that have had defining roles in a given field. That is what makes Crossing Boundaries an important contribution to the field of industrial relations."Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, for the Industrial and Labor Relations Review 2021

    " This book is important, not least because autobiographical ventures by leading academics are all too rare. It is inevitably personal, being focused on the people, events and institutions with which Russell interacted. This, of course, means that developments beyond his sphere receive less attention. But this is a book that deserves to be read for its celebration of a life well spent crossing boundaries: between the worlds of industrial relations and human resource management, between the ‘real’ world and the academic world, and between Australia and the rest of the world." Mark Bray, for Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 2021

    " Russell Lansbury’s book is an account of the author’s intellectual journey across national and disciplinary boundaries... Lansbury’s book retraces an intellectual journey that included the Nordic countries, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Japan, and Korea. The publications that emerged were usually collaborative, and often comparative. They included comparisons of Sweden and Korea with Australia, as well as studies of Korea, Vietnam, Canada, and India, and led to edited books covering the whole of the Asia Pacific. Lansbury’s account unassumingly reveals two of his great gifts – his organisational skills and his reach beyond the academy."John Michael O’Brien, for Journal of Industrial Relations, 2021

    "This is a fascinating and wide-ranging book which overviews the interesting life and career of Emeritus Professor Russell Lansbury. It blends a memoir and reflections on developments in work and industrial relations… The book highlights a lifelong interest in learning and an incredible ability to meet and network with a variety of people. It will be interesting to watch whether there will be some movement towards a social contract in Australia in the near future." ─ Erling Rasmussen, for Labour and Industry 2021