SMLR Conference Addresses The World Economy

The evolution of the global economy has entered a new phase. As national boundaries have become more permeable and businesses’ local moorings loosened, increasingly transnational competition has challenged labor market institutions, triggered political realignments, and shifted firm-level tasks worldwide. Given that China has been at the center of markets’ global integration, it provides an important entry point to a debate on transregional trends.

In an effort to advance strategic partnerships and tackle issues related to the worldwide governance of labor, Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations held a Global Transformation of Work Conference on March 16-18, 2016.

“More than 70 leading scholars and experts from across the globe travelled to Rutgers for this conference,” said SMLR Professor Mingwei Liu, who helped to organize the event with Professor Tobias Schulze-Cleven. “This is just the beginning of efforts that aim to build our new center into a global hub for work and employment studies.”

The SMLR conference began with a panel discussion at Rutgers Business School-Newark, which brought together scholars to gain insight from business experts’ discussions about global strategies for Chinese multinationals in U.S. business environments.

SMLR Dean James Hayton joined Rutgers Business School Dean Lei Lei to lead the opening panel discussion. Rutgers Business School Professor Chao Chen chaired the panel, which featured Lawrence Yu, head of Lonovo Global Engagement Marketing; Howard Finkel, executive vice president for COSCO Container Lines Americas, Inc.; Alex Yong Hao, J.D., a resident partner at Jun He; Mary Watson, Ph.D., Executive Dean of the New School for Public Engagement; Leigh Anne Liu, Ph.D., Georgia State University professor; and Ji Li, Ph.D. and J.D., Rutgers law professor. 

“It’s important to think globally but act locally,” said Howard Finkel, who advised companies to leverage their local talent to ease business operations. 

Following the kick-off day, the scholars attended SMLR’s Janice H. Levin Building for a series of discussions on collective action in the new global economy and to examine stakeholder choices within the context of multinational corporations (MNCs). Dr. Harry Katz from the Cornell ILR School and Dr. Anne S. Tsui from the University of Notre Dame gave plenary addresses focused on the importance of workplace relationships and employee well-being in the presence of income inequality. In addition, several SMLR Professors chaired panels, including Drs. David Bensman, Janice Fine, Rebecca Givan, Charles Heckscher, Susan Jackson, and Randall Schuler.

“We need to narrow the persistent research-practice gap and apply a multidisciplinary approach to problems in order to form engaged scholarship,” said Dr. Anne Tsui. “We need to pay more attention to the world around us.” 

The Global Transformation of Work conference was generously supported by:
Toby Conference Photo. Rutgers, School of Management and Labor Relations, LHR, School of Labor and Human Resources, Fritz Thyssen Stiftung.