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regulation theory


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Suggests that capitalism is characterized by a regime of accumulation guided by an associated mode of regulation. The regime of accumulation is the ability to extract surplus value, whilst the mode of regulation is the mechanism through which control is exerted (particularly class relations, institutional arrangements between firms, and management-employee/capital-labour relations at work). Regulation theorists argue that historically capitalism has survived through adjusting to exploit new circumstances. They argue that the nineteenth-century accumulation regime was based on small firms/artisans with ‘extensive’ growth productivity and unregulated competition between firms/traders. The early/mid-twentieth-century accumulation regime was Fordism, with ‘intensive’ growth through fixed capital (e.g. technical advances) under the regulation of monopoly capital. The late twentieth-/early twenty-first-century accumulation regime is neo-Fordism, with growth through new management techniques (such as flexibility, quality (see Total Quality Management), teamworking, and just-in-time) under the regulation of multinational capital and globalization. Regulation theory was pioneered by French economists, in particular Michel Aglietta, Alain Lipetz, and Robert Boyer.

Subjects: Human Resource Management.


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