IWER Seminar Series
Each Tuesday, IWER hosts one of the longest-running seminar series at MIT. It brings together faculty and students from across the Institute and the wider community to discuss research in progress on contemporary work and employment issues. View the SPRING 2016 schedule.
IWER Labor Day Commentary
As we celebrate Labor Day, Click Here to read our commentary on important issues such as how to best update our policies, institutions, and workplace practices to fit the needs of modern working families, employers, and a global, knowledge-driven economy.
The interdisciplinary IWER doctoral program
Devoted to issues related to work, labor, and employment relations, as well as human resource management, labor market issues, and related public policies. Learn more.
Work, the workforce, and the economy are interdependent and rapidly changing. But the institutions and policies governing work still map to the industrial economy of the past. At the Institute for Work and Employment Research (IWER), faculty from MIT Sloan and other departments across the Institute are educating a new generation of researchers to reinvent the ways we work. The mission: address the needs and realities of 21st-century workers and the organizations that employ them.
IWER is a highly collaborative hub for the study of work and employment. The PhD program and weekly seminars attract researchers from around the world who want to learn about—and contribute to—the evolution of processes, policies, and procedures at the frontier of work.
Professor Charles A. Myers
Charles Myers – known to all as Charlie – was an expert in industrial relations. He held joint appointments in both the MIT Department of Economics and the Sloan School of Management, and at the time of his retirement in 1978, he held the Sloan Fellows Professor of Management chair.
Myers was born in State College, PA in 1913, received a Bachelor of Arts from Pennsylvania State College in 1934 and a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1939. He joined MIT as instructor in economics and social science in 1939, was appointed assistant professor of industrial relations in 1941, associate professor in 1946, and full professor in 1949. He became director of the Industrial Relations Section in 1948 and held a joint appointment in economics and management beginning in 1964.
Professor Myers was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a charter member of the National Academy of Arbitrators, and president of the Industrial Relations Research Association in 1962.
In addition to his roles as professor, author, and labor arbitrator, Myers served in advisory roles on national task forces and councils. During World War II he was a special consultant to the Labor Division of the War Production Board, solving problems associated with converting consumer goods industries to war production. In 1943 he was associated with the Civilian Personnel Division of the War Department and the following year he served as a public panel member of the War Labor Board in Boston. Later he was a member of a federal advisory council on employment security (1957-1959), served on the Presidential Railroad Commission from 1960-1962, and on a national task force to review the US Employment Service (1956). In 1969 he was appointed chairman of the National Manpower Policy Task Force.
Professor Myers was the author or a co-author of numerous books on labor economics and labor relations, including Personnel Administration (1947), a book he co-authored with Paul Pigors that became one of the leading texts on the subject that contextualizes the process of developing and managing human assets in organizations. During his early days at MIT, Myers was actively involved in two major labor market studies undertaken by scholars in the MIT Industrial Relations Section, The Movement of Factory Workers (1943) and The Dynamics of a Labor Market (1951), that identified the movement of factory workers in a New England city (1937-1942) as well as the movement of textile mill workers in a major downsizing (1948-1949). By following the workers who were laid off or left voluntarily, these studies sought to understand the experiences of these workers, their employers and unions as they responded to the rigidity of wages during changing economic conditions.
Myers was also a member of the Inter-University Study of Labor Problems in Economic Development with other leading industrial relations scholars, Clark Kerr, John Dunlop, and Frederick Harbison, that led to the publication of Industrialism and Industrial Man (1960) and their subsequent Final Report (1975). In these works, they take a comparative perspective to understand variations in industrial relations worldwide and to examine the structure of management and the managed in the context of industrialism. Myers and Harbinson subsequently co-authored two books that similarly take an international perspective, Management in the Industrial World (1959) and Education, Manpower, and Economic Growth (1964), where they attempt to formulate a generalized, global concept of management of industrial organization and human resource development. His international work also led to books that examined labor-management systems in specific countries, including Industrial Relations in India (1970) with Subbiah Kannappan and Industrial Relations in Sweden (1951).
Professor Myers died on April 2, 2000, at the age of 87.
This is a project to encourage ourselves, and you, to speak up about your job, your career, and your life… Listen to what young workers today are saying. Agree. Disagree. Comment. Let’s have an open and honest conversation about this, and maybe together we can bring American values of fairness, respect and opportunity to bear in shaping the future of work.
Join us. Speak Up For Work.
Speak Up for Work is an initiative to encourage people to speak up about work—so individually and together we can bring American values of fairness, respect, and human decency to bear in shaping the future of work for the next generation.