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Leading industrial relations scholar granted honorary doctorate

05 May 2014

Professor Thomas Kochan

The University of Sydney has granted an honorary doctorate to Professor Thomas Kochan who has been described as one of the world's most eminent scholars in the field of industrial relations.

Professor Kochan is the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management.

"This is one of the best days of my life," Professor Kochan said following his graduation ceremony. "Receiving an honorary degree at the University of Sydney with friends that I have worked with and respect enormously has enriched my life." 

Professor Kochan has been a regular visitor to the University of Sydney's Business School and has assisted many Australian students through an exchange program with MIT.

"This honour recognizes Tom's enormous contribution in the field of industrial relations and the connection between MIT and the University of Sydney Business School," said Professor Marian Baird. "There have been long standing research links between our institutions and this is a symbolic and genuine recognition of those connections."

Professor Kochan has published more than 30 books and monographs and over 100 scholarly papers in leading international academic journals. His co-authored book, The Transformation of American Industrial Relations, first published in 1988, is said to be a "classic" in its field.

Professor Kochan was as a member of President Obama's Administration's Transition Team and chaired a review of the US Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. He was previously a member of President Bill Clinton's Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations.

"He is the most important policy thinker in the world today in terms of our need to get a better relationship between employees and their bosses and government," concluded Emeritus Professor Russell Lansbury.

Following his graduation, Professor Kochan was asked to comment on Australia's industrial relations environment.

"Industrial relations is in trouble all over the world," he replied. "There are not enough good jobs going around for graduates and we all have a responsibility to make sure that the next generation also has an opportunity to succeed."