Business-Government Relations and Institutional Leadership in Singapore: The Case of the Singapore National Employers’ Federation
13 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 16, 2012
Industrial peace and rapid economic development have been central goals of the People’s Action Party (PAP) which has dominated Singapore’s government for more than 50 years. It gradually established a comprehensive tripartite corporatist system to achieve and maintain those goals. Industrial peace was also important for its strategy of attracting and retaining foreign direct investment, as was forging successful business-government relations. Until the formation of the Singapore National Employers’ Federation (SNEF) in 1980, employer representation remained fragmented. Faced with the enormous social and economic challenges it had unleashed through its second industrial revolution in 1979, the PAP required coordinated employer engagement in its principal corporatist bodies through a single authoritative employer voice. PAP’s role in fostering the SNEF’s formation demonstrated how institutional links contributed to a more effective distributed pattern of leadership in national business and labour coordination. We contend that by incorporating Asian values and institutional leadership, the Singaporean government adroitly interwove political and economic priorities with business interests in building coordinating mechanisms and successful policies to secure national success.
Keywords: Business-government Relations, Asian Values, Singapore, Corporatism, Employer Association, Institutional Leadership, Singapore National Employers’ Federation (SNEF)
JEL Classification: J5, N45, P11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation