This paper aims at analyzing the structure of industrial conflict in Korea. The focus is on why labor disputes, well-contained for the most part, have exploded at specific points in time. To approach the subject systematically, theoretical perspectives are analyzed first by reviewing previous studies of strike activity. Then the characteristics of industrial conflict in Korea are discussed from the point of accident theory and societal strains. Finally, this paper gives some consideration to the future of Korean industrial relations, and discusses the theoretical implications which the forgoing analyses give rise to.