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Assembling WorkRemaking Factory Regimes in Japanese Multinationals in Britain$
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Tony Elger and Chris Smith

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199241514

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199241514.001.0001

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Work and Employment Relations in Large Assembly Firms: ‘Good Enough’ Production Despite Problematical Employment Relations

Work and Employment Relations in Large Assembly Firms: ‘Good Enough’ Production Despite Problematical Employment Relations

Chapter:
(p.123) CHAPTER 7 Work and Employment Relations in Large Assembly Firms: ‘Good Enough’ Production Despite Problematical Employment Relations
Source:
Assembling Work
Author(s):

Tony Elger (Contributor Webpage)

Chris Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199241514.003.0007

This chapter compares two large assembly factories that implemented important elements of the Japanese production model and showed a continuing commitment to new products and investment by their parent companies. Nevertheless, day to day work within these workplaces differs markedly from idealized accounts of Japanese production methods, especially in regard to team-working and forms of worker involvement, and the evolution of employment relations reveals persistent sources of tension and uncertainty. This prompts a reappraisal of the limits of transfer and the extent of localization of production and employment practices at such subsidiaries, and analysis of what constitutes ‘good enough’ production when enterprise and sector norms of performance co-exist with intractable features of employment relations. Finally, the chapter addresses differences between the two factories in management alliances, employment relations and work organization, and relates such differences to the timing of investment, wider corporate orientations, sector recipes, and the exigencies of management-worker relations.

Keywords:   Japanese production model, large assembly factories, localization, management alliances, team-working, transfer, worker involvement

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