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Organizational Knowledge in the MakingHow Firms Create, Use, and Institutionalize Knowledge$
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Gerardo Patriotta

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199275243

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199275243.001.0001

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Knowledge-In-The-Making: The ‘Construction’ of Fiat's Melfi Factory

Knowledge-In-The-Making: The ‘Construction’ of Fiat's Melfi Factory

Chapter:
(p.94) 5 Knowledge-In-The-Making: The ‘Construction’ of Fiat's Melfi Factory
Source:
Organizational Knowledge in the Making
Author(s):

Gerardo Patriotta (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199275243.003.0005

This chapter analyses the action-based processes of knowing and organizing surrounding the coming into existence of one of the most advanced car manufacturing plants in the world: Fiat's Melfi assembly plant. This new ‘green field’ factory features a lean production organization, work flow based on assembly lines and teams, advanced applications of IT to production management and control, and extensive reliance on total quality management. Beyond technical specifications, however, the most interesting feature of the plant is that it has been built with the active involvement of the workforce. Indeed, the Fiat management conceived the whole Melfi project as a learning experiment based on a greenfield strategy where the future workers would literally build the factory, including the place and the setting where they would be assembling cars. The experiment had no antecedents in Fiat's history and the whole project relied on a young and inexperienced workforce.

Keywords:   Fiat, Melfi project, Greenfield strategy, organizational learning, factory design, employee participation

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