Job Design and Technology: Taylorism vs. Anti-Taylorism

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Despite global competition and the need for speed, flexibility and quality, trends such as lean production and McDonaldization show that Taylorism remains alive and well in the contemporary workplace.
There is however a countermovement, particularly in North-West Europe, where successful alternatives are being pursued. Job Design and Technology fills an important gap, by analyzing 150 cases of anti-Taylorist initiatives in Scandinavia, the UK and the Netherlands. It aims to show that real change can be achieved in the workplace and the quality of the working experience greatly enriched by moving away from the drudgery of the assembly line.

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Editorial Reviews

Drawing upon 150 case studies from Scandinavia, the UK, the Netherlands, and Germany, Pruijt examines the roles of organizational innovators, labor legislation, research, and unions in contending with Taylorism (after management expert Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915): management strategies that disconnect work planning and implementation. Going beyond the ideological focus of much of the literature to the shop floor level, the author contends that anti-Taylorism is a viable ideal (via internal agreements and external enlightenment), albeit the fact that even successful organizations may regress to Tayloristic ways of working. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations ix
Preface x
Acknowledgments xii
1 Introduction 1
Taylorism proved to be more persistent than many had expected 2
Anti-Tayloristic initiatives can give insight into the range of options for the application of information technology and job design, and the possibilities for planned change in this area 4
Neo-Taylorism needs an alternative 8
Anti-Tayloristic initiatives 10
Data collection 11
Data analysis 12
General theory 13
Structure of the book 16
2 Inside Consensual Alternatives to Taylorism 18
Introduction 18
The drive to change: Taylorist troubles, economic and moral 19
Inherent dysfunctions 19
Changing structures 26
Changing attitudes 31
Social movement aspects 35
Summary and conclusions 39
3 Enlightenment: Showing Managers the Way 41
Introduction 41
Scientific support: the business of consultant-researchers 42
Strategies for diffusion 53
Developing anti-Tayloristic technology 55
Subsidizing firms for implementing alternative organization models 61
The political level: institutionalization of humanization policy 63
Concluding note 66
4 Consensual Alternatives: Achievements in Job Design 67
Introduction 67
Alleviation of technical discipline 67
Job enlargement 70
Job enrichment 73
Decentralization of responsibility to the shop-floor level 81
Participation 84
A note on prevention 88
Success and regression 89
Contingencies reveal vulnerability 93
Diffusion 94
Conclusions 95
5 Management Power and Efficiency as Constraints 97
Management power as an end in itself 97
The compatibility of anti-Taylorism with efficiency 103
Concluding note on constraints 115
6 Alternative Alternatives 116
A conceptual model of anti-Tayloristic policy 116
Worker mobilization as an antidote 119
Government-enforced standards for work organization: pushing humanization beyond the bounds of efficiency? 140
Conclusions 143
7 A Final Note on Anti-Taylorism 146
Appendix 149
Notes 152
Bibliography 169
Index 188
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