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Knowledge Content and Worker Participation in Environmental Management at NUMMI


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  • Sandra Rothenberg
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    This paper looks at, within the context of lean production, "how" and "in what ways" employees participate in environmental improvements. The paper uses data from an automobile plant well known for its participative work structures, New United Motor Manufacturing (NUMMI), to look more closely at the dynamics of worker participation in environmental management (i.e. management of pollution and waste). Findings show that while workers possess important contextual knowledge, the importance of process, intra-organizational and external knowledge make the role of specialist staff (both internal and external to the environmental function) critically important for environmental improvements. Additionally, environmental improvements often required a combination of more than one knowledge type. The paper discusses how the culture and management structure at NUMMI and other lean plants encourage this combination. Implications for environmental management, lean production, and future research on worker participation are discussed. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003.

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    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Management Studies.

    Volume (Year): 40 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 7 (November)
    Pages: 1783-1802

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:40:y:2003:i:7:p:1783-1802

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    Cited by:
    1. Longoni, Annachiara & Golini, Ruggero & Cagliano, Raffaella, 2014. "The role of New Forms of Work Organization in developing sustainability strategies in operations," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(PA), pages 147-160.
    2. Esther Albelda PĂ©rez & Carmen Correa Ruiz & Francisco Carrasco Fenech, 2007. "Environmental management systems as an embedding mechanism: a research note," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(3), pages 403-422, April.
    3. Golini, Ruggero & Longoni, Annachiara & Cagliano, Raffaella, 2014. "Developing sustainability in global manufacturing networks: The role of site competence on sustainability performance," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(PB), pages 448-459.


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