Creative Work Systems in Destructive Markets
In the United States, the past twenty years have been marked by significant restructuring of both financial and physical corporate assets designed to strengthen firms' relative market position either voluntarily or in response to the threat of take-over. Firms have also restructured work systems in an effort to improve production efficiency, product quality and flexibility. While most studies find that these new workplace techniques generate substantive productivity and quality gains and financial results that are equal if not superior to those associated with more traditional work systems, in the U.S., they have proven difficult to maintain. Diffusion is slow and not extensive; and even the most promising cases have either failed or come under extreme pressure, both internal and external. Using the productive systems approach, our study examines the inter-relationship between "creative" work systems and "destructive" markets using a sample of U.S. manufacturing firms in the metalworking, jet engine production and steel processing industries.
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