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Creative Work Systems in Destructive Markets

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  • Sue Konzelmann
  • Robert Forrant

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sue Konzelmann & Robert Forrant, 2000. "Creative Work Systems in Destructive Markets," Working Papers wp187, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp187
    Note: PRO-1
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    File URL: https://www.cbr.cam.ac.uk/fileadmin/user_upload/centre-for-business-research/downloads/working-papers/wp187.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2001. "How To Compete: The Impact Of Workplace Practices And Information Technology On Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 434-445, August.
    2. Beth Almeida, 1997. "Are Good Jobs Flying Away?: U.S. Aircraft Engine Manufacturing and Sustainable Prosperity," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_206, Levy Economics Institute.
    3. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Corporate Governance: Some Theory and Implications," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 678-689, May.
    4. Wilkinson, Frank, 1983. "Productive Systems," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(3-4), pages 413-429, September.
    5. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
    6. Jones,Bryn, 1997. "Forcing the Factory of the Future," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521572064, May.
    7. Kochan, Thomas A., 1996. "What works at work : overview and assessment," Working papers 3886-96., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    8. Peter B. Doeringer & Christine Evans-Klock & David G. Terkla, 1998. "Hybrids or Hodgepodges? Workplace Practices of Japanese and Domestic Startups in the United States," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(2), pages 171-186, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. S. Deakin & R. Hobbs & S. Konzelmann & F. Wilkinson, 2001. "Partnership, Ownership and Control: The Impact of Corporate Governance on Employment Relations," Working Papers wp200, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    2. Suzanne Konzelmann & Frank Wilkinson & Maria Hudson, 2002. "Partnership in Practice," Working Papers wp239, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    globalisation; corporate restructuring; production flexibility; shop-floor participation; steel processing; metalworking; jet engine production;

    JEL classification:

    • D29 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Other
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J58 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Public Policy
    • L61 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Metals and Metal Products; Cement; Glass; Ceramics

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