Multiskilling, Technical Change and the Japanese Firm
Worker cooperation with technical change accounts for much of the success of large Japanese firms. The authors argue t hat this cooperative attitude is due in large part to multiskilling. By training workers in more than one job, a firm assures its workers th at they will not be made worse-off by labor-saving innovations. In a simple model, the authors show that multiskilling leads to an endoge nous distinction between "permanent" and "temporary" workers, wages that are attached to the worker rather than the job, and comparative advantage in process style innovations. There is even a role for the company song. Copyright 1993 by Royal Economic Society.
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