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Fordism and Taylorism are responsible for the early success and recent decline of the U.S. motor vehicle industry


  • Ronald Jean Degen

    () (International School of Management Paris)


This paper identifies the ways in which the ideas of Fordism and Taylorism have been responsible for the success of the U.S. motor vehicle companies until 1955, and for their subsequent decline. On three occasions, the motor vehicle industry has changed the fundamental ideas on the process of manufacturing, and, perhaps more significantly, on how humans work together to create value. Under Fordism and Taylorism, the conditions of employment at the assembly lines became less and less bearable for the workers, and this resulted in an ongoing confrontation between management and the workforce, led by United Auto Workers (UAW). This confrontation resulted in escalating labor costs for the U.S. motor vehicle companies, and undermined their capacity to compete with the Japanese motor vehicle companies, who had developed a lean production system and a more humanistic management style.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald Jean Degen, 2011. "Fordism and Taylorism are responsible for the early success and recent decline of the U.S. motor vehicle industry," Working Papers 81, globADVANTAGE, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria.
  • Handle: RePEc:pil:wpaper:81

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ronald Degen, 2009. "The confrontational management-labor negotiations that led to the failure of the United States motor vehicle companies and why the Japanese and Germans prevailed," Working Papers 51, globADVANTAGE, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ronald Jean Degen, 2013. "How career counseling, management coaching, and mentoring can assist in reducing today’s lack of ethics in business," Working Papers 105, globADVANTAGE, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria.

    More about this item


    Fordism; Taylorism; decline of the U.S. motor vehicle companies; mass production system; lean production system; reflective production system; confrontational management-labor-relations;

    JEL classification:

    • M0 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - General
    • M1 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration

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