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Assembling Work

Remaking Factory Regimes in Japanese Multinationals in Britain



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Assembling Work by Tony Elger
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Japanese manufacturing firms established in Britain have often been portrayed as carriers of Japanese corporate best practice for work and employment. In this book, the authors challenge these views through case study research, undertaken at several Japanese manufacturing plants in Britain during the 1990s. The authors argue that in actual fact production and employment regimes are adapted and 're-made' in a number of ways, responding to specific corporate and local contexts. In particular, they focus upon the ways in which Japanese and British managers have sought to construct distinctive work regimes in the light of their particular branch plant mandates and competencies, the evolving character of management-worker relations within factories and the varied product and labour market conditions they face. The book highlights the constraints as well as the opportunities facing managers of these greenfield workplaces, and the uncertainties that continued to characterize the development of management strategies. Ultimately the authors show how arguments about the role of overseas branch plants in the dissemination of management practices must take more careful account of the varied ways in which such factories are implicated in wider corporate strategies. The operations of international firms are embedded within intractable features of capitalist employment relations, especially as they are 're-made' in specific local and national settings. This book is an important intervention in contemporary debate about international firms and globalization, and will be of interest to teachers, researchers, and advanced students of this subject from disciplines including Business Studies, Organization Studies, Industrial Relations, Sociology, Political Economy, and Economic and Social Geography.

Author Biography

Tony Elger has taught Sociology at the Universities of Aberdeen, Birmingham and Warwick. His main research interests are in the Sociology of Work and Employment and Comparative Labour Studies. He is currently the Director of the Centre for Comparative Labour Studies. Chris Smith has taught Industrial Sociology, Industrial Relations and Organization Studies at the University of Aston, and held visiting positions in the Universities of Hong Kong, Sydney, Wolong and Griffith. His main research interests are in the Sociology of Professions, Labour Process Theory, Comparative Work Organization, and Human Resource Management. He is currently Research Director in the School of Management and Director in two research Centres: Health Experts in Call Centres; and Centre for Workplace Research in Asia Pacific Societies.
Release date NZ
April 7th, 2005
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
10 tables, 1 figure
Oxford University Press
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