The Ambivalence of Change and Resistance

  • Robert Boyer
  • Jean-Pierre Durand


The case studies reported in the previous chapter reveal how the principles behind the emerging production paradigm are being implemented. However we have shown that while they are partially successful, social forces or socio-organisational constraints can restrict the coherence of the overarching principles. In this chapter we pursue this question further, to investigate the real structural depth of such changes (including their associated technologies), analysing some of the contradictions and constraints that seem to be integral to them.


Production System Production Worker Team Leader General Motor Work Organisation 
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Notes and References

  1. 3.
    In R. Shook, Turnaround: the New Ford Motor Company (New York: Basic Books, 1990), p. 90.Google Scholar
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    D. Linhart, Le torticolis de l’autruche (Paris: Seuil, 1991), 86–7.Google Scholar
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    Stephen Wood, ‘Le modèle japonais: postfordisme ou japonisation du fordisme?’, in J.-P. Durand (ed.), Vevs un nouveau modéle productif?, (Paris: Syros, 1993). Wood shows how the Japanese system is a systematisation of Fordism and that it perpetuates mass production: ‘Most products associated with Japan in world trade are classic mass products, like cameras, radios, televisions and cars. More than any other country Japan has created markets for mass products like video and cassette players and faxes. While just-in-time could be used to reduce the length of production runs through the acceleration of tool changes, it has not necessarily led to a reduction in lot size or a wider variety of products manufactured on the same production equipment’. See alsoGoogle Scholar
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    See the chapter ‘Travail contre technologie’ in J.-P. Durand and F. X. Merrien, Sortie de siècle. La France en mutation (Paris: Vigot, 1991). This chapter shows how information technology helps management accumulate know-how, as recommended by F. W. Taylor, for whom the engineering department specialists were expected to learn from the workers.Google Scholar
  12. 20.
    See also Andrew Mair, Honda’s Global Local Corporation (London: Macmillan, 1994) for an analysis of Honda’s mass manufacturing process at its North American operations, and the particular form of work organisation, similar to those described above, that is consistent with it. Mair also uses the label ‘flexible mass production’ to describe Honda’s system.Google Scholar
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    M. Freyssenet and J.-C. Thénard, ‘Choix d’automatisation, efficacité productive et contenu du travail’, Cahiers du GIP, Mutations Industrielles, vol. 22 (Paris, 1989).Google Scholar

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© Robert Boyer and Jean-Pierre Durand 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Boyer
  • Jean-Pierre Durand

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