Industrial society

1275 Words6 Pages
Industrial society

‘The Fordist system led to both labour market and production

inflexibility, which prevented organizations from competing in

increasingly fluid markets’. Discuss the economic and workplace

policies which were proposed under the broad title of

‘flexibilisation’, providing relevant examples.

Between 1908 and 1929, Henry ford clearly established the linkages

between division of labour and mass markets. His methods of mass

production came under the title of ‘Fordism’. According to Meyer

(1981) Fordism 1908-1913 had four basic principles; standardised

product design, extensive use of new machine tool technology, flow

line production and the implementation of Taylorism in relation to

work processes. Taylorism involved a general principle of the maximum

decomposition of work tasks, the divorce of direct and so called

indirect labour, by which meant setting up, preparation and

maintenance tasks on machinery and the minimisation of the skill

requirements of any task leading to the minimum job-learning times

(Litter 1985). Taylorism therefore in its purest form involves

deskilling. This is then reflected in the main policies of Fordism,

the idea of taking skill away from the worker and transferring it to

the use of machinery. Fordism also contained some fundamental economic

policies. The central element of Fordist economic policy according to

Bagguley is mass production articulated to mass consumption. He

claimed that large volumes of the same product are produced using

specialised machinery dedicated to the one product (Keat &

Abercrombie, 1991). Fordist economic policy was therefore geared

around mass production; t...

... middle of paper ...

... outputs without attempting to advance their product because in the

long run it would seem to be far too costly, due to the time it would

take to raise production back up to its highest level of output.


Ford, H, (1922) ‘My Life and Work’, Doubleday Page

Grint, K, (1991) ‘The sociology of Work’, Blackwell

Keat, R & Abercrombie, N, (1991) ‘Enterprise Culture’, Routledge

Litter, C R, (1985) ‘Taylorism, Fordism and Job design’ D Knights et


Meyer, S, (1981) ‘The Five Dollar Day: Labour Management and social

control in the

Ford Motor Company’, 1908-21, State University of New York Press.

Porter, H F, (1917) ‘Four Big Lessons from Fords Factories’, System 31


Womack, James P, Daniel T Jones, & Daniel Roos, (1990) ‘The Machine

that Changed the World’, New York: Rawson Associates.
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