Lean Production In The German Automobile Industry Case Study

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In “Lean Production in the German Automobile Industry: A Test Case for Convergence Theory”, Wolfgang Streeck seeks to analyze the degree to which the global economy drives national industries to pursue similar strategies through the case study of lean production in the German and Japanese auto industries. He accomplishes this by first defining lean production (LP) and discussing the issue of transferability before proceeding to discuss the actual auto industries themselves. While the chapter does not definitively say whether or not German companies will utilize the lean production system, it argues that doing so is unlikely as various barriers prevent complete implementation. Lean production “is highly flexible, high-quality production on a large scale.” This flexibility and quality originate from the continuous improvement that LP stresses which allows for easy replacement of products that become outdated or otherwise…show more content…
While employees in both countries typically benefit from long-term employment, they differ in the basis for this. As German workers have certified skills recognized by all companies industry-wide, companies must have some incentive for workers to remain with them rather than departing to another. To accomplish this, collective bargaining between industrial unions and employers’ associations works to remove any wage incentives between companies, though this forces firms to accept outside intervention in their operations. In Japan, collusion among employers prevents employees from transitioning to another company without having to return to an entry-level position, a powerful deterrent given that pay and advancement within the company relies heavily on seniority. Therefore, long-term employment in Germany depends on the decision of workers to remain at their company while in Japan it depends on employers choosing to not fire their

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