With the expansion of global competition through international trade agreements and heightened rivalry between firms in the domestic market, it is easy to understand why a firm would seek to compete by lowering the wages paid to labor. Yet, this strategy is troubled not only by the efforts of other firms pursuing cheaper labor costs, but also by the failure to adopt better ways of organizing work. New products are copied within a short time after introduction. What is difficult to imitate is the organizing of work--as applied to the factory floor, to the corporation, and to relations among firms and other institutions. This book explores detailed case studies of individual firms, country comparisons, and historical patterns of diffusion. The authors emphasize that the speed by which a firm adopts and integrates new technologies and ways of organizing must be understood in the context of the strength of the regional and national network of firms and institutions. The chapters in the book are written by world-renowned scholars--including Giovanni Dosi, Horst Kern, Michael Schumann, and Eleanor D. Westner--and represent major schools of thought from Germany, France, the U.S., Japan, and the United Kingdom. The studies are international in nature and include in-depth analyses of software systems, automobile manufacturing (e.g. the Toyota Production System), and the machine tool industry.
This is an excellent collection of essays and a compilation which for the most part works extremely well ... useful and stimulating book ... this collection provides a combination of an excellent synthesis, new perspectives, and new empirical material on the development of work organisation. It is to be recommended to scholars and could be usefully recommended for readings on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. * Business History * `One of the major interests of this work is to concentrate on the analysis of the relationship between technological and organizational innovation, not so much to study the competitiveness of firms as that of nations.'
Analyses de la SEDEIS `The book makes a valuable contribution to the debate about shifting competitive advantage between nations ... Most of the papers have the great merit of being based on detailed research at company level in Europe, the US and Japan.'