Assembling Work: Remaking Factory Regimes in Japanese Multinationals in Britain

T. Elger, Chris Smith

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Japanese manufacturing firms based in Britain have often been portrayed as carriers of Japanese corporate best practice in the organisation of work and employment relations. 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 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. They also analyse the bases of both consent and dissent among the employees working in these modern workplaces. On this basis 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 that 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 caught up in wider corporate strategies. They also argue that the operations of international firms are embedded within intractable features of capitalist employment relations, especially as they are 're-made' in particular local and national settings.
This book is an important theoretical and empirical 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.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages414
ISBN (Print)0-19-924151-1
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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