Fordism

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Fordism, it refers to the mass production of standardized goods using assembly line technology, involving few skills and repetitive work by employees. ‘Each company was composed of many different specialized departments, each producing components and parts that were eventually channeled towards the moving line for final assembly.’(Cohen & Kennedy 2007: 95 ) For instance, in 1900, there were 18 million horses, but only 8,000 cars in America. For local people, car just was a bulky and expensive “stupid bug”, after Henry Ford brought Fordism in manufacturing, the cars of Ford’s company had become a culture and can be seen at everywhere, such as movies and songs. This essay will describe the main characteristics and history of Fordism, then, it will introduce Taylorism, after explaining the reason for decline in Fordism and describe the nature of Post-Fordism, finally, this essay will evaluate that Taylorism and Fordism have been replaced by Post-Fordism in capitalist societies.

Fordism is named after Henry Ford (1863-1947) who is a pioneer and car maker in manufacturing factories in the United States. This term first was introduced by Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), ‘an ultra-modern form of production and of working methods such as is offered by the most advanced American variety, the industry of Henry Ford’ Before Fordism is introduced in industry, the craftsman built the Vulcan cars, and it usually took several weeks to make Vulcan cars which were sold to upper class. In 1908, Henry Ford produced the first Model T car, and brought Fordism into industry. The workers who worked for Ford benefited from Fordism: the working time from 9 hours to 8 hours; the salary from $2.5 to $5(at least). The productivity increased sharply. From that time, Fordism was accepted by workers widely.

The main characteristics of Fordism can be concluded in six points: 1. Single products are produced on a mass scale by fixed machinery in the form of assembly lines. 2. Work is broken down into as small, simple and easily learnt tasks as possible. 3. Workers are controlled closely by managers and supervisors. 4. Managers and supervisors plan, co-ordinate and control the production process. 5. The speed of work is controlled by the speed of the assembly line, which is itself controlled by management. 6. Workers lack skills, knowledge of the production process, and control over the speed of work, and are removed from decision-making at work. Due to Fordism and Taylorism which will be introduced next, The Unite States could become an industrial country.

Taylorism refer to the breaking down of work into its simplest elements, with workers given clear and simple instructions on how workers should do the works which was developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor(1856 – 1915). It also can be referred to scientific management. It can be one of the best methods because it provides a scientific approach to business management and process improvement and it is important for performance, selection and training. From Taylor, the task of factory management was to determine the best way for the worker to do the job, to provide the proper tools and training, and to provide incentives for good performance. It has two main features: 1. Work is broken down into its simplest elements, with workers given clear and simple instructions on exactly how they should do their job. 2. Managers plan and co-ordinate these different tasks done by workers, who have no control over their work, and knowledge of it is transferred to management. This scientific management principles were first applied in practice in 1908 by Henry Ford who are also well known for “Fordism”. Assembly lines are used to produce the Model-T Ford which is the first mass-produced car of the world. ‘These techniques of production and control became known as “Fordism”, and gave rise to two related issues-the way the workforce could be ‘deskilled’ by technology, and the growing alienation of the...
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