How Has the World of Work Changed in Post-Fordism Era

Topics: Employment, Management, Manufacturing Pages: 9 (3152 words) Published: July 27, 2012
Capitalism is a political, social and economic system subject to periodic instability, change and the like which influences the business world in many ways. The Post-Fordism era in broaden sense is generic description of Capitalism period which mainly is characterised by flexible production of non-standardized, better-quality goods embracing adaptability of production processes in harmony with the unpredictable nature of markets to meet customers’ satisfaction. The changes made in notion of improving the way things were done consequently changed organizations’ systems and how people are managed inorder to materialize efficiency. Among commonly nominated factors that rationalize the shift towards Post-Fordism, the economic recession after Second World War, change of customers’ taste, globalized competition of market, diffusion of technology across countries and continuous improvement of efficiency are commonly mentioned. In order to rationalize the notion of ‘change’ in Post-Fordism era, it worth to first deal with the preceding periods particularly on characteristics that differ from Post-Fordism principles. Then changes in Post-Fordism and the implications on how people are managed are explained followed by concluding remark.

World of Work ‘before Post–Fordism’ era.
Post-Fordism is the period that follows fordism era, which is named after Henry Ford, the founder of Ford vehicle. The basic ideology of Fordism revolves around ‘mass production’ and ‘mass consumption’ industrial organization through standardization of manufacturing processes. Ford has introduced continuously moving assembly line in which each assembler performs a single, repetitive task with the aid of electric machine that reconfigures the pattern of work flow. The idea of mass production is formulated to improve the ‘craft production’ era considering the concept of ‘scientific management’ which is pioneered by Frederick W. Taylor. Following careful study of individual craft work, Taylor synthesizes workflows to improve labour productivity by developing standard method of performing each job in place of the traditional rule of thumb system. The assumption made by Taylor’s scientific management was attaining maximum output by separating the management responsibility from physical execution. Henry Ford further pronounced Taylor’s idea by standardizing each work to diminutive scale that helped mass production through functional specializations. Major reflections of Fordism era are outlined as follows; 1.Division of Labour: The responsibility of planning, design, quality control, finance, and the like is left to managerial workers and the line workers merely do specific piece of task broken down to the possible minimum level. It is the management staff that set pace of work along the moving production line. Besides, line of communication is predominantly unitarily from top-down in manner of ‘command and control’. The workers thus have little or no control over the method and pace of the work they are engaged. They are not expected to involve in any way and have little or no participation at all. 2.Organizational Structure: The vertical integration of production from raw materials to the final product necessitated huge number of activities and employees. This coupled with the division of work with central control has led bureaucratic hierarchy of management structure. In addition, the set up of codifying one best way of doing each production makes the system rigidly inflexible to make changes for innovative products.

3.Skills: Each worker assigned to specific task of the line production does not need to have any skill to perform his/her task which is broken down to the ultimate extreme. This results to deskilling the assembly line workers from the autonomy of specialist skills associated with craft works in Pre-Fordism era thereby leading to bare minimum need of on the job training.

4.Payment System: There was rigid form of wage...
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