During 1970s and 1980s Fordism system started being challenged by new kind of work organisation Fordism principles- fragmented work, dedicated machinery, serial, rather than parallel task, task sequencing create enormous economic off scale but have one crucial weakness namely inflexibility. During 1970-80s, the mass market which stabilised the Fordist system was breaking up. Sabel argued that this had come about because of a number of global changes, but the chief factor is the changing nature of consumer’s taste. The suggestion is that the later part of the 20th century witnessed a structural shift in the nature of market; they are fragmenting and becoming increasingly specialised. This is partly due to the success of Fordism itself. Markets have had become saturated with manufactured goods. The enormous impact on social tastes and expectations of placing motor vehicles and other products within the reach of the mass of people has meant that consumers have become much more sophisticated; they are no longer satisfied with standard products. Increasingly the demand is for customised products that incorporate quality and design features. This social, technological and market changes in the global environment of firms have left Fordism high and dry. However the thesis that Sabel initiated and which was developed more fully in Piore and Sabel (1984), opposed any deterministic outcome to the crisis. There are no laws of society or economy that automatically pick out the best kind of industrial system to succeed. Piore and Sabel hypothesised two main scenarios out of Fordism: an innovative and a reformist scenario, both of which have been considered as uncertain ties attached to them. Faced with crisis, firms could attempt to meet the demands to innovative and shift to high quality specialised products. However, this innovative strategy means abandoning the production principle of Fordism. And it is uncertain whether firms could be so adaptive, instead...
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