[a] Post Fordism?
i) The 1980s: Flexible Specialisation and 'Disorganised Capitalism':
Piore and Sabel (1984) argue in The Second Industrial Divide[i] that new production systems must orientate towards multi-skilling and rapid re-skilling in order to accommodate the search for shifting and newly forming niche markets in a post mass production/mass consumer world. This implies economies of scope rather than economies of scale and a more creative workforce, which, by implication is less alienated and more empowered than under Fordism.
What was the ‘First’ Industrial Divide?
Lash and Urry (1987) in The End of Organised Capitalism[ii] argue that there has been a tendency for capitalism to become dis-organised in that the old institutions of collective bargaining and state-labour-employer relationships are fracturing. Pay determination, and collective bargaining become fragmented and focussed on the enterprise rather than the state or sector. The decline of mass consumption/production is inter-linked with this process.
Fordism and Post Fordism
|Fordism |Post Fordism |
|Mass production |Small scale/batch production |
|Standardised products |Customized products |
|Semi-/unskilled workers |Multi-skilled workers |
|Fixed job descriptions |Flexible work roles |
|Moving assembly lines |Robots, computerization and work teams |
|Large plants |Small-medium plants