With the expansion of global competition through international trade agreements and heightened rivalry between firms in the domestic market, it is easy to understand why a firm would seek to compete by lowering the wages paid to labor. Yet, this strategy is troubled not only by the efforts of other firms pursuing cheaper labor costs, but also by the failure to adopt better ways of organizing work. New products are copied within a short time after introduction. What is difficult to imitate is the organizing of work—as applied to the factory floor, to the corporation, and to relations among firms and other institutions. This book explores detailed case studies of individual firms, country comparisons, and historical patterns of diffusion. The authors emphasize that the speed by which a firm adopts and integrates new technologies and ways of organizing must be understood in the context of the strength of the regional and national network of firms and institutions. The chapters in the book are written by world-renowned scholars—including Giovanni Dosi, Horst Kern, Michael Schumann, and Eleanor D. Westner—and represent major schools of thought from Germany, France, the U.S., Japan, and the United Kingdom. The studies are international in nature and include in-depth analyses of software systems, automobile manufacturing (e.g., the Toyota Production System), and the machine tool industry.
Oxford University Press, 1993.