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Neo-Taylorism at Work : Occupational Change in the Post-Ford

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Angelica Kovac

on 19 March 2014

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Transcript of Neo-Taylorism at Work : Occupational Change in the Post-Ford

Issues in the Workplace
Taylorism
Worker Innovation
Worker Selection & Discipline
Professional/Managerial Work
Neo-Taylorism at Work : Occupational Change in the Post-Fordist Era
Angelica Kovac, Ali Almulla, Brooke Hossmann, Jordan Minchinton
* Layoffs,
* Outsourcing,
* Temporary and probationary employment
* Intense screening
* Scrutiny of their job performance.
What does being "flexible" mean ?
Fordism
Post-Fordism
Henry Ford & Mass Production
* Close supervision,
* Task segmentation,
* Automation,
* Bureaucratic constraint

*Boosting productivity
* Reducing costs
* Increasing profits
* Altered manual roles & responsibilities

* Changed professional & managerial work for the worse
The Current Argument
* Developments that have occurred in the Post-Fordist era are really a revitalization of scientific management, or more familiarly known as
Taylorism.

* Gain maximum efficiency
* Profit for both machine and worker and worker and management.
* Created methodology that broke every action, job and task into small and simple terms that could be easily taught.
Ideals of Taylorism
* Embodying old Taylorist rules and applying them in today's society is not an advancement but a deterioration

* Neo-Taylorism is born
*Targets the employment relationship
* Increased layoffs,
* Temporary outsourcing ( hiring professional consultants on a contract basis)
*Rapidly changing project based teams.
* Creates great uncertainty and anxiety in the work force.

“ Thirty-five girls were able to do the work which formerly required about one hundred and twenty is due, not only to the improvement in the work of each girl, owing to better methods, but to the weeding out of the lazy and unpromising candidates, and the substitution of more ambitious individuals” (Taylor [1903] 1947:90)

Eject all but the Speediest Workers
“ Nucor built it’s entire system on the idea that you can teach farmers how to make steel, but you can’t teach farmer work ethic to people who don’t have it in the first place. So... it located its plants in places...full of real farmers who go to bed early, rise at dawn, and get right to work without fanfare...Nucor ejected people who did not share this work ethic [and]...built its pay system around a high-pressured team-bonus mechanism...In one extreme case, workers chased a lazy teammate right out of the plant with an angled iron” (Collins 2001:50-51)

Team Based Production
Will You Conform?
* Present in Professional work as well
*Firms do share many gains using these techniques.
* The “right people” aren't necessarily the best people but the most convenient.
* Want the very best putting forth heroic effort.
Contract-Based Professional Work
Project-Based Teams
*Limited lifespans that shift membership and flatten hierarchies
* Firms mold employees to become the “right” individual
*Reinvented to sound better so they call it “self-disciplined” and “self-controlled”.
*Worker input was virtually non existant in the Fordist era

*Worker input is a major compnent of scientific management that has received attention in post-Fordism

*Taylor instructed employers to revise work-place procedures based on worker insights
*Taylor suggested the use of a wage premium to encourage workers to share their insights

*However, Taylor did not have any suggestions to employers as to how they should incorporate employee suggestions

*IN 1974, formal avenues for worker input were established in many factories
Manual Trajectory
*In Taylor’s opinion, emphasis on worker selection benefits both employers and workers

*Better experiences of work lead to heightened social contact with the other employees

*It has been argued that post-Fordism has lead to reduced organized management
Professional/Managerial Trajectory
*Research suggests that the consequences of flexibility in managerial and employee work has been very effective in increasing performance

*However, these changes also negative implications

*During the last quarter of the twentieth century, the image that emerged was increased organizational flexibility for the employee’s benefits
Productivity
* Companies that have downsized.
* Under pressure to perform well.
* Overworking to save your job.
* Intensifies professional work.
Performance Appraisal & Lack of Clear-Cut Direction
*Good appraisal
* Instructions to the employees.
* Poor leaders may keep doing that to escape the blame from their superiors but they do not earn any credibility from their subordinates.
Conflicts with Management & Distress Amongst Employees
* Clear-cut instructions in performing.
* Failure in achievement of objectives.
* Horizontal conflict.
* Harried employees.
* Burnout situation.
Consequences of Outsourcing & Job Insecurity
* Adverse consequences.
* Outsourcing and performance.
What changes are evident in related outcomes:

Performance pressure
Nature of work
Chaos
Commitment
Workplace conflict
Stress
Data, Measures, and Analytic Strategy

Approximately 800 books were examined
Coding system
Autonomy
Meaningfulness of work
Commitment to organizational goals
Summary & Conclusion
* Taylorist ideology thinks of workers as disposable
* Flexible workplace characterized as less committed and more conflicted
* This is true for both manual and professional/managerial work
Questions
1.) How do you think the way manufacturers are using worker selection and discipline effects our workforce today?
2.) In what way does job performance suffer from the lack of employee input?
3.) Do you think outsourcing is good or bad for the economy as a whole?
4.) How do you feel about scientific management
The Current Study
Has there been an increase in worker selection / discipline?
Full transcript