Industrial society Essay

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Industrial society ‘The Fordist system led to both labour market and production inflexibility, which prevented organizations from competing in increasingly fluid markets’. Discuss the economic and workplace policies which were proposed under the broad title of ‘flexibilisation’, providing relevant examples. Between 1908 and 1929, Henry ford clearly established the linkages between division of labour and mass markets. His methods of mass production came under the title of ‘Fordism’. According to Meyer (1981) Fordism 1908-1913 had four basic principles; standardised product design, extensive use of new machine tool technology, flow line production and the implementation of Taylorism in relation…show more content…
Fordism however, did produce inflexibility in production. Ford’s assembly line production system did not allow for change in the design of products. To change a product, new machine parts had to be introduced, and this took a vast amount of worker skill and time. Porter in 1917 refers to a case where the Ford engineers changed the appearance of the hood and fenders of the ‘Model T’. Porter goes on to record that ‘ the first month saw production curtailed by 50% and it was nearly three months before the entire organisation could be geared up for the stipulated work’ (Porter 1917). Porter therefore points out that even simple changes in the design of a product could halt the production line for many months at a time. It would then perhaps require the replacement of tooling, and the rediscovery from managers and workers of the most productive way to produce the new improved products. Fordist production also provided large advancements in machinery. At the end of the nineteenth century most machines were still only general purpose, and relied on the skill of the operator. But with the emergence of the automotive industry new machines were developed. New design features included the machines being semiautomatic with special controls to change or reverse speeds. There was also advancement in being able to
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