It and the Changing Social Division of Labor

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IT and the Changing Social Division of Labor: The Case of Electronics Contract Manufacturing[1]GLOBAL PRODUCTION AND THE INTERNATIONAL DIVISION OF LABOR IN THE AGE OF THE INTERNET Boy Lüthje Institute of Social Research University of Frankfurt Senckenberganlage 26 D-60325 Frankfurt/M Germany Telephone: 069/756183-30, -43 Fax: 069/747709 E-Mail: Draft paper for conference Transforming Enterprise Department of Commerce Auditorium Washington, D.C., January 27-28, 2003 Draft! Comments and suggestions welcome, but please do not quote! The impact of information technology on business, economy and society cannot be examined without an analysis of the profound changes in the productive…show more content…
From the standpoint of the labor process, these functions can be grouped around the design and assembly of printed circuit boards and related components, the final assembly of systems (called box-build) and logistics and inventory-related work (Lüthje, Schumm and Sproll 2002). Contract manufacturers are serving a growing range of product markets from Personal Computers and servers, over Internet routers and switching gear, to communications equipment (especially mobile phones), consumer products such as computer game or television sets, industrial and automotive electronics, as well as space and aircraft electronics. The wide range of manufacturing services and products that contract manufacturers provide distinguishes them from traditional subcontractors, or “board stuffers”, in the electronics industries. Whereas such firms perform labor-intensive assembly processes strictly controlled by the brand-name owner (also called OEM), CM-companies develop and manage complex production processes, often cross-national in scope (Sturgeon 1997 and 1999). Contract manufacturing is also different from more sophisticated sub-supply arrangements in the IT-industry, particularly from Original Design Manufacturing (ODM). As opposed to contract manufacturing, ODM-companies own the
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