What Works at Work: Overview and Assessment

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS: A JOURNAL OF ECONOMY AND SOCIETY, Vol. 35, No. 3, July 1996

Posted: 25 Jun 1998

See all articles by Casey Ichniowski

Casey Ichniowski

Columbia Business School - Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Thomas A. Kochan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

David I. Levine

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group

Craig A. Olson

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - School of Labor & Employment Relations

George Strauss

University of California

Abstract

This article discusses why it is difficult to measure the effects of management practices on organizational performance. In spite of these difficulties, a collage of evidence suggests that innovative workplace practices can increase performance, primarily through the use of systems of related practices that enhance worker participation, make work design less rigid, and decentralize managerial tasks. A majority of U.S. businesses have adopted some innovative work practices. However, only a small percentage of businesses have adopted a full system of innovative practices. We outline several constraints on the diffusion of new work practices, and suggest directions for future research.

JEL Classification: J24, J53

Suggested Citation

Ichniowski, Bernard E. (Casey) and Kochan, Thomas A. and Levine, David Ian and Olson, Craig A. and Strauss, George, What Works at Work: Overview and Assessment. INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS: A JOURNAL OF ECONOMY AND SOCIETY, Vol. 35, No. 3, July 1996, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3053

Bernard E. (Casey) Ichniowski

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Thomas A. Kochan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E52-583
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-6689 (Phone)
617-253-7696 (Fax)

David Ian Levine (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-1697 (Phone)
510-643-1420 (Fax)

Craig A. Olson

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - School of Labor & Employment Relations ( email )

504 East Armory Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820-6297
United States

George Strauss

University of California ( email )

Institute of Industrial Relations
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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