Teams and Control on the Job: Insights from the Australian Metal and Engineering Best Practice Case Studies
21 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2003
This paper analyses material from 19 case studies of best practice in the Australian metal and engineering sector to assess how teams affected workplace control structures in the first half of the 1990s. It argues that teams in these workplaces had only limited impact in democratising work and instead ended up weakening workplace union representation. These outcomes arose primarily from the context in which teams were introduced, especially chronic understaffing arising from workforce reductions and reduced layers of management. The team initiatives of this period are best understood as being one of the major workplace legacies of local productivity coalitions lead by management but supported by unions which legitimised the introduction of new management philosophies such as total quality management and lean production.
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