Teams and Control on the Job: Insights from the Australian Metal and Engineering Best Practice Case Studies

21 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2003

See all articles by John Buchanan

John Buchanan

University of Sydney - ACIRRT

Richard Hall

University of Sydney

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Buchanan, John and Hall, Richard, Teams and Control on the Job: Insights from the Australian Metal and Engineering Best Practice Case Studies. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=347153

John Buchanan (Contact Author)

University of Sydney - ACIRRT ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney NSW 2006
Australia

Richard Hall

University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney NSW 2006
Australia

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