Sociology Index


Fordism refers to the system of mass production pioneered by Henry Ford to meet the needs of a mass market. Henry Ford pioneered assembly line manufacturing.

Ford versus `Fordism': The Beginning of Mass Production? 
This article questions the stereotypes of Fordism and mass production. It does so by demonstrating that there is a contradiction between the stereotypes and the reality of Henry Ford's manufacturing practice in production of the Model T at the Highland Park factory between 1909 and 1919. The article quantifies Ford's heroic achievement in taking two-thirds of the labour hours out of the product at the same time as he built more of each car.

Ford realised manufacturing flow through proto-Japanese manufacturing techniques which involved a commitment to continuous improvement. - Karel Williams, University of Wales, John Williams, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Colin Haslam, East London Polytechnic - Work, Employment & Society, Vol. 6, No. 4, 517-555.

Everybody’s Life is Like a Spiral: Narrating Post-Fordism in the Lifestyle Movement of the 1970s Sam Binkley, Emerson College, Cultural Studies, Critical Methodologies, Vol4, No1, (2004)
What has been variously termed the post-Fordist turn in the social and economic organization of Western societies describes (among other things) the demise of a middle class professional culture and the emergence of a new lifestyle morality of expressive self realization. This study examines the role played by selection of lifestyle innovators in this process: through an interpretive study of narratives of moral change, the shift from the old professional morality to the new lifestyle morality is interpreted as a story of learned relaxation and impulsive release. An overview of theories of the post-Fordist turn.

Post-Fordism and Workplace Change: Towards a Critical Research Agenda 
Ian Hampson, School of Industrial Relations and Organisational Behaviour, at the University of New South Wales, Peter Ewer, Meg Smith, Labour Market Altematives - Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 36, No. 2, 231-257 (1994)
Post-Fordism is an influential account of workplace change. Post-Fordism propagates an image of workplace change that could confuse the deliberations of those vitally affected by the latter. This article identifies three incompatible positions on the nature of post-Fordist work organization within the work of Mathews. We argue that post-Fordism. in particular the work of Mathews, fails to distinguish favourable from unfavourable (for workers) forms of work organization, misreads developments in management strategy, and neglects the gender dimension of workplace change. Accordingly we counterpose a critical research agenda to that suggested by Mathews. We attempt, hesitantly, to take the debate towards a sociology of knowledge of post-Fordism, by pointing to some of the political interests post-Fordism serves.

Post-Fordism: Historical Break or Utopian Fantasy? 
Diane Fieldes, School of Industrial Relations and Organisational Behaviour, University of New South Wales, Tom Bramble, School of Economics and Commerce, La Trobe University, Bundoora,
Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 34, No. 4, 562-579 (1992)
A range of writers, operating within a paradigm of post-Fordism, contend that traditional Western manufacturing methods, based on mass markets, mass production and Taylorism, are being replaced by strategies premised on niche markets, small-batch production and the upgrading of workforce skills and autonomy. In Australia it has been argued, chiefly by Mathews, that such changes have important implications for the labour movement. In particular, the new circumstances require a move from a confrontationist to a consensual approach to industrial relations by the trade unions. These claims are challenged in this article, both because of the determinist framework that informs them and because of their inability to explain the complexity of the changes that are taking place in the areas they address. The implication that a post-Fordist strategy will reinforce the strength and integrity of the trade union movement is also questioned in the light of the later experience of the Accord.

Fordism on a World Scale: International Dimensions of Regulation - David F. Ruccio, Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Review of Radical Political Economics, Vol. 21, No. 4, 33-53 (1989)
The method of analysis of the French Regulation School, especially the work of Lipietz, is presented and critically discussed as a potential contribution to a much-needed Marnan class analysis of contemporary capitalism.

The Japanization of Fordism - Stephen Wood, London School of Economics 
Economic and Industrial Democracy, Vol. 14, No. 4, 535-555 (1993)
Japan, or more specifically its management methods, has increasingly entered debates about work organization in the 1980s. In so doing it also began to play an important role in the wider Post-Fordist debates about transformations in production regimes and even societies in general. At one extreme Post-Fordists see the Japanese management model as prototypical of the new flexible era they are heralding. At the other extreme Williams et al. have begun to see the Japanese experience as providing significant fuel to their more general questioning of the whole Fordist conceptual edifice which underlies Post-Fordist theses. This paper suggests that the Japanese model does expose problems of certain concepts of Fordism, particularly the blanket association of Fordist mass production with inflexibility. At the labour process level, the Japanese model rests on the fundamental bedrock of Fordism work study, assembly lines, and mass production and marketing. It nevertheless reverses certain features of Fordism particularly by involving workers more in conception than did conventional Taylorism. As such it represents an evolution within Fordism rather than transformation of it, i.e. neo- Fordism not Post-Fordism. It is common to incorrectly identify Fordism with rigidity. We should settle for a fairly exclusive definition of Fordism, see the issue as one of developing new concepts of it, and above all else not expect Fordism to carry a bigger theoretical burden than it can.

From Fordism to?: New Technology, Labour Markets and Unions - Rianne Mahon 
School of Public Administration, Carleton University - Economic and Industrial Democracy, Vol. 8, No. 1, 5-60 (1987)
In the burgeoning literature, both popular and academic, on the 'newa technology', there is a general consensus that we are on the verge of sweeping changes in the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.

Globalization, Post-Fordism and the Contemporary Context of Development, Ray Kiely, University of East London, International Sociology, Vol. 13, No. 1, 95-115 (1998)
This article examines the claims that we are living in a new, global, post-Fordist era. The claims of both globalization and post-Fordism are examined, as well as some of the implications for development.

Post-Fordism, Monopoly Capitalism, and Hollywood's Media Industrial Complex 
Michael Wayne, Brunel University, England michael, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1, 82-103 (2003)
This article seeks a dialectical critique of and synthesis between two conflicting paradigms. In exploring the changing structures and global markets of Hollywood's media industrial complex, it draws on, but also critiques, post-Fordist accounts of corporate change and market competition. It identifies the new dominance of the multi-divisional corporate structure and its combination with subsidiary and subcontractor modes of inter-corporate relations together with a new emphasis on branding to tap into segmented global markets. The second paradigm, the political economy of the media approach, has failed, to its detriment, to draw on or to engage theoretically with post-Fordist discussions. This is largely because post-Fordist accounts implicitly or explicitly suggest that one of the central dynamics of advanced capitalism - namely, its tendency towards the centralization and concentration of capital (the Three Cs Thesis) - is being corrected or reversed.