Sociology Index

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FORDISM

Fordism refers to the system of mass production pioneered by Henry Ford to meet the needs of a mass market. The Fordist mode of production and consumption emerged in America when Henry Ford established mass production techniques in his automobile factories. Named after Henry Ford, the term Fordism is used in theories about production, consumption, and connected areas. Fordism is about the manufacturing system designed to mass produce low-cost goods and give its workers decent wages to buy them. Fordism is also about the mass production of standardized products using machinery and unskilled labor. Fordism was a method used to improve productivity in the automotive industry. Fordism could be applied to any kind of manufacturing process. Post-Fordism is an influential account of workplace change and it has been highly debated. The new production methods which emerged in the early twentieth century were theorised in 1911 by F. W. Taylor. The concepts of Fordism and post-Fordism have been applied to describe institutional arrangements from the state to education to culture, art, and the media.

Principles of Fordism

The standardization of the product and the employment of assembly lines. 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.

Fordism And Post-Fordism

Fordism refers to economic and social systems based on mass production and mass consumption. The dominant system of production, consumption, and related socio-economic phenomena in industrialized countries since the late 20th century is called Post-Fordism. It is contrasted with Fordism in which workers work on a production line, performing tasks repetitively, and organized in way in which Taylorism can be seen. Post-Fordism is characterized by Small-batch production, Economies of scope, Information Technology, Service and the white-collar workers, and Feminisation of the work force. 

Ford versus 'Fordism': The Beginning of Mass Production? - Karel Williams, Colin Haslam, John Williams
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. Highland Park was not an inflexible factory which combined dedicated equipment, Taylorised semi-skilled workers and a standardised product. More positively, 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 used productive intervention to realise manufacturing flow through proto-Japanese manufacturing techniques which involved a commitment to continuous improvement.

Post-Fordism: Historical Break or Utopian Fantasy? 
Diane Fieldes, University of New South Wales, Tom Bramble, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 34, No. 4, 562-579 (1992). Writers, operating within a paradigm of post-Fordism, contend that traditional Western manufacturing methods, based on mass production and Taylorism, are being replaced by strategies premised on niche markets. These claims are challenged in this article because of the determinism framework that informs them.

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 Western societies describes 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 theory of narratives of moral change.

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 - Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 36, No. 2, 231-257 (1994).
Post-Fordism is an influential account of workplace change. Post-Fordism about the image of workplace change that could confuse the deliberations of those vitally affected by the latter. We argue that post-Fordism. in particular the work of Mathews, fails to distinguish favourable from unfavourable forms of work organization. We attempt to take the debate towards a sociology of knowledge of post-Fordism.

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, (2003). Post-Fordist accounts implicitly or explicitly suggest that one of the central dynamics of advanced capitalism, its tendency towards the centralization and concentration of capital is being corrected or reversed.

Fordism on a World Scale: International Dimensions of Regulation - David F. Ruccio, Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame. 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. Japan also began to play an important role in the wider Post-Fordist debates about transformations in production regimes and even societies in general. Japanese model does exposes problems of certain concepts of Fordism, the blanket association of Fordist mass production with inflexibility. The Japanese model rests on the fundamental bedrock of Fordism work study. It is common to incorrectly identify Fordism with rigidity. We should 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).

Globalization, Post-Fordism and the Contemporary Context of Development, Ray Kiely, University of East London, International Sociology, Vol. 13.
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.