Lean production, worker empowerment, and job satisfaction: A qualitative analysis and critique
journal contributionposted on 2017-11-27, 11:25 authored by Matt VidalMatt Vidal
Many argue that increased employee involvement in manufacturing is central to lean production. Increasing the responsibilities and abilities of front-line workers has been labeled empowerment. Such empowerment is said to increase job satisfaction. Yet, there is surprisingly little qualitative research directly addressing the relationship between participatory work arrangements and job satisfaction, and the quantitative evidence is much less clear than oft en presented. Qualitative data presented here show that workers can be satisfied under relatively traditional Fordist arrangements and that increasing employee involvement does not necessarily increase satisfaction. My research highlights the role of individual work orientations in mediating the effects of objective characteristics of job design - such as participatory work arrangements - on job satisfaction. Further, individual preferences for work arrangements are shown not to be consistent and invariable, but context-dependent and subject to reevaluation. © 2007 Koninklijke Brill NV.
The research for this paper was made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for the Advanced Manufacturing Project (AMP) research consortium. This paper is a revision of a presentation given at the 16th Annual Meeting on Socio-Economics, George Washington University, Washington DC, USA, July 8-11, 2004.
- Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering