Produktion och arbete i den tredje industriella revolutionen : Tarkett i Ronneby 1970-2000

Sammanfattning: The main research questions for this local study of Tarkett AB, a floor manufacturer, are based on the central characteristics of the third industrial revolution: globalization, technological development, and organizational change. As a background to the local development and change towards the end of the twentieth century, I have chosen to emphasize, on the one hand, the increasing need of the industry for internationalization, rationalization, and productivity development after fordism and the demise of the regulated “real wages capitalism” in the middle of the 1970s, and, on the other, the work rights offensive of the labor movement in the 1970s and its continued struggle for economic and industrial authority. The method to analyze the essential traits of the organizational change process has aimed to construe a field of organizational change whose ideal types are based on taylorism, toyotism, flexible specialization, just-in-time, and lean production. Methods used to analyze change from the perspective of social structuration are also related to the theories of dynamic contradictory class locations, local hegemony, and gender. Apart from traditional source material and interviews, the study builds on the results from a study group consisting of a number of factory workers from Tarkett. Technological change and development (IT) of the work process on the factory floor has been analyzed as technological rationalization, quality development, work environment improvement, and as issues of gender relations and class positions at the work place. As regards the management process, leadership and control, centralization and decentralization concepts are vital. In matters concerning working conditions, including salaries, working hours, and job profiles (qualifications required for employment) are central. The management process was subject to changes that entailed deviations from the principles of traditional tayloristic management philosophy. Instead a participant change strategy implemented decentralized leadership functions in the shape of management by objectives via autonomous groups according to principles of ”responsible autonomy”. The investigation shows that computer-aided centralized control functions, competence improvement, and intensified ideological control worked together to change the management process. Decentralization of responsibility, the integration of white-collar like duties, the general competence development, and the higher demands on job qualifications, combined to render workers’ class locations more contradictory. This, together with ideological control and change, contributed to consolidate local hegemony.