Lean production, from Toyota, is said to be paradigmatic for future production organization in the auto industry. This article challenges that view. Case studies at auto plants in the U.S., Germany, and Sweden show a wide diversity of developing new work organization. Not only are there differences across countries, there are also substantial and persistent variations across firms and even individual plants. No single model of production is yet emerging from this diversity. Although there are common elements such as team and group work, just-in-time delivery, and "total quality management", the actual shape of new work organization depends on a variety of factors including industrial relations, training systems, and labor market conditions.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lowell_turner/19/