Based upon the theory of “Flexible Specialization” this article reconsiders some central assumptions of the historiography of industrialization (e.g. centralization of work, de-skilling of workers). Furthermore, the example of the engineering workshop within the big iron and steel company JHH broadens the theory in two respects: Firstly, it questions the focus of “Flexible Specialization” research on small firms within decentralised industrial districts. Secondly, it offers insight into the everyday working and power relations at stake. With the help of electronic network visualization relatively stable working groups have been reconstructed from the workshop's payroll who autonomously manage and fulfil the highly specialized tasks. The case study therefore exemplifies management methods and working-relations in the context of a flexible production system.
|V S W G - Vierteljahrschrift fuer Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte
|Published - 2007