The ascendance and decline of Fordism and Alternatives to Fordism Custom Essay

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Industrial Restructuring Take-Home Exam
Complete Sections A & B:
A) The Ascendance and Decline of Fordism: (approx. 3 pages double-spaced)
Answer both i) & ii).

i) How was the Fordist system of mass production stabilized in the U.S.? When
answering this question, think about the different ?scales? at which economic
activity is regulated.
ii) According to Piore and Sabel, what was the fundamental flaw in the Fordist
system that led to its decline? What assumptions were built into the system?

B) Alternatives to Fordism: (approx. 4 pages double-spaced)

For this section of the exam, you are assuming the role of a researcher for the provincial government?s Ministry of Economic Development. The year is 1985 and your job is to convince the Ministry to promote a new model of economic organization in place of the traditional Fordist model. You will write a memo to the Minister Anne Nadeau (i.e. your boss!) in which you will recommend ONE of the following two models:

i) ‘Flexible specialization’ (FS): If you choose this model, you should discuss the benefits of flexible specialization, as compared with the Fordist system. In your discussion, you should consider both the perspective of the firm and the worker. Since not all systems are perfect, your memo should also alert the Minister to the potential drawbacks or limits to the FS system.

ii) ‘Flexible mass production’ (FMP): If you choose this model, you should discuss the advantages of this system, as compared with the Fordist mass production system. In your memo, you should also highlight the implications of this new model for training and workplace organization. In the final section of your memo, you should acknowledge that some studies contend that there are aspects of the FMP system that represent an extension of ‘ rather than an alternative to – Fordist/Taylorist principles, and briefly discuss those aspects.

Further guidelines:

An integration of class readings in your written exam is essential for your analysis. When citing a reading, you should cite the author and year. Since space is limited, direct quotes should be used sparingly and judiciously. If you use a direct quote, you should cite the page numbers for the reading. In total, your paper should not exceed 8 pages in length (double-spaced, using 12 point font). Please outline your assignment before you begin writing and please proofread before submitting it. Since space is limited, every sentence counts and outlining your points in advance can help keep the discussion focused.

– Due Date: 13 February 2012, by 5:00 p.m. in my mailbox at the main office of the Department.
-Grade: 30%

Criteria for evaluation:

Fulfillment of the analyses;
Thoughtfulness of the analyses;
Quality of the presentation:
grammar and spell-check
clarity of the argument


Hints: helpful steps Discussed in class and Readings used: since January 2012
1-Mass production and Fordism: In The Second Industrial Divide by Piore, M and Sabel C. (1984) Seeks to explain why mass production became a dominant mode of production in the 20 th century and why it eclipsed(or artisanal) Production. (Uploaded the pages requested in the 4 chapters)This could be found in Chapter 2Two key ingredients stabilize the ‘mass production’ system microceconomic coordination via the corporation; The strategy by which Henry Ford was able to create a market for his products could be found in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 Deals with new macro economic policies in post war era and answers the question
1-what was the centerpiece of post war economic stabilization?
2- In what three ways did governments role in the economy change in the post war period

Chapter 5 looks at two other key factors that shaped the mass production model in the US, the international trading system and shop floor control in the factory.

2-Transition from Fordism ‘Fordism in crisis’ (Uploaded) the 3 chapters)
Chapter 6 of the book lookds at how Fordism was stabilized differently in different countries
Chapter 7 explores different interpretations on the crisis or breakdown of the Fordist system government responses to the crisis.
Chapter 8 examines corporate responses to the crisis.
3- Post Fordist Flexibility I: New Industrial spaces
From articles Amin A (2003 ‘ Industrial Districts: in A companion to Economic Geography, Eheppard, E and Barnes, T.J Blackweel press oxford pp 149-154
Or Article Harrison B (1994) Is silicon Valley an Industrial district?’

4- Post Fordist Flexibility II:The changing Nature of Corporate Organization:Class Readings articles :Schoenberger, E(2003) ‘Creating the corporate World: Strategy and culture, Time and space’ Companion to Economic Geography (uploaded)

Tremblay D.G and Rolland D (2003) The Japanese Model and its possible hyridization other countries
(Article uploaded)

5- Implications of the Transition for Labour & work
McDowell, L.(2001)’Father and Ford Revisted : Gender, class and Employment change in the New millennium?pp 448-464 (article uploaded)

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