Management Divided: Contradictions of Labor Management

ISBN : 9780198795278

Matt Vidal
352 ページ
156 x 234 mm

One of the central dynamics shaping organizations today is a contradiction managers face between ensuring workforce discipline and harnessing worker creativity. This contradiction has been intensifying over the last four decades as employee involvement has become increasingly important in response to rapid technological change, requirements for flexibility, and demands for continuous improvement. In manufacturing, global best practice includes lean production with substantive worker empowerment; cross-training in enlarged tasks and inclusion in problem solving and decision making. Yet, many managers instead face these conflicting pressures by training workers in narrow tasks and using them exclusively for manual labor. In this richly evidenced study of American manufacturing, Matt Vidal presents a synthetic theory called 'organizational political economy', integrating concepts from organization theory into a classical marxist framework. This theory emphasizes how contradictory developments - conflicting pressures and competing logics of labor management - lead management to be divided. Some managers adopt best practice by substantively empowering their workforce while others settle for good enough. Capitalist management is increasingly a source of organizational inefficiency. This argument is not limited to manufacturing. Managers experience contradictory pressures - for standardization versus discretion, deskilling versus upskilling - in a wide range of occupations including education, healthcare, software development, and many more.


I. The Problem
1 The Problem of Labor Management
2 Lean Management and Employee Involvement
II. Theory
3 A Theory of Organizational Political Economy
III. Analysis
4 The Postfordist Field in American Manufacturing
5 Four Approaches to Lean Production
6 Routine Politics of Production I: Quality Not Quantity
7 Routine Politics of Production II: The Workforce Contradiction
8 Routine Politics of Production III: The Management Contradiction
9 Lean Workplace Regimes: Valorization Logics and Organizational Logics
IV. Conclusion
10 Capitalist Management and Routine Inefficiency


Matt Vidal is Reader in Sociology and Political Economy in the Institute for International Management, Loughborough University London. He is author of Organizing Prosperity (with David Kusnet) and editor of The Oxford Handbook of Karl Marx (with Paul Prew, Tomas Rotta and Tony Smith) and Comparative Political Economy of Work (with Marco Hauptmeier). He has published over twenty articles or book chapters on work, human resource management, employment relations, labor markets, comparative political economy, and social theory. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.