Transformations in Team Work at Renault, 1970-1994

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Reference

Freyssenet M., Transformations in Team Work at Renault, in Durand, J.P., Castillo, J.J., Stewart, P. (eds.), Team Work in the Automobile Industry: Radical Change or Passing Fashion?, Londres, Macmillan, 1999, pp 202-217. Digital publication, freyssenet.com, 2007, 180 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

The text is readable or/and downloadable. Please, go to the foot of this page to find the attached file. Clik once to read, twice to download. This presentation page is also printable.

It is the english translation of ✔ Freyssenet M., “Les transformations du travail en groupe chez Renault”, in Durand, J.P., Castillo, J.J. et Stewart, P. (dir.), L’avenir du travail à la chaîne. Une comparaison internationale dans l’industrie automobile, Paris, La Découverte, 1998, pp 185-197. Édition numérique, freyssenet.com, 2007, 200 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

Abstract

Team work at Renault has quite a long history and so to understand its form and content it would be appropriate to know what its principal characteristics are. It was first introduced in Renault in the 1970's by a few managers in an attempt to reform work and in particular assembly line work using the reorganization which was taking place at Volvo as inspiration. It was not possible to develop it in the manual sectors due to opposition by certain managers and the fact that it was regarded with a degree of suspicion by the unions. However it reappeared in the automated sectors at the beginning of the 1980's without coming up against any major opposition.

In fact new problems came to light with automation. The form it took on modified the usual norms of work and of gave rise to dysfunctions. Different formulas of team work were then experimented with, some to accommodate these new work norms and others to overcome the dysfunctions of the automated installations in the way they had been designed.
The reduction in the number of posts that these formulas allowed, along with the necessity to mobilize the personnel to improve results after the 1984 financial slump and changes in alliances between the Management and unions, led to a consensus among managers on team work in the second half of the 1980's.

The definition that was then given to it and the fact that it was implemented homogeneously made the more daring formulas that were used at the beginning of the 1980's redundant, both from the point of view of the function of the group leader and relations with maintenance. Although presented as being explicitly inspired from the 'Japanese methods', in fact team work at Renault distinguishes itself distinctly as much by its official definition as by its multiple facets.

Content

1. Team work to deal with 'the work crisis' at the beginning of the 1970's
2. The relaunch of team work in the automated areas, 1979-1984
3. The legitimization, the diffusion and the homogenization of the different forms of team work in the second half of the 1980's
4. The creation and the generalization of Elementary Work Units, 1991-1994
Conclusion
Bibligrahy

Key words

Automobile, Automobile industry, car makers, employment relationships, team working, team leaders, maintenance, automatized workshops, division of work, Japanese methods, work crisis, reform of work, social conflicts, Renault, Volvo, Toyota

Concerned disciplines

Economics, Ergonomics, Management, History, History of Sciences and Technologies, Engineering, Cognitive sciences, Sociology.

Writing context

Contribution
to personal questioning
to scientific reflexion of research laboratory or network
to national and international scientific debate
to diffusion of scientific results
to implementation of scientific results

References, commentaries, critics

Curent relevance

See also

✔ Freyssenet M., The Origins of Team Work at Renault, in Sandberg Å. (ed.), Enriching Production, Avebury, Aldershot, UK, 1995, pp. 293-305. Digital publication, freyssenet.com, 2007, 200 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

✔ Freyssenet M., “Reflective production: an alternative to mass-production and lean production?”, Economic and Industrial Democracy, vol. 19, n°1, february 1998, pp 91-117. Digital publication, freyssenet.com , 2006, 280 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941. Version modifiée et augmentée en anglais de ✔ Freyssenet M., “La production réflexive, une alternative à la production de masse et à la production au plus juste?”, Sociologie du Travail, n°3/1995, pp 365-388. Édition numérique, freyssenet.com, 2007, 320 ko, ISSN 1776-0941.

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Last presentation page updating

2007.03.24

Date of the putting on line of the downloadable text

2007.03.24, Freyssenet M., Transformations in Team Work at Renault, in in Durand, J.P., Castillo, J.J. et Stewart, P. (eds.), Team Work in the Automobile Industry: Radical Change or Passing Fashion?, London, Macmillan, 1999, pp 202-217. Digital publication, freyssenet.com, 2007, 180 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

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