Between Imitation and Innovation: The Transfer and Hybridization of Productive Models in the International Automobile Industry

Synopsis

Recent years have seen intense debates among management and academics on the rise of `lean production' and `Japanization'. Some authors have stressed the `universal' impact of new forms of work organization and `best practice' while others have questioned the limits of convergence, stressed the weight of national contexts or `societal effects', or highlighted the evolutionary effects of unpredictability in the external environment. The international automobile industry has been a focus for much of this debate and this book, written by a team of leading international researchers in the field, uses this industry to examine in detail the actual practice of the transfer and adaptation of productive models and the trajectories of innovation, compromise, and failure that can result. Case studies cover in detail the Japanese transplant experience in North America, and the global experience of hybrid production systems in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. The book contributes to theoretical discussions about the transfer, adaptation, or convergence of productive models. In particular, the authors argue that direct transplantation or imitation of these models is rarely feasible or even desirable. Systems cannot be transferred without being significantly reshaped. Instead, the book focuses on the process of `hybridization', the complex interaction of productive models with national and societal effects. Hybridization, it is argued, is inevitable. But this should be seen not simply as a process of compromise and retreat but also as an important dynamic of innovation and learning. This book is from the French-based international research network GERPISA (Groupe d'¿tude de r¿cherche permanent sur l'industrie et les salaries de l'automobile). See related titles below.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Robert Buyer
  • Elsie Charron
  • Ulrich Jürgens
  • Robert Boyer
  • Steven Tolliday
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Oxford
Publication year:
  • 1998