Work Process Knowledge

Work Process Knowledge

Work Process Knowledge

Work Process Knowledge


Work Process Knowledgebrings together the findings of twenty-four leading researchers on new forms of work and the demands these place on workers' knowledge and skill. Their findings, based on a new set of investigations in a wide range of manufacturing and service industries, identify the kinds of knowledge required to work effectively in the post-Taylorist industrial organization.
Raising fundamental issues for current industrial policy, science and technology policy, and ways of managing the post-Taylorist organization and developing human resources, this book will be of essential interest to academics and professionals working in the fields of management, human resource development, and workplace learning.


This book developed out of the work of a ten-country network sponsored by the European Commission within its Framework iv Targeted Socio-Economic Research Programme. All the participants were carrying out research into organizational change and the introduction of new technology into workplaces. We came together to compare our findings, methodologies and theoretical assumptions, focusing in particular on the kinds of knowledge required by workers in the new industrial landscape that is emerging in European and other advanced industrial countries.

New ways of organizing work

It has become a truism to assert that we are living through a time of transformation in the way goods are produced and services are delivered. the liberalization of world trade has exposed companies to the rigours of international competition, creating serious challenges for long-established industries in the more advanced economies of Europe and the usa. the response has often been to reorganize businesses along more flexible lines and to introduce new technology in order to improve productivity. Similar changes have also been taking place in the public services; with service users demanding higher standards and governments demanding cost savings, this sector too has come under pressure to change the way it organizes its work.

A policy document which has influenced the political debate on the nature of work in Europe is the optimistic but flawed Green Paper, Partnership for a New Organization of Work. This calls for ‘new forms of the organization of work … based on high skill, high trust and high quality’ (European Communities 1997:1). the Green Paper is significant because its message has been taken up by European politicians and has been written into national trade and industry policies. Its central argument is that the production systems that have dominated European industry for the past 100 years are now becoming obsolete, especially the method of scientific management associated with the name of Frederick Taylor and the system of mass production associated with the name of Henry Ford.

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