Appropriating Workers' Knowledge: Quality Control Circles at a General Motors Plant

James Rinehart

Abstract


Competitive forces and workers' resistance compel employers to cheapen and intensify labour and subordinate it to management control. Historically, these goals were achieved by mechanization, by management's appropriation of workers' production knowledge, and by simplifying, standardizing, and specializing the labour process. The principal target of techniques of labour degradation was skilled workers, whose monopoly of knowledge enabled them not only to command relatively high wages but also to exercise a considerable degree of control over the work process.

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Studies in Political Economy:
Online ISSN 1918-7033
Print ISSN 0707-8552