Employment practices in the transition to lean production: worker perspectives in a South African auto components firm
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Proponents of lean production (LP) argue that successful implementation is dependent on creating an organisational climate that complements the adoption and implementation of innovation. Transformation of the organisational climate, from a culture of adversarialism (management versus workers) and worker exclusion (in terms of decision making) toward a culture of co-operation and worker participation, is thus a necessary complement to LP. Successful implementation of LP, and associated practices, thus requires the commitment of all stakeholders. This study explores worker attitudes towards transition to LP within a chosen company in the South African auto components sector. The study focuses on understanding worker perceptions of shifts in Human Resource and Industrial Relations practices which are associated with the transition to LP. The research reports on two surveys of workers to better understand their perceptions of the changes to the relationships among workers, and between workers and management.