Worker-ownership and the assembly line

according to former cooperative members interviewed by the authors, there was a clear mismatch between Taylorist production on the assembly line and worker-owners’ expectations of real democracy in the cooperative. Workers joined the cooperative expecting democracy, but found themselves with little opportunity to act as decision makers in their jobs, and as the authors discovered, this lead to very low job satisfaction at Fagor Electrodomésticos, absenteeism, and poor work.

Apparently, one production unit in the company, Cooking, recognized this problem and switched from Taylorist assembly-lines to U-shaped cells with a participatory approach to production, and according to the authors: “all satisfaction surveys we had access to show higher satisfaction of workers in Cooking than in Taylorist production units”. Unfortunately, these innovations were not universally adopted at Fagor Electrodomésticos, and overall satisfaction at the company remained low.

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