Managing Innovation

Managing Innovation : A Study of British and Japanese Factories

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Innovation is a key to corporate success, particularly in times of rapid technological change. This book sheds new light on the introduction of technology in the manufacturing sector. The author considers the use of innovative technology in both Britain and Japan by examining nine firms in each country. He focuses on computerised machine tools (CNC) and shows how the various firms have risen to the challenge of implementing the new technology. Particular emphasis is placed on the differing employment relations in the factories, the nature of operating training and workload distribution. Dr Whittaker identifies fundamentally different approaches in the two countries which have implications for competiveness as well as future innovation. The contrast is especially attractive since Japanese industrial relations is commonly distinguished by its cooperative nature whilst industrial relations in Britain has tended to be more confrontational. These conventional views are challenged with an original perspective on the labour process and new technology.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 160 x 236 x 21mm | 501g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0521380553
  • 9780521380553

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. British factories, Japanese factories and the new technology debate; 2. The wider context; 3. Employment relations (I); 4. Employment relations (II); 5. Innovation; 6. Training; 7. Division of labour; 8. CNC and skills.
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Review quote

"...Whittaker's work offers an excellent example of careful fieldwork, a high order of empirical and descriptive skill, a provocative model, and a challenging and useful conclusion." Journal of Japanese Studies "...a modest (in length and scope) but careful study of how employment relations in nine British and nine Japanese factories affect the adoption of an innovative process technology--computerized numerical control (CNC) machine tools....should be useful for anyone interested in Japanese and British industrial relations, craft versus more structured approaches to engineering and production management, and the introduction of new process technologies onto the shopfloor." Michael A. Cusumano, ASQ
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