Life on the Line in Contemporary Manufacturing
The Workplace Experience of Lean Production and the `Japanese' Model
Reviews and Awards
highly detailed account ... a well crafted ethnographic account of shop-floor life. - Albert Mills, Organization Studies, 05. 21/3. 2000.
In the world of academic discourse, where researchers hardly find the time or funding to do more than survey others, it is refreshing to read Delbridge's account of his immersion in the workplace culture of two different factories - and a rich and detailed account it is! ... very adept. - Albert Mills, Organization Studies, 05. 21/3. 2000.
Delbridge's discussion on research methods ... is one of the most useful that I have encountered in a long time. - Albert Mills, Organization Studies, 05. 21/3. 2000.
detailed observation offers many insights into how workers work and live int he plants ... rich data. - Nakamura Keisukel, Social Sci. Japan Jnl, Vol.3, No.2 (2000).
Rick Delbridge's eagerly awaited account of the experience of work on the shop-floor confirms the validity of ethnographic research to deliver powerful insights into the reality of contemporary manufacturing ... Delbridge's study should serve as a salutary reminder of the enduring reality of alienated, routinised, target-driven, pressurised and poorly-paid toil ... Both commentary and workers' voices, so often absent from 'Inside HRM' accounts, provide authentic and invaluable testimony ... This is a book of major importance which deserves a wide readership. - Phil Taylor, Industrial Relations Journal, December 1999
Life on the Line is a sophisticated study of the actual work process on the assembly lines in two British factories: a Japanese-owned television assembly plant and a European-owned automotive parts supplier. As a participant observer, Delbridge experienced working on the assembly line. Especially exciting is how Delbridge has integrated the results of his microlevel participant observer research with the theoretical debates about the changing nature of factory work. Through this interplay between theory and empirical research, he provides a thought-provoking analysis of work and management in the late twentieth century. Life on the Line is a critical contribution to our understanding of the transfer of Japanese labor-management to other countries and the organization of work in contemporary industry. - Martin Kenney, Professor, Department of Human and Community Development at the University of California, Davis
Extremely persuasive arguement. A welcome return to the in- depth ethnographic analysis of many of the classic studies in industrial sociology. Very well written; the text pulls you along with it. I hope it attracts sufficient demand to justify a paper edition. Pg 211-2 should have been expanded. - Peter Scott University of Bath
Life on the Line stands in the very best traditions of empirical social science. Carefully argued it produces a compelling account of manufacturing in the 1990s where workers were still treated as no more than 'a pair of hands'. Through detailed ethnographic accounts it convincingly dispels many myths about the humanization of factory life and the innovatory potential of Japanese investment in the West. It is a major achievement. - Huw Beynon, Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester and author of Working for Ford
...a very detailed ethnographic account of the reality of contemporary mass production work. It provides a welcome antidote to the fallacious rhetoric of "empowerment" and "enrichment" which dominates too many management texts on this subject and I suspect it will be widely read by both students and academics in industrial sociology. - Andy Danford. Work, Employment and Society. -