New wave manufacturing strategies: Operational, organizational and human dimensions

Harrison, Alan and Storey, John (1996). New wave manufacturing strategies: Operational, organizational and human dimensions. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 16(2) pp. 63–76.



Lean production (LP) is just one of several concepts which have been devised to express the radical new approaches which have taken place in manufacturing in recent years. Others are just-in-time (JIT), world-class manufacturing (WCM) and total quality management (TQM). In order to embrace the whole gamut of development, we have coined the term “new wave manufacturing” (NWM). Whichever term is used, our joint research to date gives us concern that the existing literature fails to address adequately certain crucial aspects of the organizational realities of such innovations.

On the one hand, the operations management literature tends either to ignore the social and organizational dimension or pays scant attention to its importance. On the other hand, the organizational behaviour literature has not realized its potential because of its failure to engage fully with the technical and operational arrangements which it wishes to critique. In consequence, both sets of literature, while ostensibly assessing the same phenomenon, end up talking past each other, and their treatment of the recent important developments in manufacturing methods remain partial. In this article, we seek to clarify the main contours of the existing literature in order to reveal what is already known and what is as yet to be tackled in order to prepare the ground for a new phase of study. The article is organized into four main sections: the first assesses the key distinguishing features of new wave manufacturing methods; the second attends to what is known about the prerequisite social arrangements needed by these new methods; the third addresses current knowledge about social outcomes; and the final section sets out a research agenda consequent to this analysis.

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