Fordism/Post-Fordism

HARLAND PRECHEL

Texas A&M University, USA

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs124

Fordism and post-Fordism emerged from Taylorism and other forms of scientific management that formalized control over the labor process. Formal control over the labor process was accelerated when Henry Ford and his engineers applied the principles of scientific management to the entire labor process. Fordism represents two critical changes in the historical process of fragmenting tasks and increasing the division of labor in order to increase efficiency and control of the labor process. First, whereas Taylorism developed work rules to standardize the production of parts, Fordism brought these standardized parts to the worker, which further separated conception from execution by specifying how to assemble the parts. Second, using the assembly line to bring work to the worker made it possible to increase the pace of work. While Ford implemented these production principles elsewhere, they were manifested in the most extreme form at the Ford River Rouge Complex, which became the largest integrated factory in the world when it was completed in 1928.

Fordist production enabled Ford to pay higher wages while maintaining high profits. His capacity to pay higher wages than other capitalists permitted Ford to be more selective when hiring workers and to impose stricter work standards on them. Ford also created internal labor markets by establishing job classifications and hierarchies that ...

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