chapter  4
31 Pages

A tale of one factory: training for teams

WithJames Paul Gee, Glynda Hull, Colin Lankshear

One story, often repeated in the popular literature, features the jointly owned and managed US and Japanese automobile factory, NUMI, or New United Motors Inc., located in Milpitas, California. According to the story, one NUMI worker, after experiencing his company's reorganization into work teams and other 'high performance' innovations, took great pride and ownership in the work he did, in contrast to the demoralized, embittered attitudes of workers before the plant was restructured. The Silicon Valley region is often held up as a major economic success story in the United States. In recent years temporary work has become more and more prevalent, in fact, such jobs are the fastest growing category of job in the new capitalism. This chapter presents a case study which is part of a larger project directed by Glynda Hull and designed to compare the skill requirements of traditionally organized workplaces with those of high performance workplaces.