ABSTRACT

Suppose a corporate Rip Van Winkle who fell asleep on the job a generation ago were to wake up today. He would find his company changed almost beyond recognition. As he wandered through manufacturing, he would rub his eyes at the sight of strange new machines. “Something’s very different,” he would mutter. “The shop floor looks like a laboratory. The oil, the grime, and the piles of half-finished goods have gone. There are no rows of people working at repetitive tasks. No one is standing around waiting for instructions about what to do next. There’s not one quality control inspector in sight. Where are the supervisors? Who is a worker and who is a manager?”