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Making performance plants from branch plants? In situ restructuring in the automobile industry in the United Kingdom

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andy Pike


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In this paper a critial examination is made of the alleged change in the branch-plant economy. It is claimed that a new type of branch plant is emerging, with more progressive implications for local economic development. Tjos argument is reviewed with reference to in situ restructuring in existing brownfield plants in the automobile idnustry. Empirical evidence is examined from 'Motor Co.' and 'Car Co.' (pseudonyms) in Riverside, across several dimensions of change: role and autonomy; labour process; labour-management relations; labour-market stregies, supplied linkages; and local economic development implications. It is argued that changes in branch plants and their implications for local economies can be understood by addressing the interrelations between structure, agency, and contingency. Evidence of change from Motor Co. and Car Co. in Riverisde suggest some heightening of plant responsibility, the limited upgrading of functions, and the introduction of new techniques. The changes are partial, revealing the overlap of new and old practices, and the benefits for local economic development appear limited.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pike A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment and Planning A

Year: 1998

Volume: 30

Issue: 5

Pages: 881-900

Print publication date: 01/05/1998

ISSN (print): 0308-518X

ISSN (electronic): 1472-3409


DOI: 10.1068/a300881


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