'Lean Production is Dead, Long Live Lean Production': Lean, Neo-Liberal Crisis, Turbulence and the Consolidation of Regimes of Subordination
This paper considers the various ways in which Lean originally was understood by advocates and critics. The paper argues that notwithstanding Lean's impact in respect of material changes to work and labour processes in addition it can be interpreted as an ideological formation and the motor of neoliberal turbulence, at once a driver of the crisis of over production and a response to it. Lean engenders at the level of the political economy the link between a range of management regimes requiring stress to systems, institutions and individuals. Locally, this process was famously described by the labour movement activist-scholars Mike Parker and Jane Slaughter,as Management by Stress. We argue that it is critical to the contemporary character of the turbulence driving neoliberal retrenchment-restructuring. While we accept the French labour sociologist Jean-Pierre Durand's description of the era in which we are living as the time of the Lean society, we offer a somewhat different angle on the nature of Lean that interprets it not simply as a management strategy for renewal but rather as a response to thisperiod of neoliberal turbulence in which it is a central component.(original abstract)
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