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1984) 'Industrial robots in West German industry', Politics and Society, 14, 4 . Wolf, M . 88 . Reinhart Kossler and Mammo Muchie American Dreams and Soviet Realities : Socialism and Taylorism A Reply to Chris Nyland' • The evaluation of Scientific Management has been forcefully put back on the agenda of social analysis and political debate by Braverman (1974) and since has remained a prominent issue . A recent contribution (Nyland, 1987) has once again pointed to the linkage between the issue of the organisation of industrial work under capitalism on one hand and the transfer of such forms and methods to Soviet-type societies, a social environment we consider fundamentally different from capitalism, though certainly not 'socialist' .

These invariably involve the attempt by management to introduce elements of 'flexibility' (task mobil- Workplace flexibility ity) and can even, within tight limits, involve a degree of work group autonomy . This is the grain of truth in the flexible specialisation thesis . However, there is no evidence of a trend toward a computer assisted craft worker . What is clear is that there are many forms of flexibility confronting workers in the advanced capitalist countries . These include the demand for some polyvalence and task mobility, the weakening of constraints on the employment contract, the deregulation of wages and wage security, and the abandonment of rules restricting management prerogatives .

By ratcheting up the level of stress at which the workforce is expected to perform . . , 1986 : 176) . In addition, Japanese managers aim for total time flexibility (in Japan this can mean unlimited unpaid overtime) and functional flexibility (the will and capacity to undertake a wide variety of tasks) on the part of workers in order to cope with unforeseen . For instance, Komatsu, the Japanese earth moving equipment manufacturer at Birtley, Tyne and Wear, included in its single union agreement with the AEU provision for : Complete labour flexibility, interchangeability and mobility .

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