Work Organization and Productivity
"Industrial Relations and Technical Change: The Case of the Self-Acting Mule," Cambridge Journal of Economics, 3, 3, September 1979, 231-262; an abridged version reprinted as "The Self-Acting Mule and Social Relations in the Workplace," in D. MacKenzie and J. Wajcman, eds., The Social Shaping of Technology, Open University Press, 1985. This is a detailed analysis of the production process that was central to the first industrial revolution that shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, skilled workers (as opposed to capitalists or managers) maintained control over work organization because such control entailed higher productivity.
"Production Relations, Labor Productivity, and Choice of Technique: British and U.S. Cotton Spinning,"Journal of Economic History, 41, 3, September 1981: 491-516.
This is a comparative study that is in effect a "controlled experiment"of how regional-specific production relations determined the choice of technique, thus calling into question the standard neoclassical model of factor substitution and providing insights into the social determinants of regional-specific technological trajectories.
"The 'Horndal Effect' in Early U.S. Manufacturing," with Thomas Brush, Explorations in Economic History, 22, January 1985: 53-96.
This is probably the most data-intensive analysis ever done of any single workplace (containing monthly data for every worker over a period of 21 years), it estimates the relative effects of worker control, managerial control, and technical change on productivity growth, with implications for understanding the famous "Horndal effect" productivity growth (sustained productivity growth in the absence of technical change).
"Competitive Advantage on the Shop Floor," Harvard University Press, 1990
This is a comparative-historical analysis of the dynamic interaction of industrial relations, work effort, and technological change in mass-production manufacturing in Britain, the United States and Japan that employs an original model of the interaction of production relations and "effort-saving" technical change in determining economic outcomes.
"Employment Relations in Manufacturing and International Competition," in R. Floud and D. McCloskey, eds., The Economic History of Britain since 1700, Volume II, Cambridge University Press, second edition, 1994.
This is a contribution to the major collaborative effort among economic historians to summarize the latest research findings in British economic history in which it is shown how the persistence of "shop-floor" control in British manufacturing into the first decades of the twentieth century permitted cost-cutting on existing technologies but posed barriers to the introduction of new technologies.
"Cooperative Employment Relations in Manufacturing and Japanese Economic Growth," in J. Schor and J. I. You, eds., Capital, the State, and Labour, Elgar, 1995.
This is an historical and statistical synthesis of the role of cooperative labor-management relations in contributing to the Japanese "economic miracle" of the 1950's to the 1980's.
"Organizational Learning and International Competition," in J. Michie and J. G. Smith, eds., Globalization, Growth, and Governance, Oxford University Press, 1998: reprinted in Lazonick and O'Sullivan, Corporate Governance and Sustainable Prosperity 2001: 204-238
A comparative examination of hierarchical and functional integration in the post-World War II decades in the industries in which Japan challenged the United States puts forth the hypothesis that different social environments support different "skill bases" that can engage in organizational learning.
"Grow Your Own' in the New Economy?: Skill-Formation Challenges in the New England Optical Networking Industry," with Michael Fiddy and Steven Quimby, in Robert Forrant and Jean Pyle, eds., The Public University in a Globalizing Economy, Elgar, 2002: 233-259.
This is the initial product on an ongoing research project that, in providing an in-depth account of skill-formation and outsourcing in a major optical networking systems-integration facility, highlights the need to understand the emerging skill-formation practices of contract manufacturers for high-end work in high-wage regions.