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Design or development? Beyond the LP‐STS debate; inputs from a Volvo truck case

Ben S. Kuipers (Faculty of Management and Organization, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)
Marco C. De Witte (Faculty of Management and Organization, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)
Ad H. van der Zwaan (Faculty of Management and Organization, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 1 August 2004

Abstract

In this paper, we will show that the debate between advocates of lean production and the socio‐technical approach has concentrated too much on the design aspect of the production structure, while neglecting the development aspect of teamwork. This paper addresses the question whether it is production design or team development that explains business performance and the quality of working life. The data are taken from four departments of the Volvo truck plant in Umeå (Sweden) that is redesigning from socio‐technical based assembly to line‐assembly. We conclude that good design of the production structure is necessary, but not sufficient for good performance; team development is just as important, although it requires a favorable context.

Keywords

Citation

Kuipers, B.S., De Witte, M.C. and van der Zwaan, A.H. (2004), "Design or development? Beyond the LP‐STS debate; inputs from a Volvo truck case", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 24 No. 8, pp. 840-854. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443570410548257

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited