This paper emphasizes that production workers achieve empowerment through participation in processes of innovation and through a collaborative partnership with the sources of design knowledge in a company (including engineers and managers). An alternative reading of Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management suggests that empowerment ultimately depends on the distribution and use of knowledge. By including promising theory from the literature and a few examples from industry and field study, the author concludes that to create effective opportunities for empowerment on the factory floor, knowledge development for production workers must move beyond the confines of routine continuous improvement and beyond efficiency‐based logic and reach into the realms of innovation that define the very paradigms of production.
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