Manpower Utilisation and Flexibility in Shipbuilding: A Case Study on Organisational Change

Gordon, Robert (1993) Manpower Utilisation and Flexibility in Shipbuilding: A Case Study on Organisational Change. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study will provide an analytical account of the changing practices and strategies for manpower utilisation in a single shipyard (Govan) from the 1950/60's to the beginning of the 1990's. This will reveal, at different phases, four distinct approaches to manpower utilisation strategies and their associate industrial relations process. These could be summarised as:- Model One - the classical approach where manpower utilisation strategy was based on the principle of dividing labour and characterised by the concept of job specialisation and manpower agreements that were concluded on the basis of national agreements. Model Two - the scientific management approach where the strategy was to conclude local agreements between management and the workforce that were characterised by the introduction of limited forms of functional flexibility and industrial engineering techniques. Model Three - the flexibile work approach where the strategy was based on the concept of the 'Flexible Firm' and characterised by the move to conclude national agreements to enable the introduction of functional and numerical forms of flexible working. Model Four - the new realism approach where the strategy was to recognise that manhours were the principal component of shipyard competitiveness and where local agreements were concluded between management and the shipyard workers that increased manpower effectiveness. The account of models One to Three provides us with an understanding and detailed analysis of the systems of manpower utilisation and associated industrial relations practices adopted by management as the shipyard progressed through different economic, technological and organisational phases prior to Kvaerner's acquisition of the yard in 1988. Model Four is the approach to manpower utilisation developed and implemented as part of this work, and this account details the ways in which the manpower and industrial relations problems were identified and resolved. The differences between the approaches as depicted in the four models will be interpreted on the basis of a 'conceptual framework' developed for this purpose, and this 'toolbox' will enable us to present conclusions on the successive phases of change.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Jean Pirrie
Keywords: Management, Labor relations, Organizational behavior
Date of Award: 1993
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1993-75458
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 20:03
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 20:03

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