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flexible specialization


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A strategy at company level of permanent innovation, and accommodation to, rather than control of, ceaseless change. This strategy is based on innovation, multi-use equipment, flexible, skilled workers, or on subcontracting to major firms in sweatshops and homeworking (S. Sassen2006). Locke and Romis (2007) MIT Sloan Manag. Rev. 48, 2 show that suppliers that adopt flexible specialization, through multi-skilled workers operating in groups, working with incentive bonuses and empowered to stop the production line to ensure quality, had better outcomes for workers—in terms of wages and working conditions—and for firms—in terms of productivity gains, efficiency, and compliance. See also Essletzbichler (2003) Reg. Studs 37, 8. M. Dunford and L. Greco (2006) criticize theorists who see flexible specialization as a replicable alternative to the mass production system and a way out of the crisis of Fordism. Press (2008) J. Econ. Geog. 8, 4 finds that instability for firms is substantially higher under flexible specialization.

Subjects: Social Sciences — Earth Sciences and Geography.


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