Lean Production in the Automotive Industry. Origin, Diffusion, Paradoxes, and Contradictions of a New Managerial Paradigm

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Detroit (2022)


Initially the success of the lean production concept mirrored those of other managerial fashions that emerged during the period of crisis of “Fordism.” But while these other managerial fashions, such as Total Quality Management, soon faded away, the “lean production” concept continued to diffuse in the automotive sector through the 1990s and eventually established itself in the 2000s as a new managerial paradigm. By then, the very idea of industrial efficiency, understood as a socially and culturally constructed notion, would be measured by the degree of compliance of supply chains, factories, and shop-floor organization with the principles of lean production. This process of diffusion was not, however, without difficulties and paradoxes.


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