Keywords: post-Fordism, new firm organisational models, network-firm
Towards the post-Fordist economy: emerging organisational models
Using a vast interdisciplinary literature, this paper discusses the transition to the post-Fordist economy as an unavoidable trend which affects individual organisations and countries. One of the great dangers of the current debate about post-Fordism is the overlapping of the various levels of discussion. The absence of rigour in posing the question has confused abstract reasoning (the outline of scenarios) with the process of demonstration (the utilisation of concrete, supporting data to validate the theory). This survey is essentially dedicated to the former question, leaving aside the latter (thus, the very complex issue of finding neutral data, nationally unbiased, to test it empirically). In our view, post-Fordism is an organisational paradigm (guidelines for new principles), not a realised model. Nor will it ever be one, since our hypothesis maintains that institutions matter, and that historical modifications of firms/industries/countries are the result of hybridisation and complex co-evolution. This article discusses, in fact, the nature of change implied by the post-Fordist paradigm only in relation to four abstract domains; its model of labour regulation, its organisation of production, its firm organisational model, and its societal and spatial context.