Life experienced by an automobile assembly line worker is described, and feelings of workers about their jobs were explored in three separate ways. The author spent five months as a line employee; he extensively interviewed 22 workers; and he distributed a questionnaire to all workers in the final assembly complex on both shifts of a particular day, receiving 209 usable responses. Most workers' feelings centered mainly around the job itself, the company, and the union. When discussing the possibility for change, most workers commented on management or supervisory style in the plant or on other general modifications. Although workers wanted changes, they were uncertain about the mechanisms for effecting change. On-the-job observation indicated that after arriving at the plant workers spend time in undefined activities (talking and setting up concession stands). During the eight-hour day, workers adapt to the sameness of their jobs in a number of ways, (e.g. playing games, working slowly to force themselves to catch up, and trading jobs). Some workers adapt in harmful ways (e.g. drugs, liquor, sabotage, and theft). It was concluded that workers may become more interested in how decisions are made if the occupational environment is adequate. The real problem in assuring appropriate working conditions stems from company impersonality, bad stock, and favoritism. Human relations are just as important as industrial relations in the automobile assembly line plant.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Harvard University

    School of Business Addministration, Soldiers Field
    Boston, MA  United States  02163
  • Authors:
    • Runcie, J F
  • Publication Date: 1980-5

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 106-115
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00393477
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-028 980
  • Files: HSL, USDOT
  • Created Date: Mar 29 1985 12:00AM