A NEW PARADIGM OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATION

Undergraduate

Abstract

Gitahy, Leda, 2000. A New Paradigm of Industrial Organization. The Diffusion of Technological and Managerial Innovations in the Brazilian Industry. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences 93. 48 pp. Uppsala. ISBN 91-554-4778-3.

Based on the concepts of techno-economic paradigm, network and production chain, the main purpose of this dissertation is to analyse the diffusion of technological and managerial innovations in the Brazilian industry during the 1980s and the 1990s. It consists of a summary and six selected papers. Empirical studies were conducted at different moments of the re-structuring process and at different points of the production chain. The samples cover large leading firms as well as small second and third-tier suppliers in the automotive and footwear industries. They throw light on the process of diffusion and establishment of a new paradigm of industrial organization, mostly in conflict with the Taylorist/Fordist.

Ideas, methods and management techniques were largely adopted and imitated from the so-called “Japanese model”, but the diffusion of the new paradigm in Brazil is also the result of adapting and modifying this model by trial and error. At the firm level, the adoption of these innovations entails a highly complex process of social change, reversing norms and models of behaviour hitherto dominant. They modify the daily practices at work, and the division of labour within and between companies, as well as between companies and other institutions, such as those within the educational system. These transformations are studied by distinguishing competition, management, and technological patterns.

The results show that, under the conditions of a an extremely large domestic market, the re-structuring of the Brazilian industry occurs in a context characterized by crisis, economic instability, recession and unemployment as well as by political re-democratization and growing influence of the labour movement. The diffusion of the new paradigm of efficiency together with the increasing globalization of the economy and the ongoing abandonment of import substitution, transformed the organization of work and inter-firms relations, changing the volume, structure, and location of employment as well as the content and hierarchy of skills.


Introduction

Objectives

The objective of this thesis is to analyse the process of diffusion of technological and managerial innovations in the Brazilian industry in the 1980s and the 1990s, based on:

(a)   A theoretical-methodological discussion on the concept of techno-economic paradigm (Perez, 1985) and its utility to study the diffusion of technological and managerial innovations in the Brazilian industry;

(b)   The use of the concepts of network and production chain to analyse concrete processes of restructuring;

(c)   A set of four empirical studies based on different researches carried out at different momentsand in different types of companies in the 1980s and the 1990s.

It is a matter of understanding how the introduction of a set of inter-related innovations, inspired in a new paradigm of efficiency, modifies:

(a)   on one hand, the daily work activities (routines, procedures, modes of producing, indicators,criteria, status symbols, habits, and values);

(b)   and, on the other hand, the division of labour within firms and among them i.e. inter-firm relations), as well as between firms and different institutions, including those of the education system.

The main idea is to show how the diffusion of a new paradigm of efficiency, associated with the process of globalization of the economy and the abandonment of the model of development based on import substitution, transformed the work organization and the inter-firms relations in the Brazilian industry, changing the volume, structure, and location of employment as well as the content and hierarchy of skills. Under the conditions of an extremely large domestic market (in spite of its great contraction, especially at the crisis peaks of 1981-1983 and 1990-1992), the restructuring of the Brazilian industry occurs in a context characterized by crisis, economic instability, recession and unemployment as well as by political re-democratization and growing influence of the labour movement. It is within this scenario that the slow abandonment of the model of development based on import-substitution, the increasing integration to global economy and the diffusion of the new paradigm of industrial organization have taken place. In the beginning of the 1990s, the liberalization of the economy intensifies this process. It is through studies realized in companies at different moments that I try to retrieve the links between the change in daily practices and the constitution of a new production scheme.