Modern Leadership Theory and Sweatshops: In and Out of the Box

David Boje December 21 2000; Revised August 29 2003

Roots of Modern Leadership Theory In the Box

In the Box of Modernist Leadership Theory - Inside the box of modernist leadership plot is the Aristotelian theatre, a box of dramatic theatre, with one side missing. The missing side of the box, is the proscenium arch that divides spectators sitting passively in their seats, from actors on the stage. Inside the box characters (e.g. Prince, Superman) and organizing frames (e.g. bureaucracy, government, etc.) are suspended in three-dimensional space by X dimension of behavior (transction/ transformation), Y dimension of power (will to power/ will to serve) and Z dimension of participation (1 voice to 4 voices) [click on for definitions]. It is a very old model (e.g. James MacGregor Burns, Stogdill, then Bass), but the game of reinventing it continues to this day. In modernist leadership theory humanity and nature are boxed in by the capitalist system.

Figure One - XYZ Modernist Box of Leadership [click here for definitions]

Figure One summarizes in the box, and Table One classifies some of the main leadership theories that are trapped in the box. Leadership is a dramatic Aristotlean theatre box with one side missing (curtain and arch between actor and spectators). In Figure One, the four (vertical) sides of the box are rendered transparent (the four sides are missing), and I thereby put the Box itself on stage, and I put the missing sides of the box on stage, for the spectator to engage. In doing so we put the capitalist system, as a character, on stage too. Leadership is a modernist institution, a Dilbert comedy, dependent upon and indisepnsible to its tragic-predatory side, yet also an absurd capitalist system in which characters and organizations locate in XYZ theatric space.

Table One: Typical Typology of Modern In The Box Leadership Theory

TRAITS/ UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES

(1800s to 1940s with revival in 1990s)

BEHAVIOR/ PROCESS

1940s to 1970s with revival in 2001)

SITUATION/ CONTINGENCY

(early 1960s to Present; Dead but will not vanish)

POWER

(From BC rediscovered from one generation to next; empower is renaming of delegation of 1940s)

CHARISMA/ TRANSFORM

(Late 1800s then rediscovered in 1970s and revival in 1980s)

If you compare Tables One and Two, you get two different stories of the varieties of modern leadership. Table One represents what you find in any managerialist modern text on leadership and management since Stogdill's Handbook of Leadership.  The storyline begins with thousands of leader studies trying to find universal traits.  Few had much significance.  The field turned to behaviors with the advent of WWII; the military wanted to be able to train leaders, and leader researchers obliged with lists of two and three but never four factors of behavior (usually initiating structure, consideration and sometimes participation).  But, again no universal patterns emerged to explained much data. Ironically all the MBA programs teach the 9,9 grid as if it is gospel.  Few point out that problems with cause and effect or the low explained variance of behaviors to effectiveness. The search turned to situational factors, but did not fare much better. Now leader studies are returning to power, where Machiavelli advised we start looking in the first place. And we are returning to the search for Charisma, which is where Weber dreaded we look. Weber had a theory of authority where capitalist entrepreneurs would choose between bureaucratic, charismatic or feudal approaches. Weber predicted correctly that bureaucratic would emerge as the most stable form.  There is a dark side to charisma and a political side to feudal leadership, that Weber hoped to contain with bureaucracy.  But to most writers today, bureaucracy is redefined as a way to further control workers, and ignore the politics of power that is inherent in bureaucracy.  

    So we move on to Table Two.  When we speak of "Modern" leadership theory, we must begin, I think with two types of modern: 

(1) systemic modern of Taylor and Fayol and to a lesser extent Follett and Weber.  

(2) critical modern of Smith (though many would disagree), Marx, Marcuse, Horkheimer, Adorno, and Habermas.  Smith was critical of mega-corporate power, favoring local control. He also believed in the enlightenment possibilities to contain capitalism with moral sentiments, in particular the internalized spectator (the third voice). Marcuse, Horkheimer, and Adorno formed the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory.  They did not abide with Taylorism and any systemic modernism. They preferred a reformed Marxist analysis of the material conditions of labor, including the class conditions. Habermas is the most pro-enlightenment modernist, believing that it is possible to tame capitalism through acts of rational communication and consensus.  Many other critical modernists and most postmodernist are skeptical about the possibility of just consensus in a world of inequity. For more on the distinction between systemic and critical modernism, see Boje (1995)

Table Two: More Precise Roots of Modern Leadership Theory

MODERN Management & Organizational Behavior

Henri Fayol (1841-1925)

 

Max Weber (1864-1920)

 

Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933) Frederick Winslow Taylor  (1856-1915)
CRITICAL MODERN Management & Organizational Behavior Karl Marx (1818 - 1883)   Adam Smith   (1723-1791)
Max Horkheimer (1895 - 1973)   Herbert Marcuse (1898 - 1979)
Theodor W. Adorno (1903 - 1969)  Jürgen Habermas (living)

What is interesting is modernists as separate as Adam Smith (1759, 1776), Karl Marx (1867) and Frederick Taylor (1911) agreed that there are organizational alternatives to sweatshops that yield more productivity, profit, and net workers higher wages. 

THERE ARE SO MANY MODERNS:

Adam Smith (1759, 1776), Karl Marx (1867) and Frederick Taylor (1911) agreed that there are organizational alternatives to sweatshops that yield more productivity, profit, and net workers higher, even "living wages."  The critical theory modernists certainly did not abide by sweatshops, nor did Mary Parker Follett.

    Sweatshops and Modern Leadership Theory -  Table One approaches to mdoern management theory, however are very silent about sweatshops.  If the situation demands it, just do it.  There would be some resistance by those in search of ethics and values, but anti-sweatshops is not explicitly mentioned by Steve Covey and other writers (as far as I can tell). 

Yet, to Marx, Smith, and even Taylor - sweatshops was an atrocity, that more scientific ways to could mend. Leaders trained in critical or even systemic science could see that sweatshops were bad business. But, if this is true, why are there over 700 in the US (b Department of Labor estimates) and tens of thousands more throughout the Third World, particularly in Asia.  It seems every corporate leader in the Fortune 1,000 is headed for Asia to open one, while maintaining an expensive PR campaign to say it just ain't so.  

How is it that modern leadership theory can promise such progress through scientific management, but lose the war against sweatshops?  A bit of history -“The name, sweatshop, goes back to the late 1800s, and refers to the technique of "sweating" as much profit as possible out of each worker. Once a thriving tradition at the turn of the century, sweatshops saw their numbers dwindle in the face of relentless encroachment by labor organization and social legislation. By the post WWII years they were pushed to the brink of extinction. But with the new late modern arrangements made possible by the global economy -- highly mobile transnational capital, computer-coordinated production schedules, and free trade policies” (Sweat Gear web site).  Apparel manufacture, for example, too often equates to sweatshop work that is based on modes of production and piece-wages that appears feudal in contrast to the kinds of factories that are recently attaining ISO9000, ISO14000, and SA8000 certification.

What about the influence of wage rates? Smith (1976) in the  Wealth of Nations, saw the choice about paying each worker a "living wage" was clear, economic and moral:

A man must always live by his work, and his wages must at least be sufficient to maintain him. They must even upon most occasions be somewhat more; otherwise it would be impossible for him to bring up a family, and the race of such workmen could not last beyond the first generation (Smith, 1776, CHAPTER VIII Of the Wages of Labour). 

Mary Parker Follett did improve upon Taylorism. For example, speaking directly to the duality of management/labor in Taylor’s separation of planning from doing, Follett notes the artificiality of Taylor's rhetorical and dualistic distinctions:
 
… No sharp line can be drawn between planning and executing … the line between those who manage and those who are managed has been in part artificial (1940/1925: 88).
 
She relied on her concept of "interpenetration" to make our point that management and labor could be seen as systemic and that the duality was fading.
 
 
The joint responsibility of management and labor is an interpenetrating responsibility, and is utterly different from responsibility divided off into sections, management having some and labor some (1940/1925: 78)

… Managing itself is an interpenetrating matter, that the distinction between those who manage and those who are managed is somewhat fading (1940/1925: 84).
 
 

What was revolutionary about Taylor's scientific management, was the observation that rest and refreshment are necessary to quality and sustained work. 

Taylor (1911: 92-96, 136-143) hypothesized that better working conditions including shorter hours (from 12 to 8.5 hours), rest periods four times a day, paid days off each month for "girls" (his term), and rigorous scientific work procedures would lead to both higher factory output and higher wage levels and therefore to more harmonious relations between employer and employees. Taylor also included "the consumers, who buy the product" of employer and employees "and who ultimately pay both the wages of the workmen and the profits of the employers" (p. 136). 

For Adam Smith (1759) the solution to sweatshops and sub-living wages was to influence capitalism with Moral Sentiments. 

The world at the turn of the century embarked upon experiments that proved in one industry after another that feudal sweatshop production was not as efficient or humane as scientific management. We can do the same in this century.

Scientific management, on the contrary, has for its very foundation the firm conviction that the true interest of the two [employer and employee] are one and the same; that prosperity for the employer cannot exist through a long term of years unless it is accompanied by prosperity for the employee, and vice versa' and that it is possible to give the workman what he most wants -- high wages -- and the employer what he wants -- a low labor cost -- for his manufactures (1911: 10).

Any profit gained by overwork and snatching time for mealtimes and rest breaks and from paying the least possible bare subsistence wage and over-work in unhealthy and unpleasant situations was meager compared to the output of the high productivity enterprise. In short, both Taylor and Marx held out solutions to sweatshops' "slow sacrifice of humanity" (Marx, 1867: 244).

For Marx, piece-wage was a special form of time-wage. "In time-wages the labor is measured by its immediate duration, in piece-wages by the quantity of products in which the labor has embodied itself during a given time" (1867: 553). And piece-wages, from his point of view, afforded the "source of reductions of wages and capitalistic cheating" of workers (p. 553). That is, with piece-wages, the incentive is for the capitalist to parasitically "sub-let" labor by using the services of middlemen (subcontractors). "In England this system is characteristically called the "Sweating system."

On the one hand piece-wage allows the capitalist to make a contract for so much per piece with the head laborer--in manufactures with the chief of some group, in mines with the extract of the coal, in the factory with the actual machine-worker--at a price for which the head laborer himself undertakes the enlisting and payment of his assistant workpeople (p. 554).

To Marx, it is in the personal interest of the subcontractor using piece-wage systems to "strain his labor-power as intensely as possible" by lengthening the working-day. And this is exactly what we have witnessed in apparel manufacture: without the external control of government or the global enterprise's policies and codes, subcontractors use piece-wage and extend the working day, as well as the number of days worked each month. In Marx's day, the "Children's Employment Commission: and other agencies intervened to change working and employment practices.

Piece-wage is the main pay system in today's apparel subcontract factory. Marx hypothesized that piece-wage is paid such that it becomes the average wage, thereby negating any incentive for independence, self-control, or liberty. "Piece-work has, therefore, a tendency, while raising the individual wages above the average, to lower this average itself" for the workforce. In practice, the quotas in the apparel industry are adjusted to keep the piece-wage to a bare minimum and working conditions such as rest periods and subcontractors avoid training in more efficient production methods, unless external controls are enforced. The assumption of the subcontractor is that since the alternative to work is starvation or more rigorous demands of agriculture, those workers have ample incentive to produce. This is defined here, as feudalistic sweatshop practice. We would like to conduct research that would implement and test experiments in alternative pay schemes.

Global Theatric Influences - The sweatshop is a "Theater of Terror," a "House of Pain." As Marx observed the sweatshops in Europe and the U.S. he saw modern management as the "vampire" sucking every last drop of blood and life from living labor (1867: 233).  He observed that noble citizens joined the "Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: while ignoring situations there workers were treated as beasts (p. 234).  He observed the "small thefts" for meal, recreation, and sleep time as well as the wage-cheating. "Children of nine or ten years are dragged from their squalid beds at two, three, or four o'clock in the morning and compelled to work for a bare subsistence until ten, eleven, or twelve at night, their limbs wearing away, their frames dwindling, their faces whitening, and their humanity absolutely sinking into a stone-like torpor, utterly horrible to contemplate" (1867: 243-4). The movement to establish shorter working hours was fought on behalf of children, then women, but men were left to toil at 16 and 18 hour days. And sweatshops does not refer to some work children still do. Millions of young females, in their teens and early twenties are sweated, and then terminated when the turn twenty three or four, or sooner if they become pregnant.  Excess worker is as Marx put it "the destroyer of the man" and he meant also the woman and the child (p. 256).  There are modern factories today, with the most high-tech equipment, whose management influence workers with the hunger and passion of the were-wolf and shut them away from sun light and fresh air, and work them unto death. 

For example, going back to Taylor (1911), his innovation in pay schemes was to introduce the idea of differential piece-rate systems. In his series of experiments he demonstrated that workers when performing a carefully calibrated and planned task, would increase their effort when wages increased by 60 per cent (p. 74). In short, raising quotas and extending the working day, were found to be less productive alternatives than ensuring "prosperity for the employee, coupled with prosperity for the employer" the key to his compensation philosophy.

For Taylor, the solution to feudalistic sweatshop factories was to convince employee and employer, that through scientific experimentation, work conditions and work processes could be redesigned so that workers toiled few hours, with more rest breaks, and at higher pay, while the firm enjoyed the fruits of sharp increases in production. It is our proposal to test Taylor's option in the apparel industry. That is to move from what is called "extreme Taylorism" managing work processes with central control and high division of labor, to what Taylor had originally described, a system of work which is productive for employers and prosperous for employees.

Taylor (1911: 14-18) argued that it is possible to have prosperity for both owners and workers and the diminution of poverty and the alleviation of human suffering. We believe this is an attainable objective for the Nike corporation, its subcontractors, and global workforce. Taylor concludes, "the writer has great sympathy with those who are over-worked, but on the whole a greater sympathy for those who are under paid" (p. 18). This is the gist of our attempt to prove that living wage payment and healthy working conditions combined with scientific work processes makes economic sense.

French Taylorism - Defined - In a special edition of Journal of Organizational Change Management, Dominique Besson and Slimane Haddadj (2000) review post-Taylor approaches. Different countries throughout the world including Asia and Europe have implemented Taylorism quite differently. We hypothesize the implementation in apparel factories in Southeast Asia is the reverse to the Taylorian philosophy itself, and even a return to the feudalistic factory conditions and piece-wage compensation schemes of the 1800s. By contrast, French Taylorists implemented what Besson (2000) describes a more postmodern approach. It is more accurately "critical postmodern." On the one hand, it is an approach with strong links to Braverman's (1976) Labor and Monopoly Capital project and Marx's (1867) critique of sweatshops and piece-wages. On the other hand, the postmodernists see a drift between what Taylorism was in Taylor's day, and what it is now, in France (and elsewhere). Instead of taking an anti-Taylorism approach, Besson (2000) argues that the post-war configurations of Taylorism in France have not adopted the deskilling system that Braverman points out. But are French workers more "empowered" compared to Asian workers?  French workers are not disempowered from their knowledge and know-how (Besson, 2000: 425). At the same time, French Taylorism achieved high increases in productivity and efficiency in "an informal kind of postmodern administration" (p. 426). First, instead of implementing flexible work rules, the French prefer to keep those rules more rigid, in order to give employees confidence in the work design. The French adjusted rigid Taylor principles to allow for continuous improvements in work designs and such postmodern notions as "work autonomy spaces" (p. 434). Second, the wage contract is considered an essential way in which workers negotiate with management in order to adjust work conditions, skill levels, wages, and the authority system. In this way workers in French Taylorism have a way to invoke resistance as well as ongoing-negotiation, as part of the work organization. This is not a totalizing consensus seeking strategy; it is one where parties know what side of the bargaining table they sit on. Third, instead of management total control over the system of work, employees can avoid such productive despotism by co-control over work processes. Multi-skilling, for example, is seen as a way to enhance worker's negotiating position. Fourth, Taylorism, in its French manifestation, is part of a plurality of perspectives. Management and worker, as well as customer and supplier have voice in the postmodern version. "There existed, and there still exists today, a coded social dialog between workers, union officials, organizers and the hierarchical management" (p. 434). Fifth, the French variation of Taylorism is based on a conflict-engagement approach in which employers and employees actively consider social power and diversity and the dangers of hegemony. Sixth, my own observations of French Taylorism is that working conditions, including good food, rest breaks, and those long French vacations make quite a difference.

Could Taylorism in France be assimilated into the Asian subcontract apparel system? It is a question that merits scientific study. Our proposed experiment stands as alternative to increased levels of governmental regulation of industry working conditions. French Taylorism is a mid range solution between trade unionism and feudalistic sweatshops. It is an improvement over classical Taylorism, that allows piece-wage systems to be modified in ways that increase productivity and worker wage levels, while affording workers avenues of resistance to totalizing systems of control.

I am working with 45 academics around the world who think that Nike and other apparel manufactuers can try French Taylorism, to demonstrate once and for all to Asian subcontractors and Nike executives, that sweatshops is just a wasteful way to do business, both in human and in profit terms.  How much money is the Gap, Nike, and Reebok spending to convince the public that sweatshops do not exist in their factories?  Yet, every month there is another expose, another academic report that says there is some spin control going on here. But, is scientific management has any validity at all, leaders with vision and an eye for manufacturing ought to be able to pay a lving wage, provide a healthy and well paced work environment and get higher productivity and more profits than the wasteful sweatshops.  And look at all the advertising dollars that could be saved trying to say it just is not so.

Before departing, there is a gross misinterpretation, I want to set straight. Many texts argue that Fayol and Taylor were mechanistic modernists. Actually, Fayol favored an organic metaphor for leading and organizing, while Taylor stayed with the mechanistic one. Fayol (1949/1916) launched a management knowledge revolution, Fayolism rivaled Taylorism in popularity. Fayol’s five functions (he mostly called them elements) are planning, organizing, command, co-ordination, and control. But, he was organic in his rhetoric instead of mechanistic.

Fayol’s Organic Architecture Most management historians have missed the organic analogy at the heart of Fayol’s rhetoric. Fayol is no mechanistic author. He is writing an organic/biblical model of the firm, complete with Fourteen Commandments, and a testimony of its five elementary organs. The body Corporate is his organic metaphor. Here he gives an organic and evolutionary (teleology) to the division of work commandment/principle:
 
As society grows, so new organs develop destined to replace the single one performing all functions in the primitive state (p. 20)
Throughout his text, Fayol builds up an organic metaphor of evolutionary survival. For example, in the division of work, it is progress and survival. In unity of direction, he writes:
A body with two heads is in the social as in the animal sphere a monster, and has difficulty in surviving (p. 25).
 
Man is but a cell in the body corporate, with managers being nerves to co-ordinate among the body organs (functions). Man is a cell, the department is a functional organ, and the organization combines the elements of the body. The nervous system is management:
Man in the body corporate plays a role like that of the cell in the animal, single cell in the case of the one-man business, thousandth or millionth part of the body corporation in the large-scale enterprise (p. 158).
In the social organism, as in the animal, a small number of essential functional elements account for an infinite variety of activities… The nervous system in particular bears close comparison with the managerial function. Being present and active in every organ, it normally has no specialized member and is not apparent to the superficial observer, but everywhere it receives impressions which it transmits first to the lower centers (reflexes) and thence, if need be, to the brain or organ of direction. From these centers or from the brain the order then goes out in inverse direction to the member or section concerned with carrying out the movement. The body corporate, like an animal, has its reflex responses or ganglia which take place without immediate intervention on the part of the higher authority and without nervous or managerial activity the organism becomes an inert mass and quickly decays (p. 59-60).
 
To lead and co-ordinate was to harmonize and facilitate all the organs of the firm "it is giving to the material and social, functional, organic whole such proportions as were suitable to enable it to play its part assuredly and economically" (p. 103). While the difference in Fayol and Follett are legion, there are important overlaps.

Both are designing theory of the firm as a whole and organic enterprise. Both are focused on harmony and co-ordination. Both seek to overcome the duality of management and capital and capital and labor. But Fayol does end up with many dualisms when the work is done, and these continue into current times. Here is an example of harmony of capital and labor, even an acknowledgement of Follett’s co-operative model of the firm.
 
Profit sharing … the idea of making workers share in profits is a very attractive one and it would seem that it is from there [their] harmony between capital and labor should come (p. 29).
 
Like Follett, Fayol way that departments would avoid co-ordination, and get "water-tight" boundaries, each not Knowing the other, with no general corporate interest or loyalty (p. 104). To co-ordinate Fayol proposed weekly conferences of department heads, and the formation of liaison officer positions when conferencing was not enough (such as in distant relationships. This anticipates the work of Burns and Stalker (1961) who dualize mechanistic/organic, providing for conferences and liaisons as ways of organic adaptation to co-ordination with technological and environmental demands. It is also an anticipation of the work on boundary spanning of the 1970 and 1980s.

One of the differences between Fayol and Follett, was over power.  For Fayol, power was in the position. Follett believed that power could not be delegated, shared, or assigned, only grown. 

Authority and Responsibility.
Authority is the right to give orders and the power to exact obedience. Responsibility accrues to those who have position authority. If you have responsibility, you must also have commensurate authority.

Taylor's impact on leadership is felt to this day. 

Impact on TQM
Impact on Reengineering
Impact on Pay for Performance
Disney example
Fayol is still having his impact:
First Organic Theory of the Firm
Fayol's functions of management is still the ruling paradigm of management

Conclusions

It may be time to spend more time on the modernism of Table One (and Figure One) than the failed attempts to contain leadership in Table Two.  Modernist leadership continues to renew itself. If we look beneath the postmodern architecture of Disney, there is a factory there, and the labor producing most of the good is sweating. In the Theme Parks, we mount the carts that are chained to the conveyor belts; we pay to ride on the assembly lines. Las Vegas uses Disney theme rides and spectacles galore to keep people playing their machines.  McDonaldization is everywhere the main paradigm of leadership and organization.  Why else would leadership theory waste so much time and energy pretending it has moved beyond bureaucratic authority, when just the opposite is the case.  Look through Table One and most of what comes up as leadership dies not go a stone's throw from Weber's typology.  And Table One refuses to deal with the critical modern aspects of Table Two.  A very conservative modernist theory, still wedded to systemic modernism is apparent here.

I am in search of leadership, Out of the Box. I think to get there, we will need to put the modernist XYZ box of leadership on stage, and put the missing walls on stage, so that the spectator can critically review this modernist play. Perhaps the spectators might awaken from their hallucination, and find festive alternatives to predatory capitalism on the world stage.

 

 

WWW LINKS

Bureaucratic Leadership - Weber Style

Modern Leadership Las Vegas Style 

Leadership Inside the Box

Fathers and Mothers of Mod Leadership

 

LINKS TO JUST SAY IT AIN'T SO - NO SWEAT HERE:

Cruel Treatment Working for Nike in Indonesia  Urban Community Mission Survey Report, December 1999 Source: Press For Change Jeff Ballinger Jeffrey_Ballinger/FS/KSG%KSG@harvard.edu 

Dara O'Rourke, a professor of environmental and labor policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported that "PwC's monitoring efforts are significantly flawed," said Dr. O'Rourke,  "PwC's audit reports glossed over problems of freedom of association and collective bargaining, overlooked serious violations of health and safety standards, and failed to report common problems in wages and hours."  On the other hand, ..."Pricewaterhouse officials defended their monitoring, saying their inspectors often uncover violations of minimum wage, overtime and safety laws. But these officials acknowledged that the firm's inspectors occasionally missed things that an expert on industrial hygiene, like Professor O'Rourke, would uncover" (Source  Stephen Greenhouse "Report Says Global Accounting Firm Overlooks Factory Abuses"  New York Times, September 28, 2000). To download entire report using ADOBE see http://web.mit.edu/dorourke/www/PDF/pwc.pdf 

The article looks at the auditing practices of PWC for Wal-Mart, Timberland, New Balance, and Nike. The implication is that "auditing systems can miss serious problems -- and that self-policing allows companies to avoid painful public relations about them." And therefore a study of self-monitoring, PWC, FLA and other monitoring systems is needed.  "While no company suggests that its auditing systems are perfect, most say they catch major abuses and either force suppliers to fix them or yank production."  (Source: Roberts, Dexter & Bernstein, Aaron "A Life of Fines and beatings," Business Week, October 2, 2000 pp. 123-128).

Report Says Global Accounting Firm Overlooks Factory Abuses. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/09/28/business/28SWEA.html September 28, 2000 By STEVEN GREENHOUSE

Ballinger, Jeff replying to this proposal, sent in this article on 16 September, 2000 Nike: American dream on RI sweat from Jakarta news. 

The Olympic Living Wage Project - The Olympic Living Wage Project, sponsored by Press for Change, and done in collaboration with the Nicaraguan Solidarity Committee, NikeWatch, and Call to Action USA, is an international human rights project focusing on the lives of sweatshop workers in Nike’s Indonesian shoe factories. The Project sets out what it takes to live on Indonesian wages at a Nike factory See http://www.nikewages.org/addressing.html 

"Global Alliance gives Asian workers a voice." Newly released data reveals first-ever look inside factories from workers' perspective. For Release September 6, 2000. Washington, D.C. - Amidst the debate about working conditions in overseas manufacturing facilities, the workers themselves finally get a voice with the release of a comprehensive independent assessment of 3,800 Nike footwear and apparel workers in Vietnam and Thailand. The survey was conducted by the Global Alliance for Workers and Communities. http://www.theglobalalliance.com/content/press2.cfm Maria Eitel, Vice President Corporate Responsibility, Nike, Inc., United States is on the Board of Global Alliance. The approach is to conduct focus groups and surveys with workers and managers. http://www.theglobalalliance.com/content/about.cfm (Jeff Ballinger adds Global Alliance is a "Public Relations firm responsible for this has also done work for Niketown, (Michael) Jordan brand, Disney, Hasbro..." -- The implication is that the study group review the research methods and findings. See also http://www.nikebiz.com/media/n_enhance.shtml 

There is a September, 2000 critique of the Global Alliance methodology and findings available http://www.cleanclothes.org/companies/nike00-09-15.htm   The new study was conducted by Junya Yimprasert of the Thai Labour Campaign and looks into the situation at Luen Thai, one of the five subcontract factories. The report contends that "10% of workers at five Thai factories producing garments and footwear for Nike were surveyed by the Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute (CUSRI) as part of the Global Alliance for Workers and Communities project, an initiative that includes Nike, the World Bank, the International Youth Foundation, and others... What they fail to report is how workplace conditions have been defined. For the purposes of the Global Alliance study, "workplace conditions" does not include several major topics of concern to Thai garment and footwear workers. What's missing from the Global Alliance report are worker's opinions on issues relating to wages, hours of work, freedom of association and collective bargaining. Though Nike describes the Global Alliance as part of Nike's overall monitoring program this initiative is clearly not investigating issues of basic workers rights." According to the main report at http://www.cleanclothes.org/companies/nike00-09-15-1.htm  "In the Global Alliance study selected workers were asked to answer multiple choice questions. In this way, their priorities were suggested for them."  Finally, after interviewing Luen Thai workers, the Thai Labour Campaign found that "...they felt that the questionnaires were guiding them and tried to encourage them to conduct activities at the community level. The workers questioned why they, the workers, have to do community development while their working conditions were not improved." Please consult the report for additional issues related to methodology.

There is a new survey of wages in Indonesia conducted between 10 September and 18 October 1999.  The Urban Community Mission in Jakarta worked with Workers to survey 3,500 workers from 11 different Nike contract factories. The survey results allege that sweatshop and abusive management practices are widespread Review the survey in preparation for your response. (Press here for survey results). 

 

References

Besson, Dominique (2000) "France in the 1950s: Taylorian modernity brought about by postmodern organizers?" Journal of Organizational Change Management. Vol. 13: (5): 423-438.

Besson, Dominique & Haddadj, Slimane (2000) Towards a post-Taylorian approach to Taylorism. Special guest issue of Journal of Organizational Change Management. Vol. 13: (5).

Boje, D. M. 2000b "Phenomenal Complexity Theory and Change at Nike: Response to Letiche."

Marx, Karl (1867) Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume I The Process of Capitalist Production. Translated from the Third German Edition by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling, Edited by Frederick Engels. NY: L.W. Schmidt; 1967 edition, NY: International Publishers.

Taylor, Frederick Winslow (1911) The Principles of Scientific Management. NY: W.W. Norton & company, Inc. 1947 edition.