The control of technological change in the motor industry
: a case study

  • Harry Scarbrough

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis is based upon a case study of the introduction of automated production technologies at the Longbridge plant of British Leyland in the period 1978 to 1980.The investment in automation was part of an overall programme of modernization to manufacture the new 'Mini Metro' model.
    In the first Section of the thesis, the different theoretical perspectives on technological change are discussed. Particular emphasis is placed upon the social
    role of management as the primary controllers of technological change. Their actions are seen to be oriented towards the overall strategy of the firm,
    integrating the firm's competitive strategy with production methods and techniques.This analysis is grounded in an examination of British Leyland's strategies during the 1970s..
    The greater part of the thesis deals with the efforts made by management to secure their strategic objectives in the process of technological change against the conflicting claims of their work-force. Examination of these efforts is linked to the development of industrial relations conflict at Longbridge and in British Leyland as a whole.Emphasis is placed upon the struggle between management in
    pursuit of their version of efficiency and the trade unions in defence of job controls and demarcations.
    The thesis concludes that the process of technological change in the motor industry is controlled by social forces,with the introduction of new technologies
    being closely intertwined with management!s political relations with the trade unions.
    Date of AwardMay 1982
    Original languageEnglish


    • technology
    • British Leyland
    • motor industry
    • unions

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