The promotion of social partnership and management techniques of the high performance workplace has become central to the political agenda of 'modernization' at work. Policies aimed at 'democratizing' the workplace by way of new forms of employee participation and co-operative industrial relations can, it is argued, offer firms a 'high road' to market competitiveness and business success. This book questions such assumptions. It provides an alternative perspective that penetrates the realities (rather than the rhetoric) of the modernization project. The authors adopt critical analysis of concrete processes of change and place at the centre of their enquiry the interests of workers - those who are often the objects of managerial initiatives rather than democratic participants. The book provides rich case study data of the attitudes and work experiences of skilled manual and non-manual workers in the UK's aerospace industry, a location of high skill 'knowledge work' that has been under-researched compared to other employment sectors. A fascinating picture emerges of conflicting interests and deep contradictions in the regulation of the employment relationship.

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