University of Hertfordshire

Ford V Fordism: The Beginning of Mass production

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Karel Williams
  • Colin Haslam
  • John Williams
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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Fordism of Ford and Modern Management
EditorsHuw Beynon, Theo Nichols
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
PagesChapter 6
ISBN (Print)1858989485, 9781858989488
Publication statusPublished - 2006


This article questions the stereotypes of Fordism and mass production. It does so by demonstrating that there is a contradiction between the stereotypes and the reality of Henry Ford's manufacturing practice in production of the Model T at the Highland Park factory between 1909 and 1919. Highland Park was not an inflexible factory which combined dedicated equipment, Taylorised semi-skilled workers and a standardised product. More positively, the article quantifies Ford's heroic achievement in taking two-thirds of the labour hours out of the product at the same time as he built more of each car. Ford used productive intervention to realise manufacturing flow through proto-Japanese manufacturing techniques which involved a commitment to continuous improvement.

ID: 543964