A vivid exposť of the use of Quality Circles at Johnson & Johnson's
Quality Circles and Anti-Unionism in American Industry
Search the full text of this book
Guillermo J. Grenier
This vivid exposť of the use of Quality Circles by a major company to defeat a union organizing drive dramatically presents a negative view of the highly acclaimed new humanism in American management. Guillermo Grenier gives a unique insiderís account of Johnson & Johnsonís implementation of the workplace reform technique called Quality of Worklife or Quality Circles as a union-busting tactic. He describes this and other methods of controlling workers, which are veiled by the benevolent rhetoric of the new managers, and shows how the supposed "democratic reforms" often have autocratic underpinnings and results.
For seven months in 1982-83, the author worked as a graduate researcher under the social psychologist in charge of Team development at a Johnson & Johnson division in Albuquerque. "Team" is the name used by the company for the quality circle technique of organizing workers into small groups that discuss problems on a regular basis. The Team approach, Grenier explains, "in fact increased the conflict not only between management and worker but between the workers themselves. With calculated precision, the workforce was divided and eventually conquered because management controlled their formal and informal interactions while at the workplace."
Timely, controversial, and dramatic, Inhuman Relations presents the view that human relations management techniques have a strong anti-union tradition and have developed into liberal, acceptable methods of controlling the workforce.
Guillermo J. Grenier is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Labor Research and Studies at Florida International University.
In the series
Labor and Social Change, edited by Paula Rayman and Carmen Sirianni.
Labor and Social Change, edited by Paula Rayman and Carmen Sirianni, includes books on workplace issues like worker participation, quality of work life, shorter hours, technological change, and productivity, as well as union and community organizing and ethnographies of particular occupations.