Why do operators behave irresponsibly? Why is there so much apathy, frustration, fear, and mistrust on the production line? Why do paradoxes exist on the shop floor?
In his book, Verkerk investigates the shop floor processes of modern factories. Two ethnographical case studies are presented from the perspective of a factory manager. He asks many important questions. Are we making the right observations? Why are new production concepts failing in modern factories? Are we overlooking the fundamental characteristics of industrial organisations? Are we ignoring the meaning of labour?
Verkerk approaches these questions from different perspectives: ethnography, organisational design theory, and philosophy. He shows that high-trust and high-power relations between management and employees are the basic conditions for responsible, accountable, and successful organisations. In an engaging philosophical argument, he develops an ethics of responsibility combining the ideas of humanity, trust and power on the shop floor, and the normative development of organisational structures.
Maarten J. Verkerk (1953) worked as a factory manager for Philips for many years. He has published several books on the theory of organisation. His work is positioned at the crossroads between the Dutch school of Socio-Technical Systems Design and the Christian-philosophical tradition of social criticism.