Informations and abstract
During the '70s, manufacturing production starts to experience the crisis of work organization systems based on Taylor and Ford rules of production, due to the spread of electronics (processes and products), the shift from standard to more diverse product markets and, above all, due to employees' discontent over poor and unskilled jobs. Employers, unions and Governments of some countries - like Scandinavia and Germany - started joint programmes of what is known as "institutional" participation to implement new forms of work organization. After over 40 years, organizational innovation based on the Toyota production system and the lean manufacturing model is promoting a new version of employee involvement, mainly through teamworking and bottom-up staff suggestion schemes for continuous improvement. Contrary to what happened in that case, so far the only or main channel of implementation of these new forms of "direct" participation in Italy has been management or employer action. Comparing these two different experiences and analysing success and failures can enable social partners to better understand possible industrial relations strategies than can be adopted in order to contribute to improving both productivity and quality of working life.