The Quality of Work Life Movement

In 1973, the United Automobile Workers sent a letter to its members at a Harman International auto parts plant in Bolivar, TN, describing the simple, but perhaps revolutionary, idea behind an experiment being conducted there. The letter stated: “We are at that point in time where workers should have more to say about their job and how it should be run. They should participate in a meaningful way in making decisions about the job and the work place— decisions which in the past were made pretty much exclusively by management.”

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When the workers in the Harman experiment were, in fact, given more of a say, they began to fashion new ways of doing things at the plant. They formed cooperative work teams, assigned responsibilities and controlled their own time and scheduling. As ob¬servers described it, people became more involved and interested in their jobs. Continue reading