their trade, rather than to 'broaden' the skill base of the trades and create tradespeople with industrial knowledge in a multitude of areas. In some cases, a secondary objective may be to train trades in new skills in order to allow them to complete their job, provided, however, that the integrity of the trade is not undermined" (USW Guidelines for Participation in Work Organization, 1992:3, quoted in Klein, 1994:151).
A study of the effects of different degrees of change in job structures and related human resource management practices in this industry demonstrated the value of making these changes. Ichniowski, Shaw, and Prennushi (1997) identified four distinct systems of work organization and complementary human resource practices in this industry. They found that the system embodying the most innovative practices produced the highest levels of productivity and quality.
The Auto Industry The auto industry also underwent major changes in the 1980s and 1990s, again in response to international competitive pressures. Empirical studies (Katz et al., 1987; MacDuffie, 1996) demonstrated that the greatest payoffs to productivity and quality came from a systemic transformation of work structures from traditional narrow jobs to team-based work systems accompanied by changes in complementary human resource and labor-management relations. A traditional auto assembly plant might have over 100 different job titles, whereas at the Saturn Corporation, where work is organized around a team system, there is one title for production workers and six titles for skilled trades. But studies done at Saturn and other parts of the industry (Katz et al., 1987; Rubinstein, forthcoming) have found that the payoffs to quality and productivity depend not only on the team-based structures but also on the extent to which teams are embedded in a broader set of complementary human resource innovations and team members and leaders are engaged in high levels of within-team and cross-team communications and problem solving.
The Japanese-based plants located in the United States—Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, and Mitsubishi—have all introduced variants on team-based work systems. Partial or fully developed team systems and related work and human resource