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HRM Research Seminar

  • Date: Friday, September 15, 2017
  • Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Venue: Room N204
  • Location: UCD Smurfit School

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HRM & ER Subject Area Research Seminar
Semester 1, 2017-2018
Friday, September 15th
Time: 12pm – 13.00pm
Venue: N204 - UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

The HRM & ER Subject Area is hosting a research seminar entitled “Experiencing lean production in the auto supply sector: Case-study evidence from Italy and US” by Dr. Andrea Signoretti, faculty member at the University of Trento, Italy. The seminar will take place on Friday, 15th September 2017 from 12pm to 13pm in Smurfit Graduate School of Business, room N204. Please feel free to circulate it with your students and colleagues from other institutions who might be interested in the topic. Practitioners are very welcome too.


The author examines lean working experiences and the processes explaining such results through a case-study comparison involving one Italian and US plant in the automotive supply sector, by using a mixed method /multiple source design. After more than 30 years from its implementation in the automotive sector, none of the three early predictions (optimistic, pessimistic and transformation theorists) concerning the social performance of lean production proved to be entirely accurate. The findings of the two cases show that some type of hybrid of the more traditional arms-length union-management relationship continues to be applied. In the US factory, a ‘low-road lean production’ has emerged, while in the Italian case the union has more strongly resisted the negative aspects of lean production without favouring employee involvement though. Second, an analytical framework combining actors’ agency, institutional factors constituted by collective bargaining and supply relations, and market pressures is elaborated to explain why unions behave differently in the two factories.

ANDREA SIGNORETTI is a faculty member at the Department of Sociology, University of Trento, Italy. He has published his research in important international journals, like the British Journal of Industrial Relations, Economic and Industrial Democracy and The Singapore Economic Review, as well as papers in Italian academic journals. He has also published the book,Fabbriche Globali. Un confronto fra Torino e Detroit with the highly prestigious Italian publisher Il Mulino. Currently, Andrea is working on the issue of organizational innovation, lean production, and unions’ role within medium-sized companies.

Andrea holds a PhD in Economic Sociology from the University of Brescia (2012). His research focused on an international case-study comparison between one Italian and one American company in the automotive supply sector on the themes of human resource management and labour relations. In the course of his research, Andrea spent several months in Detroit as a Visiting-Scholar at the Wayne State University.

Since completing his PhD, Andrea has continued to work at the interface of the sociology of work, human resource management and industrial relations. He has collaborated with colleagues in universities and research centres outside of Italy in an attempt to place his studies within an international perspective.

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