Objectives. This paper wants mainly to enlarge the debate about management systems for the production efficiency and their impact on job satisfaction and staff’s motivation. The ample literature concerning these systems proposes initiatives linked to the Japanese lean and total quality management (TQM) as new systems for improving work organisation and job design. However, changes introduced by these management systems are sometimes not that positive and a number of criticisms have been put forward and discussed by scholars. Methodology. The research has been carried out by means of some interviews within fifteen case studies. The interviewees were workers directly involved in new initiatives for improving efficiency and productivity and workers less involved but in any case who have to become accustomed to the new tasks and rules. The interview is based on a semi-structured questionnaire. In particular the questionnaire contains opened questions related to overall satisfaction, motivation, relationships with other workers and managers, as well as workplace organisation. Findings. Interesting results show how it is not taken for granted that new management systems increases job satisfaction. Some aspects have been criticised from the interviewed workers, while features concerning workplace organisation have been appreciated. Research limits. This qualitative inquiry has been carried out in Italy using only fifteen case studies. Practical implications. Nowadays lean, and TQM represents the most implemented management systems in manufacturing industries. Therefore, the findings can be helpful for practitioners who are trying to implement successfully these systems. Originality of the study. The paper investigates different characteristics of job satisfaction and motivation in environments where management systems for improving efficiency and productivity are applied
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