In this paper we wish to draw on comparative survey data collected at the GM plant in Ellsemere Port (Britain) and the Fiat plant at Melfi (Italy) to debate the assumption that new forms of work and organisation of the labour process, which
have been introduced under the High Performance Work Systems (HPWS), lead to the improvement in employee experience of employment in the automotive industry. Thus, the article aims to critically evaluate the claims made by the literature for HPWS the heir to lean production regarding its putative positive
impact upon employees. Conclusions are that HPWS can be understood as a distinctive pattern of management strategies developed to confront workplace labour organization. Rather than to empower employees and produce high workers’ quality of working life, we suggest they produce unevenness on the
latter measured in terms of employee perceptions of the consequences of factory regimes on, work intensification, performance monitoring, stress, work-life balance and employee consultation.