once a year, including advice on the application of lasers, development of newapplications, planning of systems, qualification on these new systems. There is also anational competence network just for this specialized technology. Even in suchhighly specialized niches, Stuttgart has not created unique organizations.Vocational training and the re-regulation of the training system in the 1980s wereother areas where national organizations were fundamental.
The employers’federations as well as the unions participated in a complex interplay between firms,public institutions and the workforce, initiating training efforts and co-deciding onorganizational tasks of training (Streeck et al 1987). It can be argued that this systemresponds slowly to needs for change, as new curricula have to be integrated into thecourses of the public vocational schools, occupational profiles have to be recreatedetc. In our interviews this was less discussed as a problem with respect to thechallenges of the 1980s than for more recent ones. In general, entrepreneurs arguedthat the high skill level of trained Facharbeiter made it easy to retrain workers forCNC-machines. Further training is the responsibility of the firm, which preparesworkers for its specific niche competence.
The results of our interviews hereconfirmed the analysis carried out by Bergmann et al. (1986), who also pointed outthat adjustment of training profiles in the machinery industry was not problematic.A community governance mode requires vertical or horizontal ties on an informalbasis between firms, and some common values supporting their mutual help andcooperation. We found indeed several firms which had friendly relations withothers, and which were able to rely on their help. In one case all employees of abankrupt firm were found work by a neighbouring company (Interview BW-F-14).
In another case a firm allowed a competitor to use a certain component for which itdid not itself have the know-how (Interview BW-F03). The most recent examplesresulted from the pressure on small firms in an environment of increasedinternationalization. In the growth period of the 1980s most firms saw only risks ingiving information on their products or developments to other firms. This changedduring the crisis, though cooperation remained on a bilateral base (Interview BW-F-01).
Some firms kept their cooperation a secret, because they did not want theircustomers and employees to know. Joint developments were than safeguarded by anexternal bureau, to ensure that neither firm had knowledge of the specialcompetence of the other (Interview BW-F-10). It was difficult to discover any sharedvalues as a base for the joint production of LCCGs. Two entrepreneurs said that