Harley-Davidson motorcycles may be the darling of the American public, but the employees who make these motorcycles aren't too happy, and now they're going to be in a sour mood. A memo recently circulated in the Harley motorcycle factory in York stating that music is no longer allowed. No radio, no boom boxes, no iPods, no headphones, etc. There will no music piped-in via the intercom music. Just the sound of machines and the grunts of the laborers.
According to Harley-Davidson, this is done to improve safety and productivity. Somehow I don't think safety is that paramount, unless you count the safety of the dollar. Productivity, especially in today's economic and financial crisis, is vital. Competition from low cost producing areas of the world is killing manufacturing in the Western world.
But is preventing music going to increase productivity? Much research has been done over the years, since it's not the first time this happens. Just read this New York Times article. You'll get the gist.
Music improves productivity. It focuses employees, and it makes them happier. And happy employees are more productive. And since this is a factory where there were already strikes in 2007, and the employees are not happy in general, I'm sure that now the Harley employees are anything but happy. And unhappy employees make motorcycles that aren't too healthy.