this paper presents the debate about factory modernisation effects on worker's attitudes to the employer and the union. it results from a study drawn on a research at brazilian white goods industry during the 1990s. some commentators have suggested that employers who modernise their factory will become dependent on the skills and attitudes of their employees. others suggest that workers in modernised firms will be persuaded to go 'beyond contract' due to the emergence of a strong and direct form of attachment to their employer. moreover, it is uncertain what effect this may have on workers' attitudes to their union. while the results are influenced by the brazilian context they do raise questions about the attitudinal and behavioural underpinnings of modernisation in any environment.