Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award

1990

Degree

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

College

College of Business & Professional Studies

Degree Program

Business

Department

Business Administration

Keywords

skilled, labor, union, export

Abstract

The emphasis of this study is to analyze the joint cooperative efforts of labor and management in the American automobile industry to meet foreign competition.

In the past, America was the undisputed number one automobile producer in the world. Now, with the influx of intense foreign competition, the American industry finds itself on shaky ground. Their market share is reduced, quality is questioned, and their status as number one is imperiled.

To combat this situation, the industry has turned to something unthinkable in the past: joint cooperation. To understand the major change in thought that is required to accept joint cooperation, it is necessary to realize the adversarial relationship that labor and management has had in the industry almost since its inception. It’s been a relationship of suspicion, disdain, and, at times, downright hatred. However, noting the success of the Japanese auto makers who use joint cooperation (employee involvement) programs, the United States automobile manufacturers decided to give it a try.

What started only out of necessity for survival, has turned into a positive arrangement. Joint cooperation has been a success at many American auto plants. It has improved production, quality, and morale. Employees feel they are having a real impact on decision making at these successful plants. Granted, it has not been a total success. It has failed at a few plants because of militant unionists who see joint cooperation as union busting and because of old-line managers who refuse to relinquish any power to the labor force. Still, it appears to be America’s best approach to remaining competitive in what truly is a global market.

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

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