All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Master of Business Administration (MBA)


College of Business & Professional Studies

Degree Program



Business Administration


Motor Vehicle, Cars, Manufacturing, Japan, Workers, GM, General Motors, UAW


The American automobile industry is facing unprecedented challenging times. Import sales are continuing to grab up domestic market share, the total number of passenger cars sold in the years ahead is predicted to level off and new plants are being constructed which will lead to manufacturing overcapacity. In the recent past, American auto companies have looked toward Japan for answers regarding high quality, low costs and stable labor relations.

For more than one hundred years, the automobile industry has surged forward under the momentum of the industrial revolution. If we take it as inevitable that the advent of factory production, low-cost transportation and communication, and a few other innovations would bring about a great increase in wealth in our nation, then the scene was set and the auto industry was destined to grow. No matter what the auto companies did or failed to do, there would be growth, wealth, and success of an economic sort. In this setting, whatever beliefs developed about management were bound to be supported by success. It was not until the auto industry depression of the early 1980's and Chrysler's near collapse, that the companies took a very serious look at their method of operations.

Many Japanese management practices were reviewed, studied and adopted by American managers. Organizational change was needed to survive. The emphasis has begun to be placed on the individual worker to seek his participation and dedication to company goals. However, the underlying properties of these individuals cannot be changed in major ways. Above all they will continue to be self-interested. Organizations cannot "change'' their employees. However, organizations can change their internal social structures in a manner which simultaneously satisfies competitive needs for a more fully integrated form and the needs of individual employees for the satisfaction of their individual self-interest. In light of these discoveries, American auto firms have begun adopting various human-resource participation strategies, and one -- the "team concept" strategy is the subject of the analysis of this thesis.

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