Stewart Macaulay teaches contracts at the University of Wisconsin Law School and is interested in the part the legal system plays in implementing, regulating, and hindering economic relationships, and how it does these things. This book is a descriptive analysis of organizational change that has resulted from automobile dealers' attempts to find a legal remedy for what they consider unfair practices of the manufacturers. It advances our understanding of the limitations and the positive functions of formal rules in the regulation of human conduct, and shows how informal procedures can develop as a result of pressure for changes in the formal rules.
Bernhard Rieger reveals how a car commissioned by Hitler and designed by Ferdinand Porsche became a global commodity on a par with Coca-Cola. The Beetle's success hinged on its uncanny ability to capture the imaginations of executives, engineers, advertisers, car collectors, suburbanites, hippies, and everyday drivers aross nations and cultures.
Alfred P. Sloan Jr. became the president of General Motors in 1923 and stepped down as its CEO in 1946. During this time, he led GM past the Ford Motor Company and on to international business triumph by virtue of his brilliant managerial practices and his insights into the new consumer economy he and GM helped to produce. Bill Gates has said that Sloan's 1964 management tome, My Years with General Motors, "is probably the best book to read if you want to read only one book about business." And if you want to read only one book about Sloan, that book should be historian David Farber's Sloan Rules.
Here, for the first time, is a study of both the difficult man and the pathbreaking executive. Sloan Rules reveals the GM genius as not only a driven manager of men, machines, money, and markets but also a passionate and not always wise participant in the great events of his day. Sloan, for example, reviled Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal; he firmly believed that politicians, government bureaucrats, and union leaders knew next to nothing about the workings of the new consumer economy, and he did his best to stop them from intervening in the private enterprise system. He was instrumental in transforming GM from the country's largest producer of cars into the mainstay of America's "Arsenal of Democracy" during World War II; after the war, he bet GM's future on renewed American prosperity and helped lead the country into a period of economic abundance. Through his business genius, his sometimes myopic social vision, and his vast fortune, Sloan was an architect of the corporate-dominated global society we live in today.
David Farber's story of America's first corporate genius is biography of the highest order, a portrait of an extraordinarily compelling and skillful man who shaped his era and ours.
From Chinese factories making cheap toys for export, to sweatshops in Bangladesh where name-brand garments are sewn—studies on the impact of globalization on workers have tended to focus on the worst jobs and the worst conditions. But in When Good Jobs Go Bad, Jeffrey Rothstein looks at the impact of globalization on a major industry—the North American auto industry—to reveal that globalization has had a deleterious effect on even the most valued of blue-collar jobs.
Rothstein argues that the consolidation of the Mexican and U.S.-Canadian auto industries, the expanding number of foreign automakers in North America, and the spread of lean production have all undermined organized labor and harmed workers. Focusing on three General Motors plants assembling SUVs—an older plant in Janesville, Wisconsin; a newer and more viable plant in Arlington, Texas; and a “greenfield site” (a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility) in Silao, Mexico—When Good Jobs Go Bad shows how global competition has made nonstop, monotonous, standardized routines crucial for the survival of a plant, and it explains why workers and their local unions struggle to resist. For instance, in the United States, General Motors forced workers to accept intensified labor by threatening to close plants, which led local unions to adopt “keep the plant open” as their main goal. At its new factory in Silao, GM had hand-picked the union—one opposed to strikes and committed to labor-management cooperation—before it hired the first worker.
Rothstein’s engaging comparative analysis, which incorporates the viewpoints of workers, union officials, and management, sheds new light on labor’s loss of bargaining power in recent decades, and highlights the negative impact of globalization on all jobs, both good and bad, from the sweatshop to the assembly line.
At its peak in the 1950s and 1960s, automobile manufacturing was the largest, most profitable industry in the United States and residents of industry hubs like Detroit and Flint, Michigan had some of the highest incomes in the country. Over the last half-century, the industry has declined, and American automakers now struggle to stay profitable. How did the most prosperous industry in the richest country in the world crash and burn? In Wrecked, sociologists Joshua Murray and Michael Schwartz offer an unprecedented historical-sociological analysis of the downfall of the auto industry. Through an in-depth examination of labor relations and the production processes of automakers in the U.S. and Japan both before and after World War II, they demonstrate that the decline of the American manufacturers was the unintended consequence of their attempts to weaken the bargaining power of their unions.
Today Japanese and many European automakers produce higher quality cars at lower cost than their American counterparts thanks to a flexible form of production characterized by long-term sole suppliers, assembly and supply plants located near each other, and just-in-time delivery of raw materials. While this style of production was, in fact, pioneered in the U.S. prior to World War II, in the years after the war, American automakers deliberately dismantled this system. As Murray and Schwartz show, flexible production accelerated innovation but also facilitated workers’ efforts to unionize plants and carry out work stoppages. To reduce the efficacy of strikes and combat the labor militancy that flourished between the Depression and the postwar period, the industry dispersed production across the nation, began maintaining large stockpiles of inventory, and eliminated single sourcing. While this restructuring of production did ultimately reduce workers’ leverage, it also decreased production efficiency and innovation. The U.S. auto industry has struggled ever since to compete with foreign automakers, and formerly thriving motor cities have suffered the consequences of mass deindustrialization.
Murray and Schwartz argue that new business models that reinstate flexible production and prioritize innovation rather than cheap labor could stem the outsourcing of jobs and help revive the auto industry. By clarifying the historical relationships between production processes, organized labor, and industrial innovation, Wrecked provides new insights into the inner workings and decline of the U.S. auto industry.