Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, a newly appointed Professor in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and former Dean and Professor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign, has consulted with UAW and Ford for over two decades.

  • Inside the Ford-UAW Transformation

    Inside the Ford-UAW Transformation

    Pivotal Events in Valuing Work and Delivering Results

    Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Dan Brooks, and Martin Mulloy

    How the partnership between Ford and the UAW, forged through more than fifty pivotal events, transformed their capacity to combine good jobs with high performance.

    In 2009, the Ford Motor Company was the only one of the Big Three automakers not to take the federal bailout package. How did Ford remain standing when its competitors were brought to their knees? It was a gutsy decision, but it didn't happen in isolation. The United Auto Workers joined with Ford to make this possible—not only in 2009, but in a series of more than fifty pivotal events during three decades that add up to a transformation that simultaneously values work and delivers results.

    The pivotal events—some planned and some unplanned; some at the facility level and some at the enterprise level –were not all successful. All had the potential, however, to further the transformation, and all provide insight into how large-scale system change really happens. The authors—each with years of experience with Ford, the UAW, and the industry—provide an unprecedented inside look at how core operating assumptions are shifted and at the emergence of integrated operating systems for quality, safety, and other aspects of the enterprise. It is a transformation built on a foundation of dignity and mutual respect, guided by a vision of combining good jobs with high performance.

Contributor

  • Worker Leadership

    Worker Leadership

    America's Secret Weapon in the Battle for Industrial Competitiveness

    Fred Stahl

    How to increase both job satisfaction and enterprise productivity—and make American manufacturing competitive again.

    How can American manufacturing recapture its former dominance in the globalized industrial economy? In Worker Leadership, Fred Stahl proposes a strategy to boost enterprise productivity and restore America's industrial power. Stahl outlines a revolutionary transformation of industrial culture that offers workers real control of production operations and manufacturing processes (as well as a monetary share of the savings from productivity gains). Stahl develops this new Theory of Worker Productivity into a strategy of Worker Leadership, with concrete, real-world examples.

    Combining some of the methods of lean manufacturing made famous by Toyota with genuine worker empowerment unlike anything at Toyota, Worker Leadership creates highly productive jobs loaded with responsibility and authority. Workers, Stahl writes, love these jobs precisely because of the opportunities to be creative and productive. Worker Leadership also offers important benefits for organized labor. It promotes the vitality and growth of labor unions through a shared responsibility with management for growth and profitability.

    Stahl's approach was inspired by changes implemented at John Deere factories by a general manager named Dick Kleine. Stahl uses the story of Kleine's transformation of the Deere factories to construct a checklist of essential conditions for Worker Leadership. He also discusses competition with China and South Korea and tells the story of production that GE recently “reshored” from China to the United States. Stahl considers the potential for applying Worker Leadership beyond manufacturing, provides a brief history of manufacturing, and even reveals the dark side of Toyota's system that opens another competitive opportunity for America.

    Worker Leadership offers a blueprint for global competitive advantage that should be read by anyone concerned about America's current productivity paralysis.