In contrast, the overarching goal of this report is to present a series of windows into the industry that convey its complexity, and that make clear the limitations of simplistic assumptions about labor and management.In particular, this paper aims to develop a deeper appreciation of the industry’s problems and of the sources of resilience in the industry, which include management leadership, union partnership, and front-line workforce teamwork.The challenge for the auto industry when the congressional hearings were taking place was not figuring out how to improve—that was clear, and improvements were underway.It was the cash-flow implications of the short-term unprecedented collapse in the consumer market. Most policymakers and outside observers still make simplistic assumptions about labor and management in the auto industry, assuming, for example, that the industry’s problems can be alleviated just by reducing labor costs and relaxing union work rules. auto industry has faced multiple existential crises, illustrating both the cost of lost opportunities and the power of innovation as the archetypical industrial enterprise adapts to a post-industrial knowledge economy.
Industry leaders were berated for flying corporate jets to testify before Congress (Wutkoski 2008).Tolerances of thousandths of an inch are required for quality standards, and if the assembly line doesn’t run due to a threat to quality or something not going as planned, it can cost a company as much as ,000 a minute.The heartbeat of an auto assembly plant is measured in the plant producing approximately one new car a minute.(Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Brooks, and Mulloy 2015, 147)Company successes are not just due to the minds of the people at the top who are being paid all the money, but the minds of people at the bottom. (Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Brooks, and Mulloy 2015, 53) As is evident from this last quote, despite considerable progress in valuing the distributed knowledge of the full workforce, there were still deeply embedded assumptions that had not fully changed.This is not a false empowerment but truly and genuinely acknowledging that we have each chosen our part of the job and both are part of success. At the same time, the very existence of hourly employees with black belts speaks of many deeply embedded assumptions that have changed. First, it is illustrative of a long-term transformation that has delivered results and changed lives.During the brief time that Cerberus, a venture capital firm, owned Chrysler it became very clear that running an auto company required deep expertise that was not easily acquired.