The impact of co-management on quality performance: The case of the Saturn Corporation

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Abstract

Using data from surveys, interviews, direct observation, and records of quality performance, the author examines the system of co-management created through the General Motors-United Auto Workers partnership at the Saturn Corporation. Under this partnership, each department, or module, is jointly managed by union-represented and non-represented advisors. The author credits the union with building a dense communications network throughout Saturn's management system. Compared to non-represented advisors, union advisors showed greater levels of lateral communication and coordination, which had a significant positive impact on quality performance. Also positively associated with quality outcomes at the module level were balanced time use, with each advisor engaging in both production and people management, and alignment between union-represented and non-represented advisors regarding their priorities, responsibilities, practices, and job definition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-218
Number of pages22
JournalIndustrial and Labor Relations Review
Volume53
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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