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Essay about NUMMI

Date published: | Lisa Barlow

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NUMMI was an out-group from a venture between Toyota, a Japan-based company and the American based Company the General Motors (GM). These two Companies established the partnership so that the Japanese company could find it easy to make and sell their cars to the American market. In return, Toyota taught the GM workers and executives their secret on making and producing high-quality cars such as the Nova which was first produced in 1984. This paper provides reasons why out-groups form.

Why Out-groups Form

Out-groups form so that they can learn new ways and techniques from other better places and organizations that can help to improve the operations of their parent Company. NUMMI had sixteen commandos who were an out-group from the General Motors. GM sent the out-group to help at the starting of NUMMI. The commandos were to learn the ideas and production systems used at Toyota and later come back and try to use the knowledge they gained to change the General Motors Company. Some of the ideas the commandos (such as Mark Hogan and Steve Bera) learned from NUMMI included the value of teamwork and Union. The second reason was to fight any resistance to change. The out-group from GM formed so that it could fight against bureaucracy and entrenched experienced within the company. It wanted to instill an attitude of change among the workers and executives at GM so that they could accept the Japanese system which seemed to have an advantage that could benefit GM.

Responses to the NUMMIs

The union members such as Richard Aguilar said that the team concept adapted from NUMMI had destroyed their seniority rights. With seniority, an individual is put at one place of work where he/she is best at. However, with the adaptation of the Japanese system, the members of a union had to learn and do every job/work in their team. These resulted in workers turning against each other. The managers at Van Nuys resisted the Japanese system at NUMMI while the managers at NUMMI accepted. They resisted the system since with its implementation they were not going to enjoy the privileges they did before such as extra bonuses from the number of cars sold and specified parking lots where they did not have to share with their subordinates. For example, managers at Van Nuys had threatened the general supervisor Ernie Schaefer that they would quit if they had to share parking lots with the other workers (Glass, 2010). The rank and file employees also fought against the system taught from NUMMI.

To effectively work with NUMMI, I would first send an out-group to NUMMI and then allow the group to form a training program within the GM plant so that they can teach and lead the other workers based on the strategies and techniques learned at NUMMI. I would also outsource some managers and workers from NUMMI who would set a good example to the team at GM on the matter of producing quality cars.

References

Glass, I. (2010). NUMMI [Recorded by F. Langfitt]. Chicago, Northeastern Illinois, United States of America.

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