AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: TRANSFORMING AN AMERICAN ICON: CULTURE AND CULTURAL CHANGE AT GENERAL MOTORS
Author: ELIZABETH BRIODY (Cultural Keys LLC), ROBERT TROTTER (Northern Arizona University), TRACY MEERWARTH (General Motors Corporation)   
Date/Time: Wed., 12:30 PM
Co-Author(s): ELIZABETH BRIODY (Cultural Keys LLC), ROBERT TROTTER (Northern Arizona University), TRACY MEERWARTH (General Motors Corporation) 
Abstract: U.S. manufacturing has faced extraordinary pressures and has had trouble adapting to the continuing rise in global competition. No manufacturing organization epitomizes these issues more than General Motors (GM). As its performance faltered, the U.S., Canadian, and Ontario Provincial governments came to the rescue in 2009 and spent over $60 billion to save the firm, albeit with a stern warning to “fix the culture” – a culture perceived to be dysfunctional, slow to change and arrogant. The Ideal Plant Culture Project brings a rigorous scientific study over multiple years to bear on the thorny issues of organizational-culture change. Our research group helped to create a “culture of collaboration” at the new GM plant at Lansing Delta Township (Michigan) that has gone on to become the best manufacturing facility in GM. This presentation focuses on how manufacturing culture has evolved and how it needs to change, based on both employee views of the ideal and cultural change theory. It lays out a step-by-step process for cultural transformation, and offers ten concrete, practical tools to assist with and sustain that transformation. While this transformation came too late to prevent GM’s bankruptcy, the new collaborative culture is positioned to ensure the survival of the company. Moreover, the model for change and the tools derived from it can be deployed as is, or adapted by other organizations to become or stay competitive in the global economy.

Program Number: 1-0150
Session Title: LEADING CULTURE: ETHNOGRAPHY AND ORGANIZATIONAL TRANSFORMATION
Session Sponsor: National Association for the Practice of Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Wed., 12:00 PM-1:45 PM
Organizer(s): JOERG SCHMITZ (Princeton Global Learning Institute), KENNETH PRICE 
Chair(s): KENNETH PRICE  
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