The Cost of Social Relations Oversight in the Adaptive Appropriation of Japanese Management Practices: The Case of the 1998 UAW Strikes against General Motors

    Research output: Working paperResearch

    44 Downloads (Pure)


    In 1998, a late July settlement of the Flint, Michigan United Auto Workers strikes at General Motors narrowly averted or postponed a labor-management confrontation fully capable of precipitating an economic meltdown with far reaching consequences for our increasingly global economy. This paper uses a comparative legal ecology model of the modern enterprise to gain theoretical and empirical insight into the economic and societal costs of combining Japanese manufacturing techniques with managerial prerogative pursued "the American way." I begin by introducing the comparative legal ecology of the workplace as a theoretical concept to compare and contrast national differences in the modern industrial enterprise. This provides a standard to evaluate the extent to which General Motors had appropriately adapted the Japanese modes of social relations within the firm. The events associated with the Flint strikes evidence the cost of this oversight. The paper concludes by discussing the need to appropriately emulate Japanese modes of social relation when firms seek to successfully adapt their modes of production.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Cite this