1. What policies were put into place to increase employment and reduce lay-offs?
The government hands out subsides to companies that keep surplus workers and a shor-time compensation program that allows employees to collect unemployment in exchange for reduced hours at work.
A private employer-employee work arrangement that also accomplishes a similar goal of working time reduction during slack demand by allowing German companies to set up working hours accounts for their employees. In turn this helps employers to adjust the amount of work done to face peaks and troughs in production without having to its employee’s overtime.
2. Can unions/works councils increase ...view middle of the document...
It is the reason why operations are lean, cars hit the market on time and on budget, chief engineers developing cars deeply understand the customer, company executives anticipate long-term trends and have clear strategies, and every employee (called a team member) is vigorously working on achieving the annual plan of the company.
The Toyota Way is first and foremost about culture -- the way people think and behave is deeply rooted in the company philosophy and its principles (Liker, 2004). At the core it is about respect for people and continuous improvement and this has not changed since the company's founding.
Organizations of many kinds throughout the world have been borrowing specific methods from Toyota that have been turned into programs like lean manufacturing, lean enterprise, and lean six sigma.
Underlying these programs is a fundamentally different assumption than we see in Toyota's culture. The assumption of these lean programs is that the right tools applied to specific problems by expertly trained individuals will dramatically improve business performance in a relatively short period of time.
Toyota's underlying assumption is that carefully selected and developed people over long periods of time will continuously improve processes and ultimately lead to competitive advantage and mutual prosperity.
These philosophical underpinnings lead to very different views of how to manage and develop people and different views of the role of the human resources department in the firm. Mention human resources in most companies and one thinks of a department that processes people in a similar way that accounting processes money. Massive computer systems and large procedure manuals with reams of data account for such things as salary structures benefit packages, career paths, retirement programs, and health insurance.
"Many have argued that bankruptcy is just the medicine Detroit needs to cure its financial woes. Others feel the painful restructuring process will do more damage to the local and national economies and related industries than is worth suffering, including the auto executives requesting the assistance.
I think the correct response lies somewhere in between. Now that the government has significant leverage over the auto companies, let’s use this bargaining position to our advantage. The EPA has always butted heads with auto industry lobbyists over fuel economy standards. Now the government can write the standards on its own terms. For example, we could model new standards after those in Europe with regulated CO2 emissions.
I’d like to avoid bankruptcies, if only for consumer psychological reasons. Consumers will avoid purchasing cars from bankrupt companies, and this will only exacerbate market share losses to foreign competitors. But if Congress needs to send Detroit back home a couple more times (driving in their hybrids!) until they return with appropriately detailed and significant plans for...