Organizational barriers to change (from 1980s GM): Part 2

Organizational barriers to change (from 1980s GM): Part 2

This is final part of my two-part series that explores barriers to organizational change. (Read Part 1 here.) The examples I highlight were observed in the 1980s when GM tried to transition their manufacturing plants to the Japanese manufacturing process. Yet, these qualities can also be seen in companies today that resist organizational transformation.

The episode of This American Life on NUMMI explored the transformation of the GM Fremont plant to the Japanese manufacturing concept in the early 1980s. (I wrote about it in my article “Bad employees or bad system? Ask 1984 GM.”) The team-based, collaborative concept helped GM build high-quality cars at NUMMI. Yet, the barriers to change in the massive GM organization prevented the manufacturing plant transformation from taking place throughout the company quickly.

The first four “barriers to change” were covered in my previous blog post. Read on for my next three observations about companies resistant to change…and to learn the silver lining about organizational change observed at 1980s GM. Read more