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Posts Tagged ‘General Motors

“If you want to change the culture, you will have to start by changing the organization”*…

 

But to change it, you have to know what that organization is…

 click here, and again on the image, for larger version

With this 1855 chart, Daniel McCallum, general superintendent of the New York and Erie Railroad, tried to define an organizational structure that would allow management of a business that was becoming unwieldy in its size. The document is generally recognized to be the first formal organizational chart.

Historian Caitlin Rosenthal, writing in the McKinsey Quarterlypoints out that the chart was a way for McCallum to get a handle on a complex system made more confusing by the new availability of data from the use of the telegraph (invented in 1844). Information about problems down the track was important to have—it could help prevent train wrecks and further delays—but the New York and Erie’s personnel didn’t have a good sense of who was in charge of managing this data and putting it into action…

Read the whole story in the ever-illuminating Rebecca Onion’s “The First Modern Organizational Chart Is a Thing of Beauty.”

* Anthropologist Mary Douglas

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As we grapple with grapple with the Great Chain of Being, we might recall that it was on this date in 1937 that General Motors formally recognized the United Auto Workers as the collective bargaining representatives of GM workers.  The decision came on the heels of a 44-day sit-down strike that had begun in December, 1936, and that had idled 48,000 employees.  Still (to Dr. Douglas’ point), old habits die hard: two month later GM guards assaulted and beat UAW leaders at the company’s Rouge River plant.

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Carry that load…

From Photographer Alain Delorme, an extraordinary slideshow featuring things on the move in China.

(Thanks, Dan Sturges)

As we rebalance our loads, we might recall that it was on this date in 1998, five days after the company was formed by $37 billion merger, that DaimlerChrysler first traded in the New York Stock Exchange; at that moment, DaimlerChrysler was the fifth-largest auto manufacturer in the world (after General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen).  The plan was for further growth, via the creation of a single powerhouse car company that could compete in all markets, all over the world… But in the event, Chrysler lost so much money– $1.5 billion in 2006 alone– that in 2007, Daimler paid a private equity firm to take the company off its hands.  Two years later, in 2009, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy (again); in order to stay afloat, it merged with Italian automaker Fiat.

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