Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Managerialism and the Demise of the Big Three

Locke, Robert (2009): Managerialism and the Demise of the Big Three.

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This essay is about the crisis of US automobile management and the difficulties that management educators and practitioners in America have had facing up to that crisis. It focuses on Detroit’s Big Three but it also looks at the role Japanese firms played in transferring JMS (Japanese Management Systems) to America, particularly the transfer of TPS (the Toyota Production System) to Georgetown, Kentucky. It opens (I) with a discussion of the triumph of a science-based “New Paradigm” in business school management education and in industry, with reference to its critics, in order to establish the institutional framework within which US automobile management expanded and operated after World War II; then (II) a more general discussion ensues in which U.S. managerialism and JMS are compared, and the pathways and barriers to the transfer of JMS to America both to US firms and to Japanese transplants are explored, before in the last part (III) the focus narrows to a specific case of transfer: H. Thomas Johnson’s analysis of Toyota’s successful alternative Production System (TPS) at Georgetown and how it supersedes in theory and practice the managerial methods of the Big Three.

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