Saturn, The GM/UAW Partnership: The Impact of Co-Management and Joint Governance on Firm and Local Union Performance
Author(s)Kochan, Thomas; Rubinstein, Saul
Designed and implemented as a partnership between GM and the UAW, Saturn breaks new ground in firm governance, management and industrial relations. Through detailed study of Saturn's partnership arrangements we have found that the local management and union leaders have not only implemented the contractual joint governance institutions which involve labor in business strategy, product development, supplier and retailer selection, and manufacturing policy, but have also created a system of co-management which gives hundreds of jointly selected union operations management. members the In order to responsibilities of understand the impact of the involvement of union members as management, we analyzed the relationship between the behaviors of both represented and non-represented middle managers, the dynanics of their individual union-management partnership relations, differences in their patterns of communication and coordination, and Saturn's quality performance. We also examined each partner's use of time to explore the balancing of social and economic tasks between represented and nonrepresented partners. These data were combined with analyses of the tensions within the union between its traditional role in membership representation, and its new role in management and governance. Finally, we raise questions regarding the learning from and diffusion of Saturn to the rest of the GM and the UAW organizations. The key findings from our work to date are summarized in Figure 1 and our research methods, detailed findings, the implications we draw from these results, and suggested next steps for our research are discussed in more detail in the following sections.
Saturn, UAW, GM