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Organizational Change and Quality of Life Programs Approach

The case of Saturn Corporation outlines the successful and unique adaptation of a new approach to organizing in the United States automobile industry. The organization represents many of the characteristics typified by "Quality of work life " programs, and allows students to see the benefits of a co-operative and customer-focused HRM approach.

1. What aspects of quality of work life (QWL) programs do the experiment at the Saturn Planet Illustrate?

2. How can Saturn assure the employees have not only the willingness to take responsibility but also the ability to do so ?

3. In this case a completely new company was started with considerable autonomy from General Motors. Why do you think so many large organizations turn to " Greenfield" operations such as this when undertaking major changes in corporate culture and operations? Do you foresee any problems down the road for GM in this regard?

Please include sources.

Solution Preview

Please see attached response (see below as well), as well as two relevant and supporting documents. I hope this helps and take care.

RESPONSE:

The case of Saturn Corporation outlines the successful and unique adaptation of a new approach to organizing in the United States automobile industry. The organization represents many of the characteristics typified by "Quality of work life " programs, and allows students to see the benefits of a co-operative and customer-focused HRM approach.

1. What aspects of quality of work life (QWL) programs does the experiment at the Saturn Planet Illustrate?

Secretary Shalala identified three main objectives for the QWL Initiative:
· Improve employee satisfaction;
· Strengthen workplace learning; and
· Better manage on-going change and transition. (http://www.hhs.gov/ohr/qwl/about/objectives.htm)

OPDIVs were asked to develop QWL plans designed to, at a minimum, accomplish the following:
· Improve communication with employees;
· Strengthen family friendly programs;
· Provide all employees with Internet access;
· Increase investment in workplace learning;
· Improve the effectiveness of supervisors and team leaders;
· Evaluate the effectiveness of diversity management practices; and
· Improve ability to manage change and transition. (http://www.hhs.gov/ohr/qwl/about/strategy.htm)

QWL activities include such things as
· Agency employee recognition events acknowledging longevity of service and perfect attendance.
· Education and health fairs.
· Lunchtime seminars on a range of work-related topics such as retirement, stress management, workplace technology and conflict resolution.
· Worksite improvement committees that focus on reducing paperwork, reviewing machinery and other areas of member concern.
· Informational newsletters.
· QWL Committees meet monthly. (http://www.dc37.net/about/services/quality.html).

Saturn

Clearly, Saturn has patterned after QWL. In fact, with a far-out approach to customer service, Saturn hopes to run rings around the competition. Originally conceived by General Motors engineers in 1982, Saturn began operations in 1985 with a fresh vision of a people-focused car company. Saturn aimed to simplify the car buying experience with no-hassle, no-haggle pricing while also simplifying the relationship between carmaker and autoworker. A subsidiary of General Motors, Saturn makes a range of compact and midsize cars including, the ION Quad coupe, ION sedan, L300 sedan, Relay minivan and, the Vue compact SUV.

Saturn was created with one simple idea: to put people first. With the mission to create a different kind of Car Company ? one dedicated to finding new ways for people to work together to design, build and sell cars ? Saturn has earned a reputation for superior customer satisfaction. It's no secret that most people dread shopping for a car. Which is why Saturn retailers are continually finding ways to make buying and servicing your vehicle more pleasant. In addition to the now famous no-hassle, no-haggle sales policy, many Saturn retailers continue to improve the retail experience with ...

Solution Summary

Based on the case of Saturn that outlines the successful and unique adaptation of a new approach to organizing in the United States automobile industry, thus solution addressed the following questions: (1) What aspects of quality of work life (QWL) programs does the experiment at the Saturn Planet illustrate? (2) How can Saturn assure the employees have not only the willingness to take responsibility but also the ability to do so? (3) In this case a completely new company was started with considerable autonomy from General Motors. Why do you think so many large organizations turn to
"Greenfield" operations such as this when undertaking major changes in corporate culture and operations? Do you foresee any problems down the road for GM in this regard? Supplemented with two highly supportive articles.

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