(Aired July 17, 2015)
Description: This podcast is not directly to schooling, but is an interesting case about whether good behavior is an individual choice or shaped by our institutions. This podcast investigates the collaboration of General Motors and Toyota in 1984 through a joint venture called “NUMMI.” Together, they might have saved the U.S. car industry. The show opens with a description of the rampant dysfunction within the GM plant, which eventually closes. Toyota proposes to re-open the plant with the same workforce, but operating under the Japanese principles of zaizen (continuous improvement). The episode describes how the workers transformed under Japanese management and a system that treated them as people who have valuable ideas. Frank Langfitt explains why GM didn’t learn the lessons—until it was too late. Act I describes the rise of NUMMI and how it began producing better cars thanks to lessons learned from Toyota. Act II examines why it took GM struggled and ultimately failed to implement the lessons learned from NUMMI across the company.
Topics/Themes: Moral Education