I guess I was just reacting to statements where the problems are always management or always labor or always unions, (or at least 80-99% of the time). I’m just not sure there is always a single causal effect for failure. While you can blame management for everything from product planning to finance to assembly etc., sometimes the playing field just can’t be leveled regardless of the quality of management.
When you look at Chrysler, their failure was a lack of sales. What caused a lack of sales? Styling and product offerings? Dealership issues? Competition? Quality control? When you don’t have sales, money is tight and then you do all kinds of things to save money or delay payments. Lee came up with a new product line and that helped for a while, but new and exciting products are expensive and takes heavy sales to support them. The over-bearing auto workers union, like the teamsters didn’t help any either. And there are good unions and bad unions and good workers and bad workers.
Then again when you look at the number of major car companies compared to the 1970’s, I think competition is a big factor with only so many slices of the pie to go around. I’m not letting our government off the hook either with changes in fuel regulations that gave a competitive advantage to the foreign manufacturers. If Nixon was bad for the steel industry, he probably was not good for our auto industry either. I have mixed feelings about him and his crazy 55 mph speed limit but he did end the war after tricking Johnson.
I’m just saying its not so simple to blame management. I myself have not really experienced much bad management in manufacturing.