Inside the Ford-UAW Transformation

Inside the Ford-UAW Transformation

Pivotal Events in Valuing Work and Delivering Results

By Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Dan Brooks and Martin Mulloy

How the partnership between Ford and the UAW, forged through more than fifty pivotal events, transformed their capacity to combine good jobs with high performance.





How the partnership between Ford and the UAW, forged through more than fifty pivotal events, transformed their capacity to combine good jobs with high performance.

In 2009, the Ford Motor Company was the only one of the Big Three automakers not to take the federal bailout package. How did Ford remain standing when its competitors were brought to their knees? It was a gutsy decision, but it didn't happen in isolation. The United Auto Workers joined with Ford to make this possible—not only in 2009, but in a series of more than fifty pivotal events during three decades that add up to a transformation that simultaneously values work and delivers results.

The pivotal events—some planned and some unplanned; some at the facility level and some at the enterprise level –were not all successful. All had the potential, however, to further the transformation, and all provide insight into how large-scale system change really happens. The authors—each with years of experience with Ford, the UAW, and the industry—provide an unprecedented inside look at how core operating assumptions are shifted and at the emergence of integrated operating systems for quality, safety, and other aspects of the enterprise. It is a transformation built on a foundation of dignity and mutual respect, guided by a vision of combining good jobs with high performance.


$32.00 T ISBN: 9780262029162 408 pp. | 8 in x 9 in 60 figures, 11 tables


  • The book is a revealing study of the underlying values that guided a revolutionary transformation in labor relations at Ford Motor Company.

    Bill Ford

    Executive Chairman, The Ford Motor Company

  • This book traces a thirty-year process through which the UAW and Ford have been able to achieve transformational results. It demonstrates the power of collective bargaining as an engine for innovation, as well as the importance of the workforce in driving continuous improvement. The union, working with management, provides a leading model for how to value work and deliver results.

    Richard Trumka

    President, AFL-CIO

  • This book accurately presents the Ford-UAW transformation and identifies guiding principles that can apply in other settings. In any organization, it is about working together, with relentless implementation of a compelling vision and a comprehensive strategy. The culmination of our transformational work with the UAW has resulted in a profitable company that has invested billions in capital expansion, creating thousands of new jobs and delivering profitable growth for all.

    Alan Mulally

    former CEO of the Ford Motor Company

  • I believe and hope that union and management people will read this book and learn from it. Everyone has to look seriously at the recent and longer history of Ford and the UAW. I am very bullish on the American auto industry. As this book indicates, the key is shared growth for all. The book is excellent and will serve to help everyone in the future.

    Dick Gephardt

    former U.S. Representative from Missouri

  • No other history of a labor management relationship matches the richness, analytical focus, and contribution provided by the trio of management, labor, and scholar/consultant authors of Inside the Ford-UAW Transformation. By focusing on the 'pivotal events' over a thirty-year period, Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Brooks, and Mulloy provide a depth of understanding that could only come from being directly involved. The lessons they outline from Ford and the UAW's successes and failures over these years should be of great help to future agents of change in navigating through similar challenges and opportunities.

    Thomas A. Kochan

    George M. Bunker Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management and Co-Director, MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research

  • The Ford-UAW transformation is in my view the most ambitious and successful transformation of a large U.S. industrial corporation. Especially exceptional is the authors' extraordinary detailed account of the change effort, which employs many innovative and instructive concepts. It is a must-read for managers, union officials, and empowered employees who are or want to be involved in similar efforts, as well as for students of social change in general.

    Richard E. Walton

    Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration (emeritus), Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University