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Turbulence: Boeing and the State of American Workers and Managers Hardcover – October 12, 2010
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"Well-written and show[ing] a firm grasp of both the aviation business and the competitive forces pushing Boeing management to act as they did."—The Seattle Times
(The Seattle Times)
"Turbulence is not only a masterful, detailed study of ten years of dramatic organizational change at Boeing. It is also a story of how American managers and workers can cope with the fierce pressures of global economic competition, seeking both high productivity and a decent workplace."—Benjamin I. Page, Gordon Scott Fulcher Professor of Decision Making, Northwestern University (Benjamin I. Page 2010-07-06)
“Turbulence traces the history of corporate restructuring and its consequences through the experience of an iconic US company. A fascinating read."—Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor Professor of Management; Director, Center for Human Resources at The Wharton School and Professor of Education, University of Pennsylvania
(Peter Cappelli 2010-07-10)
"The mix of qualitative and quantitative analysis is admirable and well done, a credit to the authors. The power of the work comes from an unusual, perhaps unique, empirical data-base looking at what actually happens to employees living through massive corporate change."—Jim Collins, author of Built to Last, Good to Great, and How the Mighty Fall (Jim Collins 2010-07-15)
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Top Customer Reviews
When I first saw how hard it was to get, I wondered if John F. McDonnell or Harry Stonecipher were buying them all up! Just kidding, but it does make you wonder.
The authors' make it very clear from the start that the "Boeing" throughout the book is Boeing Commercial Airplanes. That is important to understand. I would even state that the "Boeing" in the book applies to people with a legacy born in the Heritage Boeing Commercial Airplanes (the Puget Sound region).
I have read the book. Right off the bat in the preface I saw that Stan Sorscher and Charlie Bofferding (both former Boeing employees and members of SPEEA, the union representing professional employees at Boeing) were engaged in proofreading or as sources. I thought that it might have a real-life perspective from the engineering perspective. It also explains a few of the stories that are recalled. Ron Woodward's input was a real eye opener! His discussion of Phil Condit was wild!
We all wondered about Phil, at times. Between marrying secretaries multiple times and having houses with unique features (from castle-like architecture to model trains running through them). His involvement/capitulation in settling a particularly contentious IAM strike and the naiive negotiations leading up to the McBoeing merger are mentioned in the book, but I am sure there is much, much more to the story.
One minor dissappointment is typographical, I have never heard former CEO Frank Schrontz called Carl Schrontz.
I also wish they had done their first survey in 1996, pre-merger.When I read it again, I will make sure to look at the footnotes right away.Read more ›
Any factory level employee that was present when Airbus announced they wanted a larger share of the market can confirm how the threat was passed on to us. In weekly crew meetings we were reminded that if Airbus took any of 'our' share of the market, that would mean loss of our jobs. It occurred to several of us that we were being induced to feel not just threatened by competition but were also the cause.
Our benefits, our high wages, city inventory taxes,(our boss said they were 8% then), the restrictions and restraints imposed by unions were producing not just corporate frustration and anxiety but the threat by Airbus. This was actually said in crew meetings that our benefits, insurance, workmens comp, etc and high wages were not entitlements but could be and should be withdrawn. The reason was literally put into precise words: "That money belongs to the shareholders."
There were motivational seminars, lots of them, some were informative and interesting. Books were recommended to and read by management and supervisors. (The Goal by Goldratt was almost a bible because as we were told, 'nobody goes into business except to make money' and that's what the book is about.) There wasn't any focus on the fact that capitalism is about competition.Read more ›
The basis of the book is a study carried out over a period of ten years, between 1996 and 2006. The authors "surveyed, interviewed, analyzed, and wrote about the employee experience at Boeing". The key point, which is made clear throughout the book, is that what happened at Boeing is not different than what happened in many other large corporations in America. You don't necessarily have to be a Boeing employee to recognize your own experience here. The organizational changes that have transformed Boeing are part of a large trend which redefines the way large companies are dealing with their employees in order to remain competitive in the context of globalization. The impact this transformation had on employees is analyzed in details, and subjectives interpretations are given to make sense of the enormous amount of data accumulated in the four surveys that were carried out over the ten year study.
You don't have to be a Boeing employee, or ex-employee, to appreciate this book. What is discussed here is now a universal theme. It's about the new paradigm that has started to replace the one that was established after the war in 1945. The relationship that the employers had with their employees had not changed much in the first 50 post-war years. But the mounting pressures of globalization forced Corporate America to take drastic measures to remain competitive, and this had a devastating impact on the morale of the workforce.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book offers great insights into all the mistakes Boeing made and how it is trying to fix them with mixed results. A must read for anyone working for Boeing.Published on September 3, 2013 by NW Native
Book was in good condition and the price was fair. It arrived on schedule. Would buy from this seller again.Published on February 11, 2012 by G. Racelis
Although full of good data points the assumptions and solutions are a stretch and seem to be written by SPEEA union leaders. Read morePublished on March 20, 2011 by Tim McDonald