Car: A Drama of the American Workplace
by Mary Walton

A whole book dedicated to the manufacture of a single model of car--and not even a sexy model, such as a Lamborghini or a Rolls Royce, but a Ford Taurus! indeed. Walton spent more than two years inside the belly of the giant Ford Motor Company researching the manufacture of the 1996 Taurus, and her account makes for surprisingly entertaining reading. Walton, who has written extensively about management theory, brings a perceptive eye and a breezy style to her critique of the automobile industry. In addition to the redesign of Ford's popular model, Walton also examines the sometimes volatile relations between the company's engineering staff and its designers, criticizes Ford's hierarchical management structure, and questions the astounding number of upper-level executives recruited from the military and their resulting martial management style.

The private lives of Ford employees likewise do not escape Walton's critical eye. Twelve-hour days are common among Ford engineers, but the toll on their personal lives is high. So critical is Mary Walton of Ford's management practices that, upon seeing an early draft of Car, Ford revoked Walton's access to its top executives. For a book that provides both solid entertainment and an in-depth analysis of the auto industry, Car is the top of the line.

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