A Car Company's Infamous Bureaucracy Is Being Dismantled by New Leadership

When General Motors said last month that it would discontinue its formerly innovative Saturn line, many a finger was pointed at the company's moribund bureaucracy. "Saturn fell prey to the culture of GM…. It was buried in GM's old culture of inertia," Wharton management professor Lawrence G. Hrebiniak told Knowledge at Wharton in an interview for the recent article, "Saturn: A Wealth of Lessons from Failure."

Now, however, GM is said to be dismantling and streamlining its bureaucracy and the culture it spawned. An article in today's New York Times describes the effort, noting that after GM's 2008 collapse and subsequent government rescue, "its century-old way of conducting business was laid bare, with all its flaws in plain sight."

More from Knowledge at Wharton:

Can 'Cash for Clunkers' Help Jump-start the Auto Industry?

Biggest by Default: Toyota May Be Number One, But It Still Faces Challenges

On the Skids: Are U.S. Automakers Running Out of Time — and Options?