Rethinking America

Hedrick Smith, Author Random House (NY) $25 (474p) ISBN 978-0-679-43551-8
To meet intensified economic global competition, American businesses and schools must adopt a new mind-set emphasizing teamwork, collaboration and long-term strategy, counsels Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Smith (The Russians). As examples of his mind-set, the former New York Times correspondent provides highly instructive case histories, including Ford Motor's restructuring, which gave more autonomy to individual employees and to work teams; Boeing's collaborative stance toward customers and suppliers; and Motorola's transformation from a hierarchical, command-driven system to one that invites innovation from all staff members and encourages continual education. Smith also favors public-private partnerships, pointing to the success of Sematech, a consortium of 14 high-tech companies and the federal government, launched by President Reagan in 1987 to rescue the U.S. computer chip industry. As for education, he gives high marks to work-study apprenticeships, in high schools from Wisconsin to Maine, designed to equip non-college-bound students with marketable skills; and he visits Central Park East, a Harlem public school built around smaller classes and close cooperation among teachers, students and families. Smith traveled extensively in Japan and Germany, and he believes that American firms can learn a lot from these nations' ``consensus capitalism,'' power-sharing and ``stakeholding,'' whereby banks, workers, institutional investors and home communities share in ownership of corporations or sit on corporate boards. His welcome book is a life raft we ignore at our peril. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Hardcover - 978-0-517-19354-9
Paperback - 474 pages - 978-0-380-72821-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 4 pages - 978-1-879371-98-9
Open Ebook - 385 pages - 978-0-307-82942-9
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