February 30, 1973
The film "Loose Bolts?" is an analysis of what became known as the Lordstown syndrome by business week magazine. Interviews with workers, foremen, and union officials in this film show how a bored and dissatisfied works turns out cars (Chevy Vega's) with major flaws.
I recommend this film to anyone interested in the study of worker attitudes. - Paul Marshall, Professor of Management, Harvard Business School
“The filmmaker is skillful and perceptive in portraying the boredom and hopelessness of the men in this factory.” - Roberta Peterson
This case involves inserting ourselves at the anus level of management who supervise approximately many workers on an assembly line at the Lordstown, Ohio, GM plant in 1972. Our goal is to come up with some meaningful differences we could have made as a foremen in improving employee-management relations at that time. Our primary goal is to improve worker-management relationships.
From Loose Bolts, "The ideal foreman could not let the people he managed know he is in agreement with them. If he is in sympathy with the people, he is dead as a foreman or as a supervisor. He’s lost the ballgame as far as conducting his job satisfactorily as a member of management.” If we read this quote and believe in it, our analysis should stop right here, it ain't worth wasting our time no more....but we believe their are some things foremen could have been done to improve lots and lots of things in the plant.
High management often referred to assembly line workers as idiots. In spite of this, it was not necessary for a foreman to continue this behavior and treat and refer to his subordinates as "idiots", or treat them like dumb asses. It ain't that hard to treat people with a little r-e-s-p-e-k-t.
Workers had suggestions about how to improve work performance...