Making Empowerment Work

In the mid-1980s, morale at General Electric's mobile communications plant in Lynchburg, VA couldn't have been much worse. The business had been losing money for years. Angry employees said that managers didn't know their names, much less talk to them.

"You were told what to do and when to do it," recalls one plant worker. "You were just a machine. I didn't know what the final product looked like--and I didn't care."

A pay freeze, a layoff of nearly one third of the work force

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