There is hardly an industry out there that hasn’t become multinational on some level. Even local businesses rely on the intricate network of industry participants to operate. In this view, the automotive industry is the rule because every make and model draws from the same international manufacturing well. I’m not only speaking about the components that are so popular to complain about (“This cheap garbage made in [any third world country]!”), and it isn’t only production that has abolished borders. Cars and trucks sold in the US are made in numerous other countries, even the domestic brands. In the same vein, domestic brand vehicles are marketed quite heavily overseas. Corporate capital has long ignored national borders (as noted quite regularly by Noam Chomsky) and so it should come as no surprise that the myth of the purely “American company” is steadily fading into memory. What this means is that employees in the auto industry are increasingly being confronted with foreign coworkers, and this steadily transforming workplace requires a significant paradigm shift. Continue reading Let’s Go For a Spin
Some say that there are none so blind as those who cannot see. I have no idea what this means, but in a discussion about social media, none are so blind as those who happen to be me. That is until now. Social media is an infinite, nebulous web that connects everyone to everyone else, and the smart companies (i.e. the ones that will actually last) take full advantage of this technology. Profit generating in a digital era is almost impossible without media presence. Continue reading Rural Media
My previous posts have established by now the idea that the automotive industry is highly technical, an idea that I think is not generally contested. I discussed in my last post some of the diverse communities I tenuously belong to by virtue of simply having regular contact with them. Though much of this contact is verbal (face to face personnel share a more social aspect of the discourse) the majority of inter-industry communication is done in writing, whether it be mailed letters, e-mails, catalogs, price schedules, etc. Because I had mentioned that I have to be Hazmat certified I thought it would be interesting to include a snapshot of an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) to demonstrate how written communication works in a community whose regulations are extreme. Continue reading Let’s Talk Shop
Wherever people group together, there is at least one community. Fathers and mothers form a community of spouses, and when they have children they form a community of family members. Businesses, neighborhoods, churches, fantasy football leagues, and the list goes on ad infinitum. What ostensibly initiates a community is the catalyst that brings its members together (professions, interests, etc.) but the adhesive element in any community, the feature that keeps it all together, is the unique discourse of each community. Discourse is the language that members use, not only to facilitate community actions, but also to establish the non-geographic boundaries of a community as well as reinforce the bonds that give it structure.
There’s something just a little sinister about giving full creative rein to a potential blogger. I could have picked any of a dozen or so subjects and had an equally enriching experience to share with you, dear reader. Offer me infinite possibilities and I’m going to sit and stew about them for a while. Instead of doing that, I’ve decided write about an organization with which I have a bitter/sweet relationship, the new car dealership for which I work. This is not a cop out, mind you. I’ve worked in the auto business for almost a decade now, but I’ve also been hobbling my way through the education system so I’ve had what I consider to be a marvelous opportunity to be educated in complex systems and simultaneously observe one first hand. I am that proverbial fly on the wall. What I’ve learned about communications in a complex private business is more than invaluable. Continue reading Finding Community in a Multi-Department Business