Published: Sept. 27, 2016

Professors author book on GM’s decision to stay in Lansing

Contact(s): Victoria Bowles Communication and Brand Strategy student, Caroline Brooks Communications and Brand Strategy office: 517-432-0920

Two MSU professors have partnered with former Lansing mayor David Hollister to pen a book centering around the 1996 campaign that persuaded General Motors Co. to stay in Lansing. 

The book, “Second Shift: The Inside Story of the Keep GM Movement” follows the “Lansing Works! Keep GM!” campaign and the strategy called the second shift model that was used to drive the project.

The second shift model refers to the decision-making drivers for the locale of plants and supply chain management facilities, said David Closs, John H. McConnell Chaired Professor of Business Administration in the Department of Supply Chain Management and one of the professors approached to work on the project. 

“In this case, a major driver was the need for talent with strong mechanical skills and work ethic,” Closs said. “Using the Second Shift at the GM plant confirmed capabilities of workforce and demonstrated that the talent pool in the Lansing region was exceptional. This differentiated the region from other sites in Michigan and the around the world.”

Both Closs and Tomas Hult, Byington Endowed Chair and professor of marketing and international business and director of MSU’s International Business Center, are both faculty in the Broad College of Business. Their areas of expertise include economic development at local and global levels, which benefited the process of writing the inside story of the movement and outlining the second shift business model that made it happen.

“We felt this was a great example regarding how a region can work together to collaboratively achieve a common goal,” Closs said. “We were both living in Lansing during the ‘90s and saw this movement firsthand. Many in the Lansing area didn’t understand the direct and indirect impact of GM’s Lansing jobs – which is hard to understand given there were more than 20,000 jobs in the region. Sadly, many of those who didn’t understand were politicians; it was a great story to see how Mayor Hollister developed the collaborative environment, orchestrated the teams and was able to convince GM to stay when it had never changed its mind before.”

“Second Shift: The Inside Story of the Keep GM Movement” proves how a collaborative problem-solving approach saved a U.S. manufacturing city and how the method can be applied to any community or business. As for the future of American cities like Lansing, Closs is optimistic for those who learn how to work with big business rather than against it.

Order a copy of “Second Shift” on Amazon.

Learn more about “Second Shift” by viewing the documentary film, “The Second Shift: From Crisis to Collaboration.”


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