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HR Restructuring at Nissan

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : HROB138 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 500;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 500 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Human Resource Management
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 1990-2007
Organization : Nissan Motor Company, Ltd
Pub Date : 2011
Teaching Note : Not Available
Countries : US, Japan
Industry : Automobile


Japan-based Nissan Motor Company, Ltd. (Nissan), a multinational automaker had made a remarkable turnaround in 2000. It successful turnaround was attributed to its alliance with Renault and the new CEO Carlos Ghosn (Ghosn). Ghosn made certain changes in the organization which brought the company back into profits. However, he faced a lot of cultural issues which needed to be tackled tactfully in order to ensure successful implementation of restructuring plans. This case study is about Nissans turnaround and Ghosn's decision of changing various HR practices in the organization.

Nissan implemented a new working philosophy along with the new 'Nissan Way' of doing things.

As part of the Nissan Way, the company provided specialized "Career Advisors," for women only for their career advancement. Nissan had put in place a talent management strategy and adopted an inclusive "whole workforce" approach. It included a series of activities which addressed Competency Management, Performance Management, Career Development and Succession Management. As a part of restructuring, Ghosn closed down few plants due to which a lot of workers lost their jobs. While some experts criticized it as a genuine misjudgment on the part of Ghosn, few others felt that it was a necessary evil for the company. While the debate on this issue raged on, experts were almost unanimous in their view that this episode would not only be remembered as a horrible example in the history of restructuring but would also serve as a valuable lesson to other organizations planning a restructuring exercise.


Understand various issues and concepts in change management, organizational restructuring and talent management.
Analyze the pros and cons of changing HR practices in a different cultural setting.
Understand why the current practices were not helping the organization.
Discuss and debate whether Ghosn's decision was a right for the organization and ethical.
Explore ways in which Ghosn could have made the organization turnaround more effective and also explore strategies that Ghosn's team can adopt in the future.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
Shock Treatment 4
Figure Success 7
Revival Plan Vs Union 8
Speculations and Criticisms on Ghosn 9
Future Ahead 9
Exhibits 11

Key Words:

Turnaround, Competency Management, Performance Management, Succession Management, Human Resource Management, HR Practices, Culture, Restructuring Strategies, Decision Making, The Nissan Way, Nissan, Talent Management, Incentives, Reward, Career Development, Carlos Ghosn, Diversity, Empowerment

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