Kennesaw State University Magazine Spring 2011 : Page 16

Cutting the KSU professor brings global view to auto manufacturing research Fat W By Erica Rountree hen American automakers began implementing Japanese-style lean production models in the early 1980s and 1990s, no one knew how and help the auto industry in particular effectively compete with foreign manufacturers on a basis other than low wages. her new position as associate director of KSU’s first Ph.D. Lepadatu’s interests in international research extend to autoworkers would be affected over time. Thirty years later, a KSU professor is investigating the question with the help of a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Darina Lepadatu, assistant professor of sociology, and program in international conflict management. In its first year, the interdisciplinary program has enrolled 16 students from 12 development of countries that have been involved in conflict. As these students begin to teach their own undergraduate knowledge will benefit the entire KSU community. courses, Lepadatu says their international perspectives and “KSU is building on its reputation as a global scholarly her University of Kentucky colleague, Thomas Janoski, are auto plants and Japanese auto plants manufacturing in countries who are studying the reconstruction and sustainable interviewing 150 current and former workers from American the U.S. They are studying how workers handle the stress methods featuring Total Quality Management (TQM) and and conflict that can accompany lean production assembly Just-in-Time (JIT) inventory systems, which aim to increase customer satisfaction and eliminate waste with a reduced amount of resources. center,” Lepadatu said. “We are one of the few universities in the world offering this kind of interdisciplinary doctoral program.” Lepadatu, who is one of 30,000 Romanians living in metro in various ways,” Lepadatu said. “Older workers, minorities and women can view and adjust to the teams differently.” The importance of Lepadatu’s research goes beyond “Functioning in a lean production team can affect people Atlanta, is deeply involved in global initiatives at KSU. She is a series of events at KSU focusing on her home country. The “Year of Romania” events included weekly lectures, a film speaker and an organizer of the “Year of Romania,” a yearlong auto manufacturing. JIT and TQM have become the standard in many industries and lean production could become the dominant system of production in a globalized economy. festival, photo and art exhibits, food tasting and musical and dance performances. Lepadatu will lead a group of 20 KSU students to study abroad in Romania this summer. Lepadatu’s findings may be used to train the future workforce KSU, I know this is where I’m supposed to be,” she said. “When I see this great and growing interest in Romania at 16

Cutting The Fat

Erica Rountree

KSU professor brings global view to auto manufacturing research<br /> <br /> When American automakers began implementing Japanese-style lean production models in the early 1980s and 1990s, no one knew how autoworkers would be affected over time. Thirty years later, a KSU professor is investigating the question with the help of a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.<br /> <br /> Darina Lepadatu, assistant professor of sociology, and her University of Kentucky colleague, Thomas Janoski, are interviewing 150 current and former workers from American auto plants and Japanese auto plants manufacturing in the U.S. They are studying how workers handle the stress and conflict that can accompany lean production assembly methods featuring Total Quality Management (TQM) and Just-in-Time (JIT) inventory systems, which aim to increase customer satisfaction and eliminate waste with a reduced amount of resources.<br /> <br /> “Functioning in a lean production team can affect people in various ways,” Lepadatu said. “Older workers, minorities and women can view and adjust to the teams differently.” <br /> <br /> The importance of Lepadatu’s research goes beyond auto manufacturing. JIT and TQM have become the standard in many industries and lean production could become the dominant system of production in a globalized economy.Lepadatu’s findings may be used to train the future workforce And help the auto industry in particular effectively compete with foreign manufacturers on a basis other than low wages.<br /> <br /> Lepadatu’s interests in international research extend to her new position as associate director of KSU’s first Ph.D. program in international conflict management. In its first year, the interdisciplinary program has enrolled 16 students from 12 countries who are studying the reconstruction and sustainable development of countries that have been involved in conflict.As these students begin to teach their own undergraduate courses, Lepadatu says their international perspectives and knowledge will benefit the entire KSU community.<br /> <br /> “KSU is building on its reputation as a global scholarly center,” Lepadatu said. “We are one of the few universities in the world offering this kind of interdisciplinary doctoral program.” <br /> <br /> Lepadatu, who is one of 30,000 Romanians living in metro Atlanta, is deeply involved in global initiatives at KSU. She is a speaker and an organizer of the “Year of Romania,” a yearlong series of events at KSU focusing on her home country. The “Year of Romania” events included weekly lectures, a film festival, photo and art exhibits, food tasting and musical and dance performances. Lepadatu will lead a group of 20 KSU students to study abroad in Romania this summer.<br /> <br /> “When I see this great and growing interest in Romania at KSU, I know this is where I’m supposed to be,” she said.

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