Case | HBS Case Collection | February 1991 (Revised July 1993)

Cultural Change at Nissan Motors

by John P. Kotter


Depicts the reformation of Nissan Motor Co.'s corporate culture and the company's subsequent turnaround in market share and profits. In 1985, Yutaka Kume became president of Nissan and thereafter, he continually emphasized the need for internal change throughout the organization. Despite the difficulty of effecting widespread change in such a large organization, Nissan's managers and employees got behind this effort. By 1990, there was a discernable difference in Nissan's image and product. The infamous "econo-boxes" of the early 1980s had been replaced by sleek new models like the Silva (240sx). This case explores many of the changes which took place throughout the organization to make such cultural change possible and effective, from the top management level, to the design department, to the assembly line. Also examines the difficulty and time needed to make lasting change in an organization.

Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Culture; Leadership; Behavior; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Change Management; Management; Auto Industry; Manufacturing Industry;


Kotter, John P. "Cultural Change at Nissan Motors." Harvard Business School Case 491-079, February 1991. (Revised July 1993.)