The organization discussed in the case study is General Motors (Kuppler, 2014). This is one of the largest automotive companies in the United States. In the recent past, the company has not been very kingly in their manner of execution. The latest and biggest scandal so far has been the ignition switch recall. This is the main issue discussed in the article. The company was forced to recall over 12 million cars in 2014. The faulty ignition switches used by the company in certain models of their cars were the cause of more than 13 deaths. In the article, the company is painted as one undergoing a culture crisis. This is because the faulty parts have been used in models for over a decade now and the recall was done too late.
For many years, General Motors has been a giant in the automotive industry. Before filing for bankruptcy back in 2009, the company had the highest recorded sales even higher that Toyota. General Motors has however been run in a bureaucratic manner that has led to the fall of a formerly great company. Among the weaknesses cited are two cultures known as the GM nod where members of management listen and nod when assigned to perform a duty but they never do it. The other was the GM salute where members fail to take responsibility and instead point to someone else. In other words, playing the game (Tetzeli, 2016).
Initially, the company adopted a hybrid model with some Autocratic and custodial features. GM workers could spot the defective ignition switch, and through the years they raised some concerns to their immediate superiors showing the custodial model. However, there had been orders passed from top management that cutting costs must be the primary objective. Switching the ignition switches would have gone against this objective, and therefore people in lower management chose to ignore the problem rather than be the bearer of bad news. This showed the autocratic model where information only flows in one way (Shethna, 2016).
The model engaged at GM was characteristic in the automotive industry. Toyota, for example, has a board of 29 Japanese men who run the whole company. Executives based in the US have no powers to order for a recall or to stop production without the authorization of a board member above him. Given the Just in Time model employed by the company, the production of defective products is very high if the people on the ground do not have the authority to correct the mistakes immediately (Bauer & Erdogan, 2014). This was seen a few years ago when some Toyota models were unintentionally speeding, and this led to the largest fine the company has paid to the regulatory boards. The fine as of 1.2 billion dollars. Ford is another company that was also run by a handful of executives, though under the leadership of its previous CEO the company was able to change its culture (Lombardo, 2017). This saw the realization of better profit margins and better customer satisfaction. The automotive industry is slowly switching to organizational models that have a more holistic approach. They are trying to create an environment where the employees feel just as important as their managers, and this will lead to better products and higher levels of responsibility from each member.
In the past, employees were more concerned about earning a living and being able to feed their families. This led to the development of autocratic models where the executives barked orders, and the employees followed them without asking any questions. This translated into higher profits for the company as the employees earned minimum wage. In the present day, culture has changed, and now people seek fulfillment from their jobs. They want to know they are making a difference in the world and they want their ideas to be hard (Shethna, 2016). This has phased out autocratic models and in their place, more interactive models such as the supportive model.
GM, just like other automotive companies has had to change their corporate model to encourage employees to be an active part of the company (LeBeau & Pohlman, 2014). The company is now encouraging employees to speak up about any concerns especially those that will boost customer safety. There is to be a reward scheme for employees who come forward. This is to alienate any fear that used to be associated with being the carrier of bad news. The companies are embracing models which are not based on making profits at the expense of quality or safety (Tetzeli, 2016).
Employees have often been motivated by reward schemes employed by management. Current organizational models still use this method but have tweaked it by deputizing the employees as well. When a problem arises, if the immediate superior does not address it then the employees are tasked with forwarding it to even higher management. This surge of power acts as a great motivational tool for employees.
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