The GM Culture Crisis
Instructions:- After reading the case study, address the following critical elements.
A. How is the organization described in the case study? What are its key attributes? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
II. Organizational Modeling
A. Describe a current behavioral organizational model used in the case study.
B. Compare the current behavioral organizational model used above to other models used within the industry and also within external related industries.
C. Explain why there are differences between the organizational model used by the organization in the case study and those used by organizations in another similar industry. In other words, what are some of the reasons for using these different organizational models?
D. Compare the current impact of culture on current organizational models to the impact culture has had on past organizational models.
E. Explain how the organization is or is not operating within an organizational model unique to its industry.
F. Explain if motivational models have shifted in comparison to the organizational modeling trends.
The GM Culture Crisis
The organization, GM, is described as one that as a poor safety culture. This is as evidenced by the recall of GM ignition switches. The issue, rather than being taken as a serious safety issue and acted upon swiftly, was dragged around numerous committees and ignored by people who should have acted until it got out of hand.
The main attributes of the company based on the case study are the slackness and care-free attitudes taken on by the employees. This is exemplified by the recall crisis which had multiple parties involved yet nothing was done to address the issue for more than a decade.
The most apparent strength of the company is its size. GM is a multinational company with a presence in numerous countries. Hence, its global reach, sales and market share make the company a formidable automobile manufacturer. This therefore means that such a company may have an easier time bouncing back from tragedies such as the aforementioned ignition witch recall.
The largest weakness as demonstrated by the case study comes from its poor safety culture and poor organizational culture as well. It is clearly shown that the problem had persisted from more than 11 years yet no one who was aware of it took responsibility. Furthermore, despite the number of different parties who touched on the issue, from lawyers to engineers and investigators, the matter was not brought to the notice of the topmost executives. This is a sad fact especially considering that many senior executives including a Chief Engineer, Vehicle Line Executive and three senior managers knew of the problem.
The behavioral organization model used in the company within the case study is an Autocratic model. This model suits the one used by GM since it the one associated with the lowest performance minimum. This is the case because the managerial orientation is authority and the lower-level employees have little control over their work function. This can be the only explanation for why such a problem as the one faced by GM could have slipped through so many hands and people without getting resolved, or at the very least, alarm raised on the issue
Other behavior organization models tend to move away from the autocracy and low-level innovation and motivation to try and satisfy and motivate the employees while increasing their motivation. An example is the custodial model whereby the employees are provided with economic security so as to enhance their motivation and loyalty (Janakiram & Rao, 2010, p. 139). The supportive model is based on aspiring leadership. Rather than focus on authority and control as the autocratic model, the supportive model attempts to motivate staff via the manager-employee relationship and the manner in which employees are treated on a day-to-day basis. The collegial model is based on teamwork whereby everybody works as colleagues. In this model, it is not about job titles or status but rather active participation from every employee. The system model is last and is based o the team environment and overall structure and takes into consideration the fact that individuals have different talents, goas and potential. The aim of the system model is thus to attempt to balance the goals of the individual with that of the organization (Ferraro, 2012, p. 95).
Every company and organization has its own unique niche and culture, hence the particular organizational model that they adopt will be unique as compared to a similar organizations within the same industry. Different organizational models will have different pros and cons depending on the particular organization that has implemented it.
Culture has a great impact on the way in which organizations function and further affects employee motivation to a great deal. This can best be seen in the context of high-context collective cultures and low-context ones whereby the former cultures may have employees who feel embarrassed to be given individual rewards. Culture further has an effect on the communication process whereby people from different culture have different ways of language usage, nonverbal communication and verbal style (Ivancevich & Matteson, 2003). Culture will also have an effect on conflict resolution.
GM could be sad to be acting within the organizational behavior model unique to the automotive industry since most automotive companies have been shown to have rigid corporate culture and hierarchy of seniority. This is a perfect example of the autocratic model.
I would personally not say that motivational models have shifted much since their original forms. This is as compare to organizational models which have shifted over the years to adapt to numerous change within the environment and market. Motivational models however rely on similar factors.
Ferraro, J. (2012). Project Management for Non-project managers. New York: AMACOM .
Ivancevich, J. M., & Matteson, M. T. (2003). Organizational Behavior and Management. Soutehrn Africa Business Review, 7(1), 17-24.
Janakiram, B., & Rao, V. N. (2010). Management and Behavioral Processes. New Delhi: Excel Books India.