General culture which need significant modifications to overcome

General
Motors, GM, is an automobile manufacturer that is facing important changes due
to vehicles recalling because of a defective ignition switch. This issue
interfered with the safe operation of airbag systems of the automobiles and
caused over thirteen deaths. This ignition switch was known for eleven years,
and any of the employees who were engaged in this matter took the
responsibility to fix it. Some of the critical attributes that the company has
are its leadership and culture which need significant modifications to overcome
the cultural crisis that they were facing at that time. Some of the weaknesses
are The conflict messages from top management, first, “When safety is at
issue, the cost is irrelevant” and two, “Cost is everything.”
One engineer said that the G1 prominence
on cost control at GM “permeates the fabric of the whole culture.” (Kuppler,
2014). There wasn’t a sense of urgency to resolve the issue during the decade.
There wasn’t a hero who emerged in this story, even though the engineers identified
the problem since the beginning, they gave the resolution of an issue of
customer convenience rather than safety and didn’t inform to the senior
executives since the beginning of it. On the other hand, some of the strengths
that the company had after the investigation are: They restructured the safety
decision-making process to take the issues to the senior management directly.
The company added thirty-five safety investigators that are going to resolve
and identify problems faster. And, the implementation of a new Global Product
Integrity organization that will intensify the safety and quality performance.
It’s essential for the business to have a strong management system in areas
such as training, recruitment, reward and performance management to achieve an
improved organizational effectiveness and a stronger corporate culture.G2 

Organizational Modeling

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Organizational behaviors indicate how is the response of
individuals and management together. After the investigation of the
organization and the tragedies that caused, GM seems to start using a
supportive model which relies on leadership. With this type, leaders support
their employees by encouraging and supporting them to accomplish a better job,
communicate with each other, the manager promotes participation, and help
employees to grow. According to the CEO of the organization, they are trying to
work and solve problems together as a team. Mary Barra is trying to encourage
her team members to own each other’s obstacles to succeed.

Additionally, to the supportive organizational model, exist
custodial, autocratic, collegial, and system model. Each type has its pro and
cons, and each company should choose which is the ideal model that suits its
needs. The custodial model is contingent upon benefits, the employee would
perform to get a reward, but this one doesn’t promote teamwork. One of the
harmful sites of this model is that causes employees to work just when there is
an incentive or reward ahead of their coworkers, but it may work as an incentive
and motivation for some employees. Before the modification of the culture, GM
was practicing an autocratic model, which is the one that relies on power and
the managerial orientation is the authority. GM employees and managers who knew
about the safety problems may not felt reinforced or motivated enough to
resolve the issue or raise the severe matter to the upper management. It showed
to be a lack of urgency as well since to solve the problem took over a decade
to catch the attention of Mary Barra. It is a clear example of an autocratic
model because employees depend on the manager, and they are responsible for
making most of the important decision. Also, the lower-level teams usually
don’t have a voice of the significant decisions. When companies use this model,
the performance may be lower than expected, in this case, GM’s autocratic
environment caused many employees to ignore the issue and created the idea that
the responsibility belonged to someone else, and not to the ones who knew about
the defect. It’s important for this company in the case and others in the
industry to use the supportive model to encourage individual and organizational
objectives and goals. The autocratic model can be very successful depending on
the boss, and the employee orientation is the obedience; unlike the supportive
organizational model, this type is demanding, and not supportive. Some examples
of companies using this model are Martha Steward Living Omnimedia, Donald Trump
of Trump Organization, and Howell Rained of New York Times. Additionally, the
Collegial organizational model depends on partnership, and employees depend on
each other cooperatively and work as a team to do the duties. Performance
result is moderate, and also, enthusiasm and the physiological end is self-discipline.
The advantage of this model is that managers are just not demanding results
from their employees, but they are also responsible for the success of the
organization; they also build a valuable relationship and responsible
behaviors. One company that uses the collegial system and is similar to GM in
extension but not in the same industry is Google, that’s why their goal is to
perform as a team, not as individuals. The collegial model is typically used in
competitive enterprises, such as technology, and uses ideas and innovation as
its key success factors. Lastly, is the system model which is based on trust,
self-motivation, and the performance outcomes would be more than expected
because employees have a high level of commitment to the company. One of the
characteristics of this model is that managers need to understand the nature of
their corporations before making any decision. They focus on the employees’
needs and about the changing in the environments to obtain the best model to
get the best results.G3 G4 

The system models differ one from another and managers can
have a preference, but they are not ideal for every organization because the
nature of them is not favorable for a self-driven environment. The main reason
for these models is to guide employees through the process of how to follow a
particular model. These models can be applied to different issues such as work
ethics, honesty, work tasks, communication, and politics. What works for one
company may not work for another one, especially when they are part of
different fields. For example, in the manufacturing field, the main propose is
producing quality manufactured goods as quickly and efficiently as possible,
and working as a cooperative team helps to achieve that. On the other hand,
sales industries, for example, it is every man for himself, teamwork is not a
requirement for success, and the individual sales are what make up the
organization’s accomplishment. In the case of GM, as it was mentioned before,
the autocratic environment that the company was submerged caused the employees
to ignored the defect that ended up in tragedies because they thought that they
didn’t have the responsibility to resolve it, they were waiting for the CEOs to
be in charge of the resolution. This was caused because of the lacking of
leaders to encourage, prepare and change the managerial orientation and the
organizational culture. That’s why it was necessary to change the managerial
orientation and the culture of GM as soon as possible to overcome this crisis.

Culture refers to the actions and behaviors that employees
have in a company, and it is created by values set forth the company. It plays
an essential role in shaping behaviors at the workplace. In this era, for an
organization to be successful, it is necessary that they manage and establish
an excellent organizational culture to work toward a common goal. When culture
is lacking, it’s an error of management for not giving it the importance that
it needs.

GM is not operating within an organizational structure that
is unique to its industry. Many companies in this industry follow this
supportive model, one example is Nissan. They try to create a relationship
between the employees and managers. Employees have the freedom to

take the initiative and are
self-motivated. At the Nissan factories, workers are inspired to keep hard work
and find different solutions and ways to improve their jobs.

The culture over the course of the country’s history has had
an impact on organizational models and has shifted motivational models. In the
beginning, during the industrial revolution, almost every company used the
autocratic model. Textile mill and factory workers didn’t have any voice to say
in the organization, and all the authority was held to the CEO. The only
motivation that these workers had was the money that they could earn at the end
of the shift and bring to their homes. But after the workers started to form
unions, business began to change their organizational models to custodial
models and included benefits for their employees in addition to their
compensations. When women started to work as well, some organizations commenced
to create daycares or playrooms for the kids and added the maternity leave.
These changes helped to create some better environments for companies in
automobile and sales industries to build employee loyalty and skilled
personnel. Many companies, like GE, decided to use the supportive model to
create a manager-employee relationship to gain advantages and vision.
Motivational models are useful when workers feel inspired by a positive
environment at work and support, and when some of them don’t feel completely
satisfied with authority or financial protection. With the new technology
industry, the collegial model started to appear, because companies need to find
new methods to be ahead of competitors, their essential elements are innovation
and creativity to boost their firms. Zappos and Google, are excellent examples
of companies that use this model. This motivational model takes place when
workers demonstrate to be more motivated by each other and working together as
a team to achieve goals.

In conclusion, Mary Barra, the company’s CEO, eventually
recognized GM’s failures and attempted to take some steps to improve it, but
they missed the most important part for change which was the culture
organization.