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General overview project

General Motors

GM Group 3's insight:

1/ Precisely describe the studied case of organizational change : what did it consist in : scope, object, time horizon ? How was it implemented? What were the (negative & positive) results?

 

After some brainstorming with the our group we decided to choose General Motors as the company we were going to investigate. We did some research and we found a few reasons why we could use this company as an example for our “scoop.it!”.


Scope?

 

We decided to examinate the General Motors Bankruptcy and organizational changes of GM. We were not limited to one major change but a combination of different changes who are related to each other in a complex way.

Related to the bankruptcy we found out the highly controversial US government “bailout”. This bailout was not limited to the US government but also EU governments provided loans. Today the bankruptcy is under investigation after ignition defect.

For the organizational changes we saw that those changes have influences in several management areas, such as: Marketing, production, R&D, finance. We tried to find out how they adapted on those changes and which strategies they implemented.


How Implemented?

 

We tried to find information that gave a general overview of our chosen topic. We tried to diversify our post by searching for articles, audiofiles and videofragments.  


Scoopability?

 

The reason why this company is suitable for our scoop.it, is because there is a lot of digital media available. But one of the negative points were that, we quickly noticed that a lot of information we found was not that useful for our topic because of the quality of the articles. Due to the complexity and number of changes, there was an opportunity for analysis of the links between different changes. Through using scoop.it, these complex changes could be visually linked and the platform provides an opportunity for easily conveying the nature of the case.


Positive and negative results?

 

The main positive results is that we learnt more about the changes of General Motors. How different people can have a other influence in a company in which they reach their goals and objectives.It was difficult to link the different changes, due to the complexity of the changes our chosen company had to face.

 

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GM change from a political and incremental point of view

GM change from a political and incremental point of view | GM change G3 | Scoop.it
GM Group 3's insight:

In this article I am going to discuss GM’s organizational change from two different perspectives: incremental and political. First of all what are incremental and political perspectives? Incremental perspective or approach takes into consideration the past, culture, behavioral routines, structure and previous decisions that weigh in the change process. On the other hand, the political perspective is about the political games (power relations, conflict, negotiation) and the individuals involved in them during the change. GM organizational change case was and still is a very controversial one because of all the consequences it had, which will not be profoundly discussed in this article.

When we talk about the political perspective in the GM change case it’s impossible not to think about all the different stakeholders that were affected by GM’s bankruptcy, including shareholder’s, directors, employees, US government and even competitors and other automobile companies. During GM’s change process there were many power games and pressures involved as the company changed its owners, main directors and strategy. Many changes have a direct impact and came from  the government, which after bankruptcy had a lot of power in GM; however, with time the US government started reducing its holdings in GM. With so many stakeholders involved it was not easy for GM to establish what would be the new strategy to follow, however, the company has been improving since its bankruptcy, with still some problems in between such as the major car recall due to ignition problems.

Now from an incremental perspective, GM has made many changes. New GM CEO, Mary Barra, wants to change GM’s working culture. She wants to implement a culture based on discipline and resolve any problem that may show up smoothly. Change in GM cannot be decided without taking into account its past behavioral routines and structure, which has been in constant change since the bankruptcy. Maybe that was one of the factors taken into account when the board decided to put Mary Barra as the new CEO, taking into account her long history in GM and the car industry.

GM is a huge company and this crisis has been useful to demonstrate how it can overcome all this obstacles , from all the political pressures to an unstable structure.  

 

 

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The Rise of Finance and the Fall of Business

The Rise of Finance and the Fall of Business | GM change G3 | Scoop.it
Two of the biggest business news events of the moment—GM's ignition switch scandal and the hoopla over Michael Lewis' new book about high frequency traders—actually have roots in the same issue: the financialization of America. This is a topic I've been fascinated with for some time.
GM Group 3's insight:

This article talks about the relation between financialization of the United States and the fall of great businesses, one major example being GM. GM has faced many changes since its bankruptcy problems, however, this article shows that many of these changes and new ideas are short term and doesn't really help the company.

This article shows that there are other stakeholders in big companies' decisions, such as GM. 

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How General Motors CEO Dan Akerson tweaks culture, builds teams - Washington Business Journal

How General Motors CEO Dan Akerson tweaks culture, builds teams - Washington Business Journal | GM change G3 | Scoop.it
Dan Akerson is not running for class president. The General Motors CEO is not trying to win a popularity contest.
GM Group 3's insight:

"Things had to change at GM. CEO Dan Akerson learned about the “GM nod” shortly after taking the reins — there was little disagreement in decision-making meetings. Akerson demands that his leaders challenge the status quo, question norms, and embrace the idea that past practice is not always the best practice."

 

Dan Akerson was determined to bring change to GM. He ran into several behavioral patterns that where heavily affected by GM's culture. A striking example is the lack of disagreement in decision making meetings. To change this behavior it was necessary to shake things up, and this resulted in letting people go. “Some of those dismissals were high profile and some were the hardest I had to make in my entire career. However, if there are no consequences to resisting change, then the culture will not change.” says Dan Akerson.

 

It is clear that effectively changing an organization requires the combined effort of many executives and other employees. The article teaches us that communication is key in bringing change to an organization as GM. Executives shouldn’t be separated from the rest of the teams to enhance relationships among every layer of the organization.

 

Sven

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CEO Barra: GM leadership dedicated to changing culture

CEO Barra: GM leadership dedicated to changing culture | GM change G3 | Scoop.it
GM Group 3's insight:

In this video GM CEO Mary Barra explains how the company has restructured and reorganized to change its corporate culture that led to its product failure. They had to do this to bring comfort back to the consumer. 

She says that there has been a total remake of the way they drive quality. There are a lot of new people mixed with people who know the company, they renewed the quality processes, they eliminated the bureaucracy and they look across the entire organization.

But the most important thing is the leadership, the way they behave. Management needs to focus on the customers, safety and quality. 

What we learned from this video: 
Culture change doesn’t happen in a year or two but it’s a journey. And to make this change you need to be dedicated and convinced of the way your going in. Everybody in the company needs to follow the same route and way of thinking to make it successful. 

 

Jakob

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GM Group 3's comment, April 29, 2014 9:38 AM
In this video GM CEO Mary Barra explains how the company has restructured and reorganized to change its corporate culture that led to its product failure. They had to do this to bring comfort back to the consumer.

She says that there has been a total remake of the way they drive quality. There are a lot of new people mixed with people who know the company, they renewed the quality processes, they eliminated the bureaucracy and they look across the entire organization.

But the most important thing is the leadership, the way they behave. Management needs to focus on the customers, safety and quality.

What we learned from this video:
Culture change doesn’t happen in a year or two but it’s a journey. And to make this change you need to be dedicated and convinced of the way your going in. Everybody in the company needs to follow the same route and way of thinking to make it successful.



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Here Are Some Of The Management Changes That Are Saving GM

Here Are Some Of The Management Changes That Are Saving GM | GM change G3 | Scoop.it
Look under the hood.
GM Group 3's insight:

GM is headed in the right direction. The company has established certain policies and procedures in its operational and financial activities which are starting to turn around its outlook. For example, more involvement and better control of budgets, more responsibilities and rewards to employees, and GM is learning from the outside to improve the inside of the company.

 

Thomas

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Digital Research for Pedagogical Purposes

Digital Research for Pedagogical Purposes | GM change G3 | Scoop.it

4/5. How do you explain the success (or difficulties) experienced in your change case? What do you retain from this digital research : what did you learn (regarding organizational change and the pedagogical experience)? What did you like? What was difficult? What do you think of using digital media for pedagogical purposes?

GM Group 3's insight:

How do you explain the success experienced in your change case? (Jakob)

 

General Motors faced some heavy problems the last 10 years with the bankruptcy and the bailout. A change was needed and General Motors was successful in his attempt to change. Former CEO Dan Akerson played a key role in the recent changes of GM and their way to the recent success. Akerson was very determined and demanded that his leaders challenged the status quo, questioned norms, and embraced the idea that past practice is not always the best practice. He ran into several behavioral patterns that where heavily affected by GM's culture. A striking example is the lack of disagreement in the decision making process. To change this behavior it was necessary to shake things up, and this resulted in letting people go.

 

The next CEO, Mary Barra continued the change successfully. Because Barra lived through the dark days of bankruptcy and the success of the past few years, she deeply understands what works and what doesn't. GM employees describe Barra's management approach as "calm, smooth and polite". But behind her nice talk and smile there is a true determination to push things in the right direction. When implementing a change it's very important that the leader is determined and encourages others, this is what Barra certainly does. 

 

Barra is also patient with implementing the changes. She fully understands that changing such a big organization with so many stakeholders can't be done in a short period of time. She first does what's most necessary and then goes on to something new, Barra doesn't skip a step in the change process. 

 

Things are going much better these days. GM has reduced the number of brands and models it makes, improved its financial systems, and has a new CEO in Mary Barra, who is well positioned to continue that success.

                                                                                                                                                            

What did we learn? (Sven)

 

One of they key learning points of this digital research is that change is difficult to manage in organizations. Whether it is incremental or transformational change, it requires firm leadership and the will to change has to become embedded in the organizational culture. In the case of General Motors it is seen that new CEO’s bring change to the company. Often change is necessary to save the company from bankruptcy. This is perfectly illustrated by the GM case. This case teaches us many things about two important change perspectives. The political perspective shows us that all stakeholders affected by GM were important to deal with. The US government also gained a lot of power and influence after the bailout. With this many important stakeholders, it was difficult to change strategy. From an incremental perspective we learn that to change the culture of a company, small adjustments have to be made over time. Change is difficult to manage because there is resistance to change and many stakeholders have to be taken into account. Change also takes time to implement. Doing digital research about change in a real life case definitely helps our understanding of how change is implemented. It also allows to see results from a real life case so that it possible to analyze what went wrong and what worked very well in the change process.

 

What did you like? What was difficult? What do you think of using digital media for pedagogical purposes?

 

Doing digital research about change in a real life case definitely helps our understanding of how change is implemented. It also allows to see results from a real life case so that it possible to analyze what went wrong and what worked very well in the change process. Doing research in group context also turned out to be useful to share ideas and knowledge about change among the group members. This increased our understanding of the concept and implementation of change.

 

However, it is difficult to find different high quality articles about the case. Many articles describe the news of change in GM in the same way, which makes it difficult to assess the change process from different angles.

 

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Barra: Disciplined and determined to change GM’s ways

Barra: Disciplined and determined to change GM’s ways | GM change G3 | Scoop.it
General Motors' next CEO is both a product of the company's bureaucratic, hidebound culture, and a crusader against it. Early in her tenure as GM's product chief, Mary Barra concluded that the company needed a new family of global, more fuel-efficient engines. And she figured GM would need a lot of them -- around 2 million units.
GM Group 3's insight:

This article talks about GM's new CEO, Mary Barra. It explains that Barra wants to implement a more disciplined way of working. She has been with the company a long time and is described as calm and smooth. These qualities should help her overcome the many challenges she has to deal with.

 

 

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GM's Big Overhaul Could Create More Problems For The Company

GM's Big Overhaul Could Create More Problems For The Company | GM change G3 | Scoop.it
'Decentralization' is a flawed strategy.
GM Group 3's insight:

“After releasing disappointing second-quarter results earlier this month, General Motors is revamping. Among its planned strategy changes, the company intends to shift power from so-called regional “fiefdoms” to global functional heads.”

 

Since the year 2009 GM has had to deal with declining revenues, profits and market share. CEO Dan Akerson tells us that major cultural changes have to be made. This will be done by shifting authority from regional power centers to global functional head, which will lead to breaking the silo thinking of the organization. These structural changes are aimed at making the company more nimble, efficient and effective. However, centralization is often associated with less nimble and effective organizations. So it is a bald move for GM to go through with these kinds of changes. The article teaches us that change often involves tough decisions and it takes courage to find new paths for the organization to walk.

 

Wharton emeritus management professor Lawrence Hrebiniak says: “Provide incentives for desired and clearly stated performance goals; hold people responsible and accountable for performance outcomes; change or move people who don’t perform; and promote managers who meet the revised performance parameters and who value cooperation and knowledge sharing for the common good.”

 

Sven

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GM engineering shakeup directly tied to ignition switch recall; more changes coming

GM engineering shakeup directly tied to ignition switch recall; more changes coming | GM change G3 | Scoop.it




GM Group 3's insight:

GM had to reorganize its global engineering department as a result of its ongoing recall crisis. 2.6 million vehicles have been recalled due to faulty ignition switches, these problems are linked to at least 13 deaths. 

This article learns us that an organizational change is not going to change everything. GM needs to have the right people at the right place in the organization, with good leadership skills. It's also vital that departments communicate effectively and that they don't work as silos. The GM's organizational changes needed to be made to ensure that potential problems are spotted and handled more quickly. 

 

Jakob

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How GM can recover - Reuters Blogs (blog)

How GM can recover - Reuters Blogs (blog) | GM change G3 | Scoop.it
Reuters Blogs (blog)
How GM can recover
Reuters Blogs (blog)
A likely explanation is that the board and senior management were so focused on digging GM out of bankruptcy that they weren't paying attention to what else may have been going amiss.

 

Thomas

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GM's Outgoing CEO Lays Out All The Problems That Drove The Automaker Into Bankruptcy

GM's Outgoing CEO Lays Out All The Problems That Drove The Automaker Into Bankruptcy | GM change G3 | Scoop.it
Outgoing CEO of GM Dan Akerson explained all the terrible decisions that sent the automaker into bankruptcy.
GM Group 3's insight:

A birds-eye view summary of some of the issues which faced GM, leading it to bankruptcy.

 

While reactive management is crucial to organizational success, this article helps to illustrate and reinforce the importance of proactive management. Being able to predict and anticipate changes, rather than simply responding to them and adapting when they occur, provides organizations with a leg up on the competition.

 

In this case, as stated by Dan Akerson (outgoing General Motors CEO), GM failed to act proactively and simply reacted by "treat(ing) the symptoms, not the disease, robbing precious dollars from product development."

 



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