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Submitted By clone1542
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1. How would you describe the organizational culture at GM? Why was decision making so slow—“plodding” as one analyst described it?
While the case does not give much insight into GM’s culture, what is evident is that they have been slow to change. Having not shown a profit for six years (or much profit in the last 15), GM has either been slow to recognize changing customer preferences and/or slow adapting to technological changes in the competitive automobile industry. Decision making can be equated to ‘analysis of paralysis,” or the over-thinking of a situation, so that a decision is never made, in effect paralyzing the outcome.

2. Why do you think the previous CEO’s (Mr. Henderson) attempts to change the organizational culture might have been lacking?
Henderson’s failure could be attributed to his obsession with numbers. Too much focus on numbers may have clouded his judgment in that it was the culture of GM which needed to be changed. Another reason could be that Henderson was a GM insider who had been with the company since 1984. Having risen from the ranks to eventually become Vice President, Henderson could have adopted the same analysis of paralysis of other GM managers. Having been responsible for approving many of the programs in his position as VP, Mr. Henderson may have also felt some attachment to them and let them continue.

3. What changes is Mr. Whitacre making to the culture of GM?
Whitacre seemed focus on changing the decision making process of GM. By empowering employees to make their own decisions, change could occur more efficiently with the use of too many committees.

4. What types of resistance is he likely to encounter? Using Exhibit 6-5, what would be the best ways to address that resistance? Be specific.
Because of GM’s failing economic position, it would be expected that there would be structural and human resource changes in addition to the cultural change Mr. Whitacre was seeking. These types of change often result in employee layoffs. Considering the strong emotions that can arise during times of layoffs and the fact the GM had previously tried to change and had been ineffective, facilitation and coercion may be the most effective means of combating resistance. Any efforts that take too long, or require trust may not work in GM’s situation.…...

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