Case Study – General Motors
It’s been a
rough ride for General Motors. In 2008, GM’s remarkable run of 77 years as the
world’s largest automaker came to a crashing halt. In 2009, after a decade of
mismanagement and declining sales, the company declared bankruptcy and needed a
massive government bailout and thorough reorganization to stay afloat. During
that time, more than 2,000 dealers were closed for good, and almost 23,000 employees
were released. There is some hope that the new, streamlined GM, featuring new
models, will regain its once-dominant position in the U.S. auto market.
However, it is becoming increasingly clear that GM’s future may lie in China.
In 2009, there
were 13.6 million cars sold in China, an increase of 46 percent from 2008, and
nearly 3 million more cars than were sold in the United States at the same
time. In 1977, there were just 1 million cars in China; as of 2008, there were
51 million, and it’s conservatively expected that the Chinese auto market will
grow 10–15 percent every year. Unlike in the United States, GM hasn’t been
stuck on the sidelines in China. It sold 1.83 million cars in 2009, an increase
of 67 percent over the previous year, and has a solid record of 15 consecutive
months in which its sales have grown by double digits. By 2015, GM hopes to
sell 3 million cars per year in China. This would not only make GM the largest
auto seller in China, but it would make China GM’s largest and most lucrative
operates in China as part of a joint venture with the SAIC Motor Corporation.
Through the partnership, GM owns a minority stake in two companies,
SAIC-GM-Wuling and Shanghai General Motors. Increasingly, however, you’ve heard
your GM colleagues argue that new organizational design is needed, one that
will give the company a stronger presence in China, and decrease its dependence
on the U.S. market. A group of these managers has come to you to seek out your
opinion on how GM can organize to best take advantage of shifting conditions in
the global auto market.
Refer to General Motors Case Study for Questions 1 and 2:
The text describes a number
of different approaches concerning organizational structure. Which do you think
would be ideal for GM’s success in China? Which of the structures would help GM
expand to other foreign markets?
What are the advantages and
disadvantages of promoting decentralization in GM’s operations in China?
three types of special teams that do not fit easily onto the team autonomy
structured and unstructured interviews.
types of selection tests that companies use to evaluate job candidates.
What is affectivity? Why do
managers need to understand affectivity?
Case Study – South Korea
Five years ago,
your company assigned you to a management position in its new research facility
in South Korea. You were thrilled with the promotion, and grateful to your
bosses, who recognized your skills and talents. At the same time, there was a
lot to be nervous about—adjusting to a new culture and language, finding a
school for your kids and a job for your wife, figuring out where to buy
familiar groceries. But even with all the struggles, you’ve thoroughly enjoyed
your time in Korea, as you got to learn new things from your employees and
teach them new things from your experiences. In fact, you’re quite surprised
that you’ve had such little conflict with your Korean associates.
however, one area that you could never quite get a handle on—vacation time.
Like every other employee in the company, your employees were given three weeks
of paid vacation per year. But, other than the occasional three-day weekend,
they never took any time off. At first, you wondered if this was just unique to
your company. But then, you saw statistics that showed that Koreans, on
average, worked more than 2,300 hours per year, 600 more than the average
American. While these long hours show great organizational commitment, they
have extremely negative effects. Overworked employees are more prone to stress
and physical illness and are less likely to be efficient or productive. Indeed,
according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, an
international group comprised of 30 of the world’s largest economies, South
Korea ranks near the bottom in terms of productivity.
Even the South
Korean government has taken notice of the dangers of overwork. A few months
ago, President Myung Bak Lee announced that all state employees would be
required to take 16 days of vacation per year. You were quite happy to hear
about this policy, and hopeful that it would influence the private sector. But,
you also wonder if there aren’t other changes needed. From your conversations with
Korean managers, you’ve learned that there is one big reason why Korean
employees don’t take vacation time—because their supervisors don’t take
vacation time. Even while requiring government employees to take 16 days off,
President Lee himself has taken off only four days since his 2008 election.
Jin-soo Kim, a director in the Ministry of Public Administration who wrote the
16-day policy, took no vacation time at all in 2008. Even you, the
“enlightened” American, remember working through Lunar New Year’s Day, one of
the biggest holidays in Korea.
want your employees to take more time off. It’s what’s best for them, their
families, and for the company’s productivity and efficiency. What is the best
way to motivate them to take a break?
Refer to South Korea Case Study to
for Question 7:
7. Which motivation theory(s) do you think would help
communicate the importance of vacation time to your employees?
How can managers
use the basic principles of needs and rewards to motivate employees?
9. What are the advantages and disadvantages of tying an
executive’s pay to the company’s performance?
10. Describe the strategies managers can use for waste prevention
11. Define leadership and
management and explain how leaders and managers approach their jobs
12. What does it mean when someone says that an organization protects
its information? Why it is important to do so? What are the basic steps to
properly securing data and data networks?