A leadership style entails the methodology employed by leaders in the provision of direction, implementation of organizational strategies, and motivation of others at the workplace. Leadership styles vary depending on the personality of the leader and the environment within which they are working. In this case study, the leadership style employed can be best described as a pacesetting form of leadership as the GM leadership culture does not involve other stakeholders in the development process of the organization or its affairs. For instance, there is no effective communication between the leaders and their employees, and the organization does not have a definitive protocol that can be followed to address any concerns arising. The contingency theory of leadership explains that the steps taken to maintain an organization depend on the specific culture of the given organization (Kerr et al., 1974). This theory can be best applied to the organizational leadership of GM.
There are some characteristics and decisions made in the case study which can help explain the shift in the management of GM. For instance, to change the leadership style of GM, it is essential that the organization puts in place policies geared towards an inclusive culture, such as establishing a proper communication structure that encompasses the opinions of its employees. It should be noted that one of the most important characteristics of an effective leadership style is where there is efficient communication among the organizational stakeholders (Shockley-Zalabak, 2011).
The leadership of an organization is often influenced by a number of aspects, including both internal and external factors (Tsui et al., 1995). In the case of GM, several factors are likely to have played a role in the change of leadership style from a vibrant and inclusive culture to a non-inclusive one. For instance, some of the internal factors that may have been responsible for the shift in leadership include a change of management as detailed in the report (Kuppler, 2014). Changing leaders in different capacities within an organization has an impact on the management style as each leader has their own way of managing organizational aspects, including human resources. Additionally, external factors such as competition may have been responsible for the shift in the leadership style at GM.
The organizational decision-making framework in the GM case study is significantly influenced by the prevailing leadership style. For instance, the limitation in inclusive communication in the organization has significantly influenced the level of decision-making, as critical decisions are made only by the top management (Kuppler, 2014). An example is when the top management decides to fire 15 employees without any explanation or involvement of other stakeholders.
IV. Organizational Culture
GMs organizational culture can be best described as hierarchy-oriented as it is formulated on a structured basis, with the top management presiding over the day to day running of the organization. In this case, the internal culture of GM is based on a weak structure that is unable to manage some of the internal problems facing the organization effectively. For instance, the ineffective policy formulation has been responsible for the reported inability of the organization to deal with the ignition switch aspect (Kuppler, 2014). The failure to work on the company's ignition switch problem is also based on a weak internal organizational culture that does not take into consideration inclusive management and the enhancement of collective responsibility. As a result, no one in the organization has been ready to work on the shift for the last 11 years.
The hierarchical culture of the organization has been responsible for the lack of motivation for the workers, who have solely relied on the top management to solve their issues. For instance, the issue of ignition shift is reported to have not been presented to the top management until 2013 (Kuppler, 2014).
VI. Insights and Conclusion
The leadership style of GM and its organizational culture complement each other as they both involve top-down power strategy. In this regard, the management of the organization is left for the top managers as they are the ones handling the decision-making process. One way the organizational leadership of GM has influenced its culture is through the communication strategies that have been put in place. For instance, their workers are unable to make individual decisions on the aspects affecting the organization. Additionally, there is neither interaction nor inclusion at the staff level as all orders are channeled from the top management. As a result, the organizational leadership style and culture have influenced the behavior of the employees, as it has been observed in the case of the ignition switch problem where no information was provided to the top managers despite the problem having been in existence for 11 years (Kuppler, 2014).
Kerr, S., Schriesheim, C. A., Murphy, C. J., & Stogdill, R. M. (1974). Toward a contingency theory of leadership based on the consideration and initiating structure literature. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 12(1), 62-82.
Kuppler, T. (2014). The GM Culture Crisis: what leaders must learn from this culture case study. Switch & Shift. Retrieved 13 July 2016, from http://switchandshift.com/the-gm-culture-crisis
Shockley-Zalabak, P. (2011). Fundamentals of organizational communication. Allyn & Bacon.
Tsui, A. S., Pearce, J. L., Porter, L. W., & Hite, J. P. (1995). Choice of employee-organization relationship: Influence of external and internal organizational factors. Research in personnel and human resources management, 13(1), 117-151.
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