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There are various forms of leadership styles that managers and organizational leaders use. Often, the style of leadership that a manager chooses is greatly determined by their personality. In GMs case study, it is evident that there was an authoritative style of leadership where the top management shared their goals with the employees but did not follow up or create a strategic way of achieving the goals. The management in GM had for long left the subordinates to figure out the challenges they faced by themselves. Due to lack of established protocol in GM, the employees did not have a way of passing information from bottom to top. There seem s to lack clear avenues of relaying feedback from top to bottom and the vice versa. For that reason, the type of leadership style in GM has for long been authoritative.
It is often necessary for managers and leaders to revise their leadership styles in order to enhance performance within their organization. In relation to that, GM leaders had to change their management style from authoritative to become pacesetters. It is unfortunate that serious safety information within GM was not handled with the urgency it required due to poor leadership styles that did not provide a platform of communication with the employees. It is such poor practices that resulted to poor engineering of GMs ignition switch. Another negative attribute in GM’s management is the aspect of being reactive rather than being proactive. Had the safety information “about the ignition switch” been handled with urgency as their goals assert, the 13 deaths would have been probably avoided. GM found the need to change their leadership style due to public pressure after the accident that claimed 13 lives.
The change of leadership styles is evident in the case study where the company changes the operations by hiring more experienced investigators and engineers to help in developing more secure GM systems, the company also fires 15 employees who were considered unproductive and incompetent within the organization. The company also provided clear cut procedures or relaying all forms of feedback and urgent safety information. The company also eliminated the authoritative style of leadership by assigning the task of decision making to the top managers rather than leaving employees to make their company’s decisions.
There are various factors that may have contributed to the change of leadership styles within GM. These factors comprise of both internal and external influences. To start with safety is the main external influence that triggered the change in GM. As stated in the case study, the top management of GM asserts that “if safety is at stake, then price is irrelevant”. Public safety is imperative and if the company would have a bad reputation regarding the safety of their products, they would be kicked out of the market by the competition. Safety is therefore a major external influence that may have resulted to the change in GM’s leadership style. The internal factors however are the main reasons for change in leadership style of GM. Some of the factors included, poor communication, poor decision making, poor allocation of jobs, lack of clear protocol and procedures within the company and lack of experienced pacesetters. These factors collectively led to confusion and a bad work environment that ultimately resulted to dismal performance.
Considering that GM used an authoritative style of management where senior managers share the bulk idea with subordinates but fails to make decisions on achieving the goals, there is no relationship between the leadership style and the decision making process. However, having adopted a pacesetting style of leadership, the decisions on how to achieve certain goals are specifically made by the managers thus everyone within the organization is aware about the course of action they should take.
Primarily, GM’s culture is based on hierarchy and market culture. However, the management of GM is reluctant to adherence of the formal regulations, rules and bureaucracy that should be demonstrated by these cultures. The employees at GM lack enthusiastic leaders to motivate then and this has led to negative ripple effects. While the operations should be leveled by a chain of commands from the top leaders to the subordinates, the decision making process is left to the employees. This negatively affects the organizations culture since poor decisions ultimately results to confusion.
The case study is based upon the safety of GM’s ignition switch. This means that GM’s culture is determined by the market. However there is an irresponsible culture within GM where employees fail to take accountability of certain tasks because they should be assigned to other people. Employees are neither motivated nor innovative due to the fact that they all agree on something but little is done to implement the agreed changes.
When a good leadership style is adopted, it also impacts on the internal culture positively. In this case, the style of leadership and the internal culture complement. This is because the top management has alienated itself from the daily operations of company thus leaving their employees dissatisfied and confused. This translates a poor internal culture where irresponsibility and incompetence are imminent. The change of leadership style relatively affected the internal culture of the organization. This entails changes on how decisions are made, how the employees relate and how the tasks are handled. Affirmative leadership would definitely influence the behavior of the employees. For instance, employees tend to take instructions from their seniors more seriously that from parallel sources hence leaving the decision making process to the top managers would have positive impact on how the employees operate. Another example is when employees are fired for incompetence by the new management. This would encourage other employees to step up their competence in order to retain their positions.
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