OCI Organization Culture Inventory

13 Pages   |   3,813 Words

Organization Culture Inventory Analysis for General Motors Company

Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction. 3
2.0 Current Culture. 4
2.1 Cultural Type. 5
2.1.1 Primary Style. 5
2.1.2 Secondary Style. 5
2.1.3 Weakest Style. 5
2.2 Behaviors Associated With Cultural Type. 6
3.0 Targets for Cultural Change. 8
4.0 Potential Benefits and Risks of Cultural Changes. 10
4.1 Humanistic Encouraging Behavior. 10
4.1.1 Potential Risks. 10
4.1.2 Potential Benefits. 10
4.2 Avoidance Behavior. 11
4.2.1 Potential Benefits. 11
4.2.2 Potential Risks. 11
4.3 Perfectionist Behavior. 11
4.3.1 Potential Benefits. 11
4.3.2 Potential Risks. 12
5.0 Conclusion and Reflection. 12
Bibliography. 13
 

1.0 Introduction

General Motors is one of the biggest names in U.S based multinational companies. General Motors has been one of the oldest automobile companies in America, and it emerged at the turn of 20th century when automobiles were as few as 8000. The automobiles at the time were based on steam, electricity or gasoline engines. An automobile show in the 1900 showed how much the general public in America was fascinated by automobiles (Kashefi, 2004). The founder of General Motors is William Billy Durant, who gave birth to this multinational giant on September 16th, 1908. Durant had been a well known manufacturer of horse drawn carriages before entering in the automobiles industry. General Motors Company grew rapidly, and acquired many companies on the way.
The wonderful inventions by science started giving ideas to people like Durant to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the new wonders of science (Peterson & Anand, 2004). The demand for automobiles also started soaring up as it became possible to offer a better means of conveyance to the consumers. In 1920s, General Motors became the pioneer in automobiles and a trend setter for others to follow. General Motors surpassed the stage where it was known as a quality automobile provider, and reached its peak where it became a brand name associated with status symbol. Chevrolet, Vauxhall and Opel were the starting point of diversified offerings from General Motors, and people bought them not for necessity, but for luxury.  As General Motors kept moving up the ladder of success, it also advanced its operations by opening more plants in United States.
 

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General Motors has had a long and successful journey, and in the present millennium it has a strong presence in several major countries such as China and Brazil. The presence of General Motors in major markets has marked it as a global company. General Motors also diversified its field of specialization by introducing GM Daewoo in 2002, which proved to be a booster for Chevrolet as a global brand. General motors’ designs and quality of automobiles has undergone through continuous improvement, and it has also gone through tremendous innovation.
General Motors trend of bringing something new and unique in the market is still as consistent as ever. It has been introducing automobiles that can run with alternative sources of energy. General Motors has introduced vehicles that can run on hydrogen power, and its battery fueled cars proved to be a huge success in the market (Cornwell & Harrison, 2004).
 

2.0 Current Culture


The diagram shows the OCI (organizational Culture inventory) circumplex, which shows the percentile scores for General Motors plotted on a circular diagram. The circumplex diagram is used to show twelve cultural norms that can be adhered by an organization, and that helps in identifying a particular organization’s prevalent culture. The bold line shows the 50th percentile, which indicates that the prevalence of a particular culture is to a medium extent. The spikes are used to identify the way in which members of the organization are expected to behave. The extension of the spike is used to find out the primary and secondary styles in an organization. We will now analyze the diagram to find out the primary and secondary styles of General Motors (Fox & Harding, 2005).

2.1 Cultural Type

2.1.1 Primary Style

The primary style of an organization is identified by looking at the most extended spike in the diagram. The primary style of an organization indicates the pre-dominant behavior in an organization. The primary style is expected and encouraged in every member of the organization. The primary style of General Motors is “Self Actualizing”.   
A self actualizing culture is associated with creativity, and is defined as a culture that encourages quality over quantity. Task accomplishment and individual growth are the two predominant characteristics in a self actualizing culture. An organization with self actualizing culture is expected and encouraged to derive enjoyment from work, working on their personal development and indulging in unique interesting activities. It can be difficult to organize and control the members of an organization with self actualizing culture, but innovation and high quality are positive aspects developed from this culture. Employees of this culture are also ranked higher because of their outstanding skills, and it also helps in attracting further talented employees in the organization (Warner, Hegtvedt, & Roman, 2005).

2.1.2 Secondary Style

The second longest extension in the diagram is used to identify the secondary style of an organization. The secondary style in an organization can work as complimentary with the primary style of the organization, or it can also be expected when the primary style is absent due to some reason. The secondary style identified for General Motors is “Oppositional”. Organizations are mostly expected to have their primary and secondary styles in the same cluster of behaviors. However, the diagram for General Motors shows that the primary style of the members lies in Constructive cluster of behaviors, whereas the secondary style lies in “Aggressive/Defensive Styles’.
The secondary style of General Motors Company indicates that the members of this organization are expected to approach tasks in a forceful manner, in order to promote the status and security of their job (Grant, Bergesen, & Jones, 2002).

2.1.3 Weakest Style

The weakest style of General Motors Company is identified as “Conventional”. The weakest style of the organization is identified by looking at the smallest extension. The weakest style of the organization can also be defined as a behavior of the organization which is least expected to be prevalent amongst the members. The conventional style lies in the Passive/defensive cluster of the circumplec diagram, and it shows that the members of General Motors Company are least expected to only conform to rules dictated by their superiors. Moreover, conventional behavior in an organization also indicates that the member do not think out of the box and take independent steps, but only go with the directions provided by the organization to leave a good impression in superiors (Goodenough, 2003).
In a nutshell, it can be said after looking at the diagram that the members of General Motors Company are autonomous. They are not directed by their superiors to a large extent, and they work according to their own independent rules. General Motors is a large established company that believes in innovation, and innovation is hindered by conventional behaviors. The employees are self-actualizing and oppositional, which means that they make independent decisions to a large extent and they work for their own personal development as well as the development of the company.

2.2 Behaviors Associated With Cultural Type

General Motors has been identified as an organization driven by self actualizing and oppositional behaviors. It has an Aggressive/defensive as well as a constructive style, and the styles can be justified with what the company does. General Motors has been in the market since 1908, and it is the pioneer as well as the leading automobile organization of the world. The sales of automobile in General Motors make it the largest automobile organization in the world. The organization is constructive, and it encourages self actualization amongst its members because it is a company that is known for its innovation all over the world. A company cannot be innovative if its members are dictated, and they have rigid rules to follow. Moreover, today’s competitive environment encourages autonomy in employees, which seems to be the motto of General Motors. An autonomous employee is not only more motivated, but he also plays an important role in the development of the company by being participative in the operations of the company. General Motors needs ideas from all ends to keep innovation in its automobile, and silent conventional employees cannot help them in their objective (Vallas, 2003).

General Motors is also known for its aggressive/defensive style because it strives to hire the best people from the market. General Motors does not compromise on anyone less than the best professionals for every department of the organization, because it promises to deliver the best quality to its customers. The company works is an industry where it is essential to be fast paced to be able to manufacture rapidly and innovatively. The aggressive/defensive style is the right behavior for General Motors to be able to go with the fast pace of the industry.
General Motors is considered as an organization with oppositional behavior, because it promotes internal competition in the organization. Moreover, it is always set on finding errors and fixing them before the competition can take advantage. The solutions to problems are derived in the company by undertaking several rigorous discussions. The discussions encourage opposition amongst members so as to come up with several alternative approaches. The oppositional approach gives rise to many alternative solutions to one problem, which is the basic objective of the discussions (Maskin, Qian, & Xu, 2000).

General Motors is always under pressure to complete its projects and launch them in the market before competition. There is always a flurry of activity going on in the organization related to the completion of projects, and the related interactions between different departments. The dynamics of the organization are characterized as oppositional, because criticism is highly encouraged in General Motors. The rigorous discussions and criticisms might slow down the work flow at General Motors, but it helps in coming up with the best idea after choosing from several alternatives. The nature of the product calls for extra attention on designs and safety precautions. The flaws in the design are discussed extensively, and the most appropriate solution is chosen after making sure that the problem has been looked at from all possible sides.
Conventional style is the least prevalent organizational behavior in General Motors. Conventional style is usually followed by organizations that are conservative, controlled and traditional. The conventional style comes under the passive/defensive cluster of behaviors in the circumplex of Organization Culture Inventory. The members of a conservative organization follow the rules to make a good impression on the superiors of the organization. However, the members in General Motors are found to be autonomous to a large extent, and they work self actualization as well as personal development. The objective of General Motors’ members is not to make their superiors happy by conforming to rules. The members of the company have their own independent thinking that does not revolve around making other happy. The conventional behavior in an organization also dictates acceptance of rigid policies and rules, whereas members in General Motors do not abide by any rigid rules and policies.
The organizations primary, secondary and weakest styles belong to different behavioral clusters of the circumplex, but the results go in harmony with each other to reinforce that the employees in General Motors are not dictated by their superiors. The company strives to achieve the best results in terms of product quality and innovation by allowing oppositional criticism, autonomy in employees and discouraging conventional behavior in employees.

3.0 Targets for Cultural Change

OCI Style Your Raw Score Your Percentile Score Typical Ideal Percentile Score Gap
Constructive Styles        
  1. Humanistic Encouraging
31 29% 85% -56%
  1. Affiliative
37 41% 71% -30%
  1. Achievement
36 42% 78% -36%
  1. Self-actualizing
41 87% 82% 5%
Passive/Defensive Styles        
  1. Dependent
28 36% 24% 12%
  1. Avoidance
23 67% 27% 40%
  1. Approval
26 42% 27% 15%
  1. Conventional
22 22% 18% 4%
Aggressive/Defensive Styles        
  1. Competitive
21 46% 42% 4%
  1. Perfectionist
32 64% 25% 39%
  1. Power
21 33% 30% 3%
  1. Oppositional
25 69% 45% 24%
Table 1: Targets for cultural change
The highlighted cells in the above table highlight the three targets for cultural change. The targets for cultural change have been identified by calculating the difference between current percentile score and ideal percentile score. The percentile scores with greatest difference are the areas where there is a need for a cultural change. The formula used for calculating the difference is as follows
Gap= Actual percentile score-typical ideal percentile score
The negative values incurred for constructive styles from this formula indicate the areas where there is a need for cultural improvement. The positive values incurred for aggressive/defensive and passive/defensive styles from this formula also indicate the areas where the organization needs to work for cultural improvement. The three areas of cultural improvement have been selected on the basis of highest gaps. One style from each behavioral cluster has been identified as the target area for cultural improvement. The three identified areas as per the information in the table are “Humanistic encouraging”, “Avoidance” and “Perfectionist”.

The positive values in the constructive styles and the negative values in the aggressive/defensive and positive/defensive styles indicate the areas where the organization is performing better than expected. The gap of 5% in self actualizing style shows that General Motors’ members have a behavior that is well above the expected.

The first greatest gap is present in the “Humanistic encouraging behavior”, which indicates that General Motors is not encouraging this particular behavior as much as it should. The humanistic encouraging behavior is associated with supportive stance between members of the organization. Moreover, the members belonging to a humanistic encouraging culture are open to influence when they deal with each other. There is a need for General Motors to encourage humanistic encouraging behavior in the organization. The ideal score for humanistic encouraging behavior for General Motors is much higher than the actual score. The humanistic encouraging behavior needs to be encouraged to close this cultural gap.

The second greatest cultural gap identified by the table is present in “Avoidance behavior”. The avoidance behavior falls in the passive/defensive cluster of behavioral styles. The actual avoidance behavior is much higher than the ideal percentile. The avoidance behavior encourages non-commitment among employees, and the employees prefer to stay out of trouble as well as not take the blame for anything. The percentile score in the table shows that avoidance behavior in General Motors is much higher than the ideal score, which is not desirable. The low ideal score indicates that the members should take responsibility for their actions, and not indulge in non-committal behavior. This behavior needs to be discouraged in the organization to close this cultural gap.

The third greatest gap identified in the table is present in the “perfectionist behavior” of the aggressive/defensive cluster of behavioral styles. There is a difference of 39% between actual and ideal percentile scores, which means that there is a need to discourage perfectionist behavior for closing this cultural gap. The perfectionist behavior dictates that the employees should value perfectionism, struggle, hard work and persistence. Perfectionist behavior also encourages employees to avoid mistakes, pay attention to the procedure and work overtime to achieve perfection in the process. However, too high perfectionism can lead the employees to lose sight of the actual goal, and waste their efforts over unnecessary perfectionism. Too much emphasis on perfectionism can also lead the members of the organization to unhealthy stress and strain.

4.0 Potential Benefits and Risks of Cultural Changes

4.1 Humanistic Encouraging Behavior

4.1.1 Potential Risks

The first cultural change that General Motors should go through is for closing the cultural gap to achieve ideal humanistic encouraging behavior in the organization. The positive aspects of encouraging humanistic encouraging behavior are that it gives rise to supportive, open and constructive influence among the members of the organization. It is preferred in organizations to have supportive and constructive influence in the organization, and the ideal score for General Motors shows that it is also required for this company. However, the nature of the business of General Motors Company cannot afford to have too much dependence among members of the organization. It encourages innovativeness, out of the box thinking, autonomy and self development in employees. The promotion of humanistic encouraging behavior might dampen the competitive and oppositional nature of the organization. It is necessary for the organization to maintain an oppositional behavior to deal with the competitive nature of the automobile industry.

4.1.2 Potential Benefits

Humanistic encouraging behavior is also sometimes defines as the ability of an individual to take interest in others, care about other individuals and encourage them to develop themselves. It has also been shown that members of the organization with high humanistic encouraging behavior are better at communicating with other members of the organization. It is not only good for the development of others, but it is also good for self growth. The diverse nature of the organizations today calls for an ability of the individual to be able to deal with every type of individuals. General Motors is a huge company with employees belonging to different cultures and creeds. The members of the organizations need to have humanistic approach to be able to effectively deal with fellow members effectively and equally.

4.2 Avoidance Behavior

4.2.1 Potential Benefits

Avoidance behavior encourages employees to be non-committal, never being blamed for mistakes and avoiding trouble or conflict. The characteristics related to avoidance behavior are good for an organization because it helps in avoiding frequent conflicts in an organization. It also means that the members of an organization would submit to orders without resistance, and calmly follow orders and policies. The members who follow avoidance behavior are also characterized as non committal because they do not negate or challenge when they are faced with an advice, order or opinion. All the mentioned characteristics would help in minimizing conflicts in General Motors Company. The members of the company would easily accept any changes in the organization, and follow orders without any resistance. Moreover, harmony among members of the organization would also increase with increasing avoidance behavior in the organization.

4.2.2 Potential Risks

The above mentioned benefits would no doubt bring harmony in the organization and reduce conflicts to minimum, but it might also have some negative impact on the culture of the company. The oppositional nature of the organization is prevalent to maintain a competitive edge. The members of the organization undergo rigorous discussions to make sure that the problem is addressed in the best possible manner, and several alternatives are generated for solution. This is made possible only because all the members show their opinion, negate others if they feel appropriate and look at the problem from all sides. If the members of the organization start taking a more calm stance just to avoid conflicts, then perfection might not remain the same as before. Moreover, innovation in the company might also be affected because people will become more submissive.

4.3 Perfectionist Behavior

4.3.1 Potential Benefits

The automobile industry asks for perfection at every step of manufacturing and delivering the product to customer. The nature of the product demands extreme care because the customer invests a heavy amount in the purchase, and security of the buyer is also at stake if the product is not perfect. A small defect in the automobile by the company can tarnish the reputation and brand image of the company. General Motors has built a well earned repute for the past several years, and it cannot be put in jeopardy by compromising with perfection. Perfectionist behavior at General Motors goes well above the ideal score of the company.

4.3.2 Potential Risks

There are also potential risks attached with high perfectionist behavior in the company. It is said that if an organization emphasizes too much on perfectionism, the members of the organization lose sight of the real goal and spend unnecessary time and effort on achieving perfection. However, reducing the level of perfectionism to close the cultural gap can also be risky because employees might become relaxed about the level of perfection they are about to achieve. They might perceive at the individual level that the collective effort towards perfectionism is sufficient, and they can compromise at personal level. This can lead to collateral damage for the company.

5.0 Conclusion and Reflection

The organization culture inventory for General Motors Company shows that the company is doing its best to maintain the number one position in the market. General Motors seems to be concentrating most on maintaining innovation, and the results show that the predominant behaviors in organizational culture of General Motors are prevalent to stay as the number one automobile innovator in the industry. However, some of the behaviors in the organization have exceeded the normal limit and the might prove to be harmful for the company, which is why suggestions have been given in the report to close the cultural gap for some cultural styles.

This report has been an immensely learning experience for me, because I got to know about the organizational culture of General Motors in depth, and also learnt to use the OCI (organizational culture inventory) tool to fully analyze the behaviors of the members of the organization. This exercise also helped me in realizing that some of the positive behaviors in an organization can also prove to be harmful if they are excessive.
During the work for this report, I came to know about a much more extensive analysis of Organizational Culture Inventory. The extensive analysis helps in going into much more detail about the behaviors and their hidden causes. I hope to be able to address General Motors’ organizational culture inventory much more extensively for the upcoming GM591 report.

Bibliography

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