General Motors Co Organizational Culture


One of the ways to assess organisational culture is to map where a given organisation falls on a set of different spectrums. Typical features of organisational culture include:

  • Innovation and risk taking
  • Attention to detail
  • Outcome orientation
  • People orientation
  • Team orientation
  • Aggressiveness
  • Stability (in contrast to readiness to grow) 

For this Assignment, you will use these features to evaluate an organisation with which you are familiar.


General Motors Co Organizational Culture

General Motors Co. is of the largest vehicle manufacturing companies in the U.S. The company has its headquarters in Detroit, United States, and concentrates operations in the automobile industry as well as in the financial services sector. General Motors (GM) operates in over 37 countries producing different brands of motor vehicles and vehicle parts.  GM has five different segments under which it operates. These segments include: GM South America, GM North America, GM International Operations, GM Europe, and Financial. This paper will evaluate the typical features of organizational culture with regard to General Motors Co.

Innovation and risk taking

General Motors is highly involved in developing new products or new models and introducing them into the market. This has enabled the company remain competitive in the highly volatile automobile market. GM has a dedicated innovation team knows as the Advanced Portfolio Innovation Exploration Group (APEx) that is charged with developing new product designs. APEx comprise of a team of 40 experienced engineers who imagine and develop futuristic cars (Davies, 2016). Some of the new concept designs from the team include funkstalgic Chevrolet SSR, Silverado, and a variety of electric cars that are already available in the market. GM has become the first company to develop an all-electric car dubbed Model S, which can cover up to 300 miles before a recharge. The sale of fully electric cars in the U.S. is still low, comprising about 1% of the total vehicle sales. Nonetheless, GM has taken the risk to develop fully electric vehicles that appeal to consumers.

Attention to detail

This involves accuracy and thoroughness when developing various products. GM team of engineers and product developers employs this concept in coming up with new products in the market. In new product development, GM employs Crosby’s management philosophy which states “Do it first the right time.” Crosby advocated for zero defects in production. The basic idea of quality relates to the degree to which the products conform to outlined standards or requirements. APEx uses Crosby’s ideas in new product development. That is part of the reason why Bolt EV, the futuristic fully electric vehicle model has generated great interest among consumers. GM’s fully electric vehicle will have a mileage of about 200 miles compared to other models in the market such as Nissan Leaf and Tesla’s Model S which can go for approximately 80 miles (Davies, 2016).

Outcome orientation

Outcome orientation is about the management’s focus on the final product or result as compared to focusing on the processes employed to achieve the results. GM’s management focuses on the final results. GM uses a divisional structure that is based on products and geography to ensure the production of high quality products (Cummings & Worley, 2014). GM is more concerned with the function of vehicles rather than form. It aims at developing products that are of high quality and service to consumers. GM conducts extensive research and testing on all motor vehicle designs before they are released to the market. In 2016, GM worn an award for the “10 Best Engines”, which was based on fuel efficiency, power, and new technology (“General Motors,” 2016).

People orientation

People orientation is about the management’s concern to employees. GM is concerned with how its decisions impact employees. The company has developed a non-retaliation policy whereby employees are encouraged to voice out any concerns without fear of victimization or harassment. The company encourages employees to work with integrity and under the written rules. GM also promotes fair treatment and respect for all employees. With regard to this, training, hiring, pay and promotion decisions are purely based on merit. The company also emphasize on workplace safety. GM encourages employees to report any potential workplace risks for their own safety (Barra, 2015).

Team orientation

Team orientation involves the organization of work activities around teams. General Motors organizes work activities depending on tasks and assigns special teams to work on the specific work activities. For instance, APEx Group is primarily charged with developing new product designs. Another notable team in GM is the Corporate Brand Character Center. This team comprises of creative individuals whose responsibility is to promote the company’s image among consumers and investors. The current CEO, Mary Barra, has been recognized for the outstanding role she has played in developing teamwork and coordination at GM. Most of the tasks at the company are currently done through teaming.


Aggressiveness refers to the level of competiveness in the market. GM has regained its competiveness after it experienced bankruptcy in 2009. GM has developed a variety of new vehicle designs including Bolt EV that are meant to compete with products from other companies. The Bolt EV electric vehicle designs are expected to be released into the market in 2017, offering up to 200 miles of mileage when fully charged (“General Motors,” 2016). The new model is expected to compete with Tesla’s Model S, an electric car developed by Tesla Motors, Inc., but with limited mileage on full charge, which is about 80 miles.

Stability (in contrast to readiness to grow)

GM has regained its market share since the 2009 bankruptcy. Under the leadership of Mary Barra, the company has once again risen to the top automobile companies. Over the past few years, the company has been able to regain profitability through new product development. The change in management has augured well for GM. With regard to financial stability, there is need for more diversification in order to secure solid growth in future. The company should diversity its product portfolio to include a range of other products and services such as manufacture or household items.


Barra, M. (2015). Our Values and Guidelines for Employee Conduct. Available from: WI.pdf

Cummings, T., & Worley, C. (2014). Organization Development and Change. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Davies, A. (2016, Feb. 1). How GM Beat Tesla to the First True Mass-Market Electric Car. WIRED. Available from: mary-barra/

General Motors (2016) Chevrolet Clinches Two Engine Awards [online]. Available from:

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