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BMW’S Dream Factory & Culture Essay

1. Describe the culture of BMW.

Organizational culture is an idea in the field of Organizational studies. A culture is derived through the individual experiences, attitudes, shared values or common perceptions that are held by each member of an organization. Organizational culture affects such outcomes as productivity, performance, commitment, self confidence, and ethical behavior. Within the auto industry, Bavarian Motor Works, or BMW recently chose to create a paradigm shift from a divisional style of leadership to an organic business. A value system has evolved within the organization that drives passion, which in turn brings forth energy and ownership from leadership to associates of the company.

Founded in 1916 by a merger of two companies Rapp Motoren Werke and Gustav Flugmaschinefabrik, its origins as a company specialized in airplane engines, thus creating the inspiration for its current logo, introduced in 1920, the circular design of an aircraft propeller. BMW is a company with a hierarchy, but the decisions are made at the level where capability rests. The decisions that are made in the company are a result of informal networks, along with numerous brain storming sessions. Department managers have the ability to decide without a committee which omits needless bureaucracy. Regardless of your job title all levels work together to create ideas to better the brand and product.

2. Discuss the model of leadership illustrated at BMW and the related impact on the organizational culture.

Management at BMW is critical to the ultimate viability of the organization. In 1997, BMW chose to change their leadership style from classic to organic. This change was due in part to the leadership at BMW recognizing the value of the employees and listening to their ideas. The company chose to cultivate their own career managers from within the organization and not hiring any top executives from outside the business unless special needs were presented and an internal hire was not possible (Avery, G. C. 2004). BMW’s structure is based on teams which include a supervisory board consisting of 21 members. The board of management consists of 10 members, and there are several other networks of teams which are all self managing. At the company’s assembly line, the culture of being visionary changed the hierarchical leadership model to teams that independently solve problems and make decisions. BMW has adopted a concept of having visionary leadership where Avery, G. C. (2004) contends that the company’s move from a hierarchical culture made its leadership to move closer to its employees, which in turn made the workers take ownership of how the organization works and operates in business matters. Teamwork and collaboration have become the corporate culture of BMW since this new style of leadership has taken effect.

3. Analyze why employees derive high job satisfaction at BMW, using the concepts illustrated in the job characteristics model (see chapter 5).

BMW has enjoyed tremendous success as “the ultimate driving machine”, but it was the culture of BMW that drove the roadmap for decorum of its employees. The company determined that to meet the needs of the business it needed to use various models of reinforcements to motivate the employees thus creating a culture of receptiveness, incentive, and confidence (Hellriegel, D., & Slocum, J. W., Jr. 2010) The same culture gave its employees high job satisfaction with its inclusiveness and job ownership impression. Employees have a clear idea of the mission that has to be accomplished. Hellriegel and Slocum (2010, p. 140), contend in their analysis of the job characteristics model that “If all three psychological states are positive, a reinforcing cycle of strong work motivation on self-generated rewards are activated.” “A job without meaningfulness, responsibility, and feedback is incomplete and doesn’t strongly motivate an employee.” BMW chose to empower their workers by using material rewards which translated into a new pay plan. The company offers the best salaries to the employees along with health benefits that make sure of employees motivation being always high at the work. The culture at BMW allows employees to feel they are valued and that their ideas are appreciated.

4. Discuss the attributes of organizational creativity that are fostered at BMW.

BMW’s organizational creativity produced a business model focused on excellence and vision. Establishing an enterprising work culture includes various factors to be considered, with BMW focusing on expecting their employees to think in entrepreneurial terms, self managed, and inventive ways which benefit all involved. The company demanded that this type of creativity in an organization could foster a working side by side approach that produced a rebranding of mindset in the quality of open door communication in its corporate culture. Until the new system was implemented, employees were paid whether they worked or not, but using the new organic culture, employees earned vacation time for working longer hours. The pay off of this system produced workers who had tendencies of being more consistent in their learned behavior because of this reward system. (Hellriegel, D., & Slocum, J. W., Jr. 2010).

5. Discuss how the culture and work environment impact the performance results of BMW.

BMW’s visionary goal was to accelerate performance, job satisfaction, and increase their bottom line. With a revamped organic culture, BMW provided a positive work place, rewarded and recognized it employees, and involved and increased employee engagement. By developing the skills of its workforce and by promoting from within, and most importantly continued to evaluate and make improvements the company saw overall increased profitability. The result of ordinary business activity in the BMW automobile segment was up by 5.1% to 2.106 million euro in 1997. The financial services division was successful, sales increased by 6.6% (Kasperskaya, Y. 1999). The implementation of BMW’s corporate culture took vision, acceptance, and dedication. The responsibility for change and performance improvement rests squarely on the shoulders of leaders at all levels. A motivating environment is one that gives workers a sense of pride in what they do.

Avery, G. C. (2004). Understanding Leadership. London: Sage. Hellriegel, D., & Slocum, J W, Jr. (2010). BUS520: Organizational 2010 custom edition. (12th ed.)Mason, OH: South-Western Centrage Learning.


Kasperskaya, Y. (1999) Case Study of the 1999 BMW Group

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