General Motors Company as an Organization

How do organizational functions impact the structure of this organization?

A number of Organizational functions help in shaping the structure of General Motors Company. Marketing function helps in the strategic selection of relevant marketing tools and target. In this way, it helps the company in identifying how it should advertise, distribute, and determine the nature of its products in a given business environment. The most important functions of marketing in General Motors include advertisement, product management, customer service, public relations, research, and product service among others (Mesarovic & Takara, 2003).

Product Management, being the centrality of the organization, General Motors has a structure with a department of Product Management led by Product Manager, a position which entails key responsibilities including selection of best price and the would be sales volume of the cars and other products offered by the General Motors (Mesarovic & Takara, 2003).

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Promotion functions in the differentiation of the product have to create their awareness as well as making them wanted by consumer target. This function has provision for the Company to have a promotion and advertisement department led by a product manager (Mesarovic & Takara, 2003)

What changes would you make to increase the efficiency of operations at this organization (be specific as to why you would make those changes and what you expect them to achieve)?

A number of changes ought to be made. The first one is combining the Product Management Department with the Promotion and Advertisement Department. This would be led by one manager and it will reduce bureaucracy, as well as ease on comparative roles that come back and forth when the departments are crystallized into one. The second is creating a Research Welfare department separate from the entire human resource department, since reports indicate that employees at GM are fatigued and increasingly getting less motivated and one the reasons which has been cited is income disparities in relation to the current economic crises, increase in work related injuries among others (Miner, 2007).

Motivation is important in streamlining improved performance. According to Maslow, people tend to be motivated by what they do not have; a person starts at the bottom of the hierarchy (pyramid) and will initially seek to satisfy basic needs e.g. food and shelter (Miner, 2007). Once these physiological needs have been satisfied, they are increasingly getting less a motivator, and the individual moves up to the next level.

Safety needs at work could include physical safety for example protective clothing as well as an increase in employee’s income. This department will also enhance attention on the social needs that recognize that most people want to belong to a group and that teamwork within the various departments for the promotion of interrelatedness. Further, employees would like feel appreciated and recognized for what their contribution in the organization, and in such a situation, they will always aim for the highest need of self-actualization.

What are the different types of organizational structures?

Basically, there are different types of organizational Structures, namely, traditional Structures, divisional structures and matrix structures. Traditional structures respond to the functional decision and departments and are stringent in following the norms and rules of an organization. Often times, they have a number of authority heads whose roles are well defined and do not conflict with one another (Irani, 2011).

Traditional structures are of two types: Line Structure, Line and Staff Structure as well as functional structure. Line Structures have a stringently defined set of command, with orders usually having an up-down approach, mainly suitable for small offices and small firms (Irani, 2011). Line and Staff structure involves a communication pattern that runs from up to bottom in a chronological order, with departmental heads providing the necessary support and exercising authority over their subordinates. The disadvantage here is in terms of decision-making, which is often slowed down (Irani, 2011). Functional Structure stipulates roles and responsibilities according to individual expertise so that there is an Engineering Department consisting of engineers among others (Irani, 2011).

Divisional structures are the second type of structures lined in from of divisions, divided into product structure, geographic structure, and market structure. Geographical structure involves situations where an organization has different operations in different Regions (Irani, 2011).

Matrix Structure, combining function and product structures, is the most effective of the aforementioned structures and brings forth proper organizational efficiency and management in a complex organization (Irani, 2011). It thus goes without saying that the Matrix Structure is the best for General Motors.

Which type of structure do you feel is the most effective? Why?

Traditional Line Structures appear to be most effective for a number of organizations. This is because they have a stringently defined set of command, with orders usually having an up-down approach, thus no room for ambiguity in roles and conflicting responsibilities. In any case, it enhances accountability and transparency, while competition in terms of blame games is absent.

However, for the General Motors, Matrix Structure is the most effective, mainly because the “structure combines both function and product structures” (Irani, 2011). It thus portends the most effective and efficient way for the management of complex organizations (Irani, 2011). This should be compounded by the fact that General Motors has branches in many countries and thus the degree of its complexity is high and requires a detailed management structure.

How can organizations determine if they are structured in the most effective and efficient manner?

This is done by carrying out evaluation. These evaluations should be focused on employees’ satisfaction, customer/client’s satisfaction, and the profit margins of the organization. The first way is to do employee assessment. This plays a critical role in establishing cordial relations existing between the management and other subordinate employees. Often times, how the evaluation is carried out would give the right or wrong feedback. Therefore, it is recommended that such assessments be done in a friendly manner such that employees give out information without fear of intimidation (Mesarovic & Takara, 2003).

The other way is to assess the extents to which conflicts arise within a given structure and how these conflicts are managed. Certainly, conflicts are part and parcel of organizations and the integration and quick solutions to those conflicts determine the effectiveness of the organizational structure. This for instance tests the employees’ motivational levels in line with the management structures.

Clients or customers satisfaction is also an important aspect to consider in evaluating the degree to which an organizational structure is effective. Usually, this generally measures the perception of customers about the organizational customer relationship and how the products or services it offers are satisfying or not. Moreover, this measures bureaucracy in getting services, employees’ attitude when giving services and organizational competence of the system (Mesarovic & Takara, 2003).

Profit margin is also an important factor. The evaluation of the extent to which the projects set and managed by the structure bring profits plays a critical role in determining the extent to which the structure is working or not. If the organization is making profit then it is more likely that the structure is functional (Mesarovic & Takara, 2003).

Discuss the lessons from the above that was learned and why these are important to you

A number of lessons can be cited in this study. One is that organizational structures should be based on the Simplicity or the Complexity of the Organizations (Irani, 2011). A company like General Motors is a complex type of organization and the structure it chooses should be reflective of this. A complex organization requires structures which are ‘multi-purpose in nature’’. It should entail function as well as product structures. This, for General Motors, brings about its efficiency as it is spread in a number of countries across the world.

Employee satisfaction is an important parameter to gauge the functioning of organizational structures. This is because the extent to which they are satisfied plays a vital and decisive role in determining the existence of pleasant relations and communication effectiveness in terms of flow of information between the management and other employees. Further, it gauges the employees’ motivational levels. If they are satisfied, then the structure and the functioning of the structure are satisfying, and they should thus be maintained. If they are not, then certainly the structure, communication and implementation of the organizational set activities are largely affected and thus something needs to be done, either in restructuring or adopting to another structure altogether.

References

Irani, Khushnuma. (2011). Types of Organizational Structures. Web.

Mesarovic, M. and Takara, Y. (2003). Organization Structure: Cybernetic Systems Foundation. New York: Plenum Publishers.

Miner, J. (2007). Organizational Behavior: From Theory to Practice. NY: M.E Shape.

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