Organizational culture in the United States automotive industry
AdvisorBurch, Reuben F., V
Walden, Clayton T.
Embargo TypeVisible to MSU only for 2 years
Embargo Lift Date2022-08-15
Organizational culture is a product of both internal and external factors. Leaders sometimes attempt to change culture using a variety of mechanisms, while the effects of external environment simultaneously exert influence. The external environment effects can be especially pronounced when comparing a traditional, Midwestern automotive firm (General Motors) with a Silicon Valley automotive startup (Tesla). A study was conducted to compare the social system of these two automakers and to identify some of the factors, both internal and external, shaping their culture. Data was collected on the employment history of engineers and managers using the social networking platform LinkedIn.com. Similarly, publicly-posted employee reviews were collected from the website Glassdoor.com and analyzed using a novel method for classifying and analyzing open-form written survey responses. Together, these records paint a picture of the employee perceptions of culture for both companies, the breadth of external experience represented in their workforces, and the tendency to fill management positions from internal candidates. The results suggest that external environment has broad effects on workforce experience, thereby creating certain cultural attributes such as loyalty or a drive to innovate. The results also suggest that promoting internal candidates more often does not necessarily lead to employee perception of better career opportunities. Taken together, the results reinforce but expand traditional views of organizational culture and call for further study on the matter across more industry groups.