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BMWs Corporate Culture and Competitive Advantage

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Can you explain how BMW uses corporate culture to provide the company with a competitive advantage in the highly competitive automotive industry?

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The Power of the Workforce: An Entrepreneurial Culture

Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) has figured out the key to increasing sales, decades after facing issues that threatened the company's survival. According to corporate lore, in 1959 the company nearly went bankrupt and was at risk for takeover from its' chief competitor, Mercedes. As a result of this near death experience, "BMW has been running scared for years"(Edmondson, 2006). In response to this crisis, the company has evolved into a dynamic, flexible competitor, utilizing employee' ideas and rewarding employee flexibility to outperform other companies in the automobile industry.

BMW distinguishes itself through its' willingness to listen to employees and act upon their ideas. The company has taken this concept so deep within its' corporate culture that it designs building and factory layouts to encourage interaction between engineers, line operators, and management. BMW's factory in Leipzig uses airy spaces to "improve communications between line workers and managers and create an environment that helps the company build cars better" (Edmondson, 2006). Furthermore, the concept of the car is always present, focusing employees' thoughts on quality, design and improvement. Edmondson's article describes how unfinished car bodies move along a track that run through the workspace of employees, effecting the rhythm and feel of the operation. The parade is such that should it slow, workers throughout the operation become attune to a problem needing to be solved, and in the spirit of the company, work together to resolve issues. The open design of the building causes workers from all aspects of the operation to cross paths, encouraging the open exchange of ideas.

This interaction drives quality for the automotive manufacturer. Quality control is applied from start to finish in the process of producing cars. The company demands suppliers adhere to quality specifications, and ultimately, all cars have a full pre-delivery inspection prior to being delivered to the customer. Furthermore, each automobile is given a full quality check after assembly, and weekly quality audits are performed in a public plaza to continue to reinforce quality as part of the guiding principles of the ...

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This extremely detailed solution explains how BMW uses corporate culture to provide the company with a compeitive advantage. APA references are included.

See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

Strategic Management for Harley Davidson

Please help with following questions:

i) Discuss to what degree you believe Harley Davidson is currently proceeding towards its mission, vision, and values.

ii) Identify two or three of HD's most important stakeholders and discuss whether Harley Davidson's current strategic direction is aligned with the needs of the corporation's stakeholders? Please explain your reasoning.

iii) Based on your analysis and findings, what would you recommend to the executives of Harley Davidson? Why? Please explain your reasoning.


Harley Davidson: A Unique, Loyal Stakeholder Base

In this course we are going to be looking at Harley Davidson Motorcycles Corporation, Inc. from a strategic management perspective. This organization is quite unique in that it has worked very hard through the years to build its brand and has acquired a loyal following. This loyal customer following has actually been quite a phenomenon and many have even identified it as "cult like". That is to say, HD is very unique, and particularly unique from a stakeholder perspective.

The corporation is now reaching to other countries in an attempt to expand its niche across borders and oversees. There is a lot of competition in the motorcycle market. Some competitors include Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, Indian, Victory, BMW and Triumph motorcycles.

And although HD dominated the heavy-weight motorcycle market in America for many years, in recent decades many of the above mentioned competitors have developed cruisers and touring bikes of their own, emulating
HD's bikes to include a V-twin engine design.

For this assignment, you are to read the information in the background material, spend some time getting a feel for HDs history, strategy and key stakeholders, and then write a 3 to 4 pages report for your professor and the executives of Harley Davidson by addressing the following assignment requirements:

Case expectations:

This paper should include:
An introduction stating the thesis, position, or central theme you plan to take in your paper.
A main body discussing:
1. Your interpretation of HD's mission and vision.
2. Your assessment of the stakeholders and their needs/goals.
3. Your critical assessment as to whether HD's mission and vision takes their stakeholders into account.
4. Your recommendations to HD executives.
A conclusion concisely stating the main points of your analysis and the conclusions you reached.

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