With nearly 100 years in the industry the culture at BMW is an anomaly in the car manufacturing business. BMW has infused collectivism in its culture by making employees feel that they are a part of history on day-one of employment. Their managers often look to employees for answers. Problem times from years past are also told to the new employees. For example, when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1959 and was saved by a local business man, these mishaps are used as learning tools to stop history from repeating itself.
Regardless of an employee’s title, all levels work together to create ideas to better the brand and product. BMW’s openness fosters an environment of innovation and creativity. The traditional hierarchy seen within other organizations is not an obstacle at BMW and employees are encouraged to voice their thoughts and ideas. Team brainstorming is done on a regular basis and everyone’s input is valued. This can only boost the self-esteem of the workforce. “Employees with high self-esteem place more value on actually attaining their goals than do employees with low self-esteem” (Helliegel & Slocum, 2009).
BMW Model of Leadership’s Impact on Organizational Culture As stated earlier, the leadership at BMW values the employees and listens to their ideas. The type of open door leadership BMW allows employees to feel as if they have value to the company and its achievements. Informal listening sessions are used to brainstorm for ideas with all levels of employees. It is sometimes referred to as a freewheeling idea factory. Employees from all different departments get together and work on a single project.
This culture allows employees to feel as if they are valued and that their ideas are appreciated. No one is looked down upon when they present an idea even if they are not as “high up” as the other people in the room. This allows great ideas to be given and fostered. “At BMW ideas are everything and as an independent company, we make sure great ideas live on to become Ultimate Driving Machines” (BMW Group, North America, 2006). The management team at BMW understands how to be culturally insensitive, and have good communication or negotiation skills.
Why Employee Derive High Job Satisfaction The case clearly states that BMW employees work side by side at all levels, which has fostered a quality of open door communication in the organization. The company offers top salaries to the employees along with health benefits, recognition, and rewards for longevity. These are the type of initiatives that ensure employee motivation remain high at work. BMW was one of the first companies to offer profit sharing in Germany to its employees.
The job characteristics model involves increasing the amount of skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback in a job. As part of workforce autonomy, BMW conducts a number of brain storming sessions, which is a clear indication that employees respect to each other while discussing ideas that are generated. Attributes of Organizational Creativity Fostered by BMW As innovation begins with creative ideas, enhancing the frequency and the level of creative ideas is a very important issue to companies.
Research has discovered that the environment has a strong impact on both. BMW’s culture is well suited for inspiring its employees’ creative ideas to flow. In fact, they encourage it. Understanding the role the environment can play is particularly important. To cope effectively with change over the years, BMW has become more innovative, by developing the ability to quickly plan and implement adoptions to change their industry. At BMW, there is a direct link between creativity and important organizational outcomes such as productivity and quality.
Creative thinking has increased their quality of solutions to production issues, helped them to stimulate profitable innovations, revitalized motivation, upgraded personal skills, and effective team performance. How Culture and Work Environment Impact Performance Results The work environment has a significant impact upon employee performance and productivity. At BMW, this refers to their processes, tools and conditions in the workplace that impact favorably or unfavorably on employees, as well as overall company performance.
The work environment also includes their policies, culture, resources, and working relationships, all of which influence the ways their employees perform their job functions. As a former continuous improvement coordinator, I will say that sustained continuous improvement at BMW can only be achieved by building and sustaining a work environment that supports a high-performance workforce. This means that BMW’s leadership must continue to develop strategies for creating a work environment that attracts, develops, motivates and retains top-quality employees.
Conclusion This paper began by tracing the origin of this company back to its founder Karl Friedrich Rapp nearly 100 years ago. This paper then discussed the culture at BMW and explained that one of the foundations of BMW’s culture is a commitment to ensure a work environment with high values and respect for individuality of each employee. From there, we examined BMW’s model of leadership and its impact on the company’s culture and discovered that their management team has created an entrepreneurial work culture includes that includes treating people with respect.