MGMT Case Study Toyota Crisis

Topics: Management, Organization, Communication Pages: 15 (2017 words) Published: March 31, 2015
Case Study for MGMT
The Case Study “Did Toyota’s Culture Cause Its Problems?” illustrates the slow reaction to safety problems and the arrogant culture of Toyota regarding the issue of unintended acceleration (Robbins &Judge 2013). The key issues in the case study are the arrogant culture of Toyota, miscommunication, groupthink and poor human resource management. The problems in Toyota began with the recall of 10000 Laxus Cars in 2000 (Finch 2010, p 475), followed by a series of recalls for different models in 2010 (Robbins & Judge 2013). These recalls associated with the unintended acceleration gave birth to lots of questions regarding the countermeasures of Toyota towards safety and the culture of the organization. The essay will use Organizational Culture, Communication, Groupthink and Human Resource

Management as key theories to explore the prime issues of the Toyota crisis and will propose recommendations on the basis of relevant management concepts.

Key Theories:
Organizational Culture
Organizational culture is one of the main theories to analyze the key issues highlighted in the case study. Organizational Culture is defined as ‘the deep, basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by organizational members’ (Schein 1997, cited in Clegg et al. 2011, p.221). Toyota had a strong culture in which ‘core values are held and shared widely in an organization’ (Robbins and Judge 2008, p.554). A Strong culture has great influence on the behavior of its members because the high extent of participation and intensity creates an internal climate of strong behavioral control (Robbins and Judge 2008, p. 554).

In Toyota corporation, the strong culture might have eventuated to the creation of ‘The Toyota way’. ‘The Toyota way’ was instituted in 2001 with 14 principles (Liker 2004, cited in Heller and Darling 2012, p.158), as a mechanism of dealing with any issues. Toyota constantly used this philosophy to encounter any problem, so the employees had to follow the 14 principles. This kind of condition does not leave plenty of options for the employees working in an organization other than to follow the top management. This was evident in Toyota, when they reacted slowly to the safety concerns denying all allegations but later had to resort to recall (Robbins & Judge2013), thus following the top management’s decision.

Moreover, it could be that, strong culture is probably vulnerable to adapt to new challenges and circumstances. In the context of Toyota, the new challenge of facing unintended acceleration crisis could have caused them to remain in their existing ‘The Toyota Way’ plan to face the problems.

Groupthink was also noticeable in Toyota. Groupthink occurs when groups pressure for unanimity, thus hindering the group from critically evaluating uncommon, unpleasing and minority views (Robbins and Judge, 2008). The strong culture of Toyota might have resulted in the formation of Groupthink. It is a disease which dramatically hinders performance of any organization (Robbins and Judge, 2008) and destroys reputation. The same happened to Toyota. ‘The Toyota Way’ which Toyota considered as the ultimate solution for all crises, with nobody in the organization to oppose, was responsible for this. As a result, Toyota could not deal with the unpredicted unintended acceleration crisis, therefore proving Toyota’s arrogance and lack of creativity.

Communication is a collective circle that involves sender, receiver, messages, media and feedback topics (Clegg et al. 2011, p.297). An effective communication is important in any organization for achieving organization’s true goal. Without effective communication, there might be lack of coordination and correlation in the organization which could prove fatal for the organization. This could also affect the actions and decision-making processes.

Communication can also be used to’ reduce uncertainty in problematic situations...
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