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Research is a core element in any organization that wishes always to maintain a competitive edge over its competitors. Liker (2015) contents that virtually all leading corporates in the run a fully-fledged Research and Development Department (R&D). The department's core mandate is to continuously conduct internal and external studies about the products, customers, employees, competitors and, the prevailing legal and ethical constraints. The findings of the research immensely influence the direction and actions of the organization-for instance mission, vision, and values. As such it is imperative to say the accuracy and conclusiveness of such studies play a critical role in conveying the true the situation on the ground.
However, some organizations like General Motors Corporation have recently been on the spot working with incomplete and inaccurate information in the course of their studies. Thus, leading the company to misconstrue the current gas crisis. General Motors has continuously manufactured bigger cars that are environmentally unfriendly due to high fuel consumption, therefore, customers who wish to own smaller environmentally-friendly cars feeling left out (Govinddarayan & Bagla, 2017). This article aims at critically analyzing GM’s situation to: identify potential indicators of inefficient use of research, examine how the company can efficiently employ secondary and primary analysis and suggest possible actions GM can use to expand its scope of study in the future.
GM's inaccurate and misinformed research amounted to severe, devastating effects on both the company and the customers. Cases of dwindling cash flows, unmotivated staff, high employee turnover, over-diversification, and unsatisfied customers (Edmondson, 2014). GM had to file bankruptcy notice amid lag in the sales volume. From GM’s case, it is evident that inaccurate and insufficient data lead to totally incorrect finding-the result is the manufacturing of cars that do not appeal to customers hence low sales. Another improper feature research is low staff morale and high employee turnover. Workers who feel that their ideas not taken into consideration tend to leave the company or get demoralized. Working on products that do not sell has also been cited as a course for staff demoralization ( Liker,2015).
In some instances, producing too many brands is construed as a product of poor and informed research. Analysts contend that GM's over-diversification of eight different brands and hundreds who end up competing against each other as the result of weak and inadequate research process into their customer preference and supply chain (Edmondson, 2014). At the moment it is difficult to identify GM with a specific brand like other automobile manufacturers.
From my analysis of GM's situation, it is either they failed to research the course of the operations, or if they conducted any, the management failed to take into consideration key pertinent issues that touch on the internal and external environment. Proper research should encompass three fundamental concerns (Espinosa-Cristia, 2017). First and the most important, paying particular attention to the happenings surrounding the lives of consumers. The study should address the current and future consumer preferences, hopes, aspirations, and the ever-changing lifestyle. It is no doubt that the contemporary customers place a lot of interest in fuel-saving cars. Thus, GM would have set higher priority in manufacturing small fuel-efficient vehicles.
Secondly, should place greater focus and attention on the activities of their competitors. Many automobiles manufacturers have taken the topic of environmental degradation and dwindling oil reserves severely. Car manufacturers like Volvo, Toyota have manufactured small efficient and hybrid cars that have received significant customer reception, on the other hand, Tesla is keen on working on fully electric vehicles (Espinosa-Cristia, 2017). Reviewing of best competitor activities acts as a yardstick to which GM can use as a benchmark as well as influence its direction.
Thirdly, assessment of internal environment-including structure and culture-play a significant role in strategy formulation. While its standard understanding that structure follows the strategy, assessment allows for recruiting innovative employees and leaders and laying down procedures that support a creative culture. GM's woes have points to the company's leadership which failed to evolve and take advantage of the changing business environment (Govinddarayan & Bagla, 2017).
From the analysis of GM woes, it is clear that using false and incomplete data leads to inaccurate research findings that culminate in devastating effects on the internal processes, finances, and negative corporate image. I recommend for General Motors to conduct a thorough and conclusive study, first, the management need to expand the sample size to reflect a more prominent part of the customer population. Second, incorporating primary and secondary forms of research is critical. Combining the two types of data collection gives room for comparison and test the validity of each system. Secondary sources of information are obtained from similar research by scholars and other companies. Third, GM should conduct multidimensional research incorporating views from the all the departments-marketing, sales, finance- within the organization (Edmondson, 2014). Lastly, maintain an independent Research & Development Department whose findings should be taken seriously.
Edmondson, A. (2014). Mary Barra Brings Teaming to General Motors. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 25 February 2018, from https://hbr.org/2014/01/mary-barra-brings-teaming-to-general-motors
Govinddarayan, V., & Bagla, G. (2017). Search general motors failure. Hbr.org. Retrieved 25 February 2018, from https://hbr.org/search?search_type=search-all&term=general+motors+failure
Liker, J. (2015). Assessing the Sins of Volkswagen, Toyota, and General Motors. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 25 February 2018, from https://hbr.org/2015/09/assessing-the-sins-of-volkswagen-toyota-and-general-motors
Espinosa-Cristia, J. (2017). Book Review: Workplace research: conducting small-scale research in organizationsHuntJenniferO’LearyZina, Workplace research: conducting small-scale research in organizations, SAGE: London, 2016. Management Learning, 49(1), 110-112. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1350507617693728
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