This paper identifies General Motors organisational structure and design as well as explores the impacts of General Motors on the environment and vice-versa.

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Established in 1908, General Motors (General Motors 2010) is now America’s largest automaker, selling and servicing vehicles in some 140 countries around the world (General Motors 2010). With its global headquarters in the United States of America, GM employs approximately 204,000 people in every major region of the world ranks highest in terms of 2009’s global revenues among automakers on the Fortune Global 500 (CNN Money 2010). This paper identifies General Motors’ organisational structure and design as well as explores the impacts of General Motors on the environment and vice-versa.

General Motors’ Organisational Structure and Design

Mullins (1993) explains the organisational structure to be the pattern of relationships between roles in an organisation and its different components. Designing the structure of an organisation remains as a core competency required of a manager (Miller 1989) but this vital role has been forgotten too many a time. It is also crucial that managers learn about the importance of organisational design in transforming organisational structures and processes to boost performances (Hatch & Cunliffe 2006). Organisations can be designed to be multinational and/or multidivisional and GM appears to possess the characteristics of both.


A multinational organisation does business in two or more countries. It locates its headquarters in a particular country and the organisation’s culture and structure take after the headquarters’ practices and corporate beliefs. In addition, throughout the course of everyday operations, factors of technical know-how, labour routine and regulations will be homogenised (Hatch & Cunliffe 2006). GM operating in over 35 different countries around the world is thus regarded as a multinational organisation. It situates its headquarters in Detroit, USA whereby its organisational culture is moulded by its group of dedicated employees committed to pursuing goals GM set out to achieve (General Motors 2010).


Multidivisional organisations generally arrange their employees into sets of functionally structured units that report to a centralised headquarter (Hatch & Cunliffe 2006). GM is multidivisional since it is one of the early adopters of Sloan’s ‘M-structure’ in America. This was due to the fact that GM operates in numerous countries and they then started to use organizational charts to identify divisional structures. The chain of command within organisations can be better comprehended and independent markets can be clearly determined (Daft 2007). However, such a structure would call for a need to erect new appointments of division general manager; look into the evaluation of performances; and explore incentives for managers in boosting efficiency (Clegg, Kornberger & Pitsis 2005).

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How General Motors Has Affected the Environment and Vice-Versa

Resource-Dependency Theory

   Robbins and Barnwell (2006) feel resource-dependency theory “highlights the interaction of the organisation and its environment” by drawing on the approach of the open system to advocate the means of which the organisation is reliant on the environment for its resources. Being dependent on the setting’s resources gives suppliers the expanse of exercising a large extent of authority on organisations. The resulting vulnerability of organisations further leads to them being susceptible to the demands of their dealers and firms have found it a resistant challenge to ...

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