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General Motors Company: Strategic Implementation


The following essay is concerned with the strategic implementation aspect of organization. The essay examines the strategic implementation of the General Motors Company where I work. The essay determines as to whether it is true that the implementation is the most difficult aspect of strategic management. The main objective of this argument is to bring theory and practice into play through critical evaluation of implementation in the General Motors Company where I work.

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In doing so, it furthers my knowledge of strategic management and my ability to apply theory to practice. It also compels me to look beyond current practice, top what could be done through the provision of recommendations for the enhancement of strategic implimentation.However, it is important to determine the meaning of strategic implementation first before describing the elements that affects the implementation of Strategic management. Strategy implementation is concerned with ensuring that strategies are working in practice.

Determination of a workable strategy

A good strategy is one that is workable. A workable strategy is thought of in terms of the following i.e. organization, resource allocation and change. With regards to organization, it involves departmentalization, designing organizational processes well, defining the boundaries and encouraging a mutual work relationship. With regards to resources, a proper resource allocation enables success. It is concerned with evaluating as to whether the organization has resources and technology to implement its strategy. With regards to change, a strategy cab is successfully implemented if resistance to change is overcome.

Organizational change is the modification of an organization’s process ad activities to deal with environmental changes and arising problems. Organizational change is influenced by both the internal as well as the external factors. In the case of General Motors, the external factors that influences change includes the following; change in customer needs, threatening strategies of competitors e.g. Ford and Toyota, new market entrant, government changes among others.The internal factors that influences change in the General Motors are revision goals as well as missions, cultural changes in management styles, change in personnel policy among others.

The strategic change implementation may be faced with challenges due to people’s resistance to change.This is due to the following reasons; uncertainty on the aftermath of change, cohesive social groups may be broken, fear of obsolescence of skills, fear of loss of jobs, awareness of the weakness of these changes, unwillingness to learn new skills among others. The management may thus find it hard to overcome the resistance to change and this makes the strategic implementation aspect to be the most difficult as far as strategic management of an organization is concerned (Hill & Jones, 2007, P.34-36).

Description of the elements that affects the implementation of strategic management

The following are the main factors that affect the implementation of strategic management in organizations i.e. organizational leadership, organizational culture, the organizational structure and the human resource. The following thus discusses how each of the above factors affects the implementation of strategic management (Bryson, 1988, P.5-11).


Leadership is usually a crucial factor to consider with regards to the implementation of strategic management. The leaders have the responsibility of coming up with decisions that enables a firm to get used to and also thrive in competitive business environment (Hubbard, & Beamish, 2010, P.36-45). The role of leaders is most visible when a firm decides to change and also implement its strategy. For effective implementation of strategy, the leaders in the organization are bound to reinforce it i.e. they are supposed to ensure that there are adequate resources allocated for strategic implementation, they should also ensure that there is no resistance, they should also convince the workers that the implementation is crucial with regards to their interests.

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Leadership affects the strategic implementation in such aspects as communication and motivation. The success of organization in the modern business environment strongly hinges on strong managerial leadership of the Chief Executive Officer (Louise, 1990, P.87). Strategic leadership requires that the Chief Executive Officer embraces and implement change. In so doing, the leader must clarify strategic intent i.e. set out a clear vision, build a strong organization i.e. come up with a common mission that drives both the management and employees and also, shape organizational culture i.e. build values and believes that shape the organizational positively.

The organizational leaders usually understand that it is difficult to implement strategy as compared to crating it. Many strategic implementations fails due to the fact that leaders underestimates the challenges associated with implementation therefore taking their eyes off what requires to be completed. The leaders thus fail to focus on doing the right things implying that their staff members imitate their actions. The lack of a framework that guides the leaders all through the strategic implementation journey is also a factor that contributes to the failure of strategic management implementation. The leaders are supposed to know that any shift with regards to strategy entails changes in the daily activities a of the organization.

Therefore, small shifts calls for significant changes and it is only successful once it is implemented systematically (Ring, & Perry, 1985, P.7-10).The leaders should therefore concentrate on doing their work by stepping back and reconsidering how the strategy will be executed and implemented. They have a key role of creating the right conditions that enhances the strategic implementation.Therefore,they must motivate the employees,comminucate the objectives of strategy, cerate the key performance indicators, support the culture, spruce up the processes, transform the manner in which the employees are reinforced sop as to enhance the right behaviors as well as actions that are essential for the successful implementation of strategy and also make frequent reviews.

However,many organizational leaders views this list as an overwhelming one and they therefore ignores some action leading to the failure of strategy implementation( Paul, 1983,P.25-29).Many leaders fails to identify specifically what requires to be completed and also where to focus. The strategy for General Motors is to be the market leader as far as car manufacturing is concerned. The leaders once they identify the strategy to be completed should therefore lead the employees towards performing the right actions and behaviors. After the strategy is crafted, the leaders should in turn manage the resources and ensure that there is strong leadership. They should thus move from thinking to action.

Many organizational leaders often fail during this transition. For instance, translating strategy into the daily activities that the employees must carry out is difficult (Sadler, & Craig, 2003,P.90).The failure of leaders to explain on what the staff members should do differently is a reason behind the failure of new strategy implimentation.With regards to leadership,communincation is an important aspect as far as strategy implementation is concerned. The interaction between managers as well as their employees plays an important role with regards to strategy implimenttaion.Both lateral and vertical communication determines the success and failure of strategy implementation (Tichy, 1983,P.24-25).

The two forms of communication provides such guidelines as obtaining the broad-based input as well as the firm’s participation during the strategy formulation period, assessing the barriers to implementation in advance, acting promptly in order to ensure that the resources are allocated effectively, communicating the strategy to the affected members of the organization, fine tuning as well as making the adjustments to the trends and events that arises among others. The failure of strategy implementation is as a result of lack of proper organization of strategic initiative i.e. when there is no clear specification of the implementation behavior. The members of the organization thus lacks a proper understanding how they can succeed in implement the strategy and hence the failure (Dess, P.45).

With regards to leadership and strategy implimentation, there General Motors finds challenges in the following context i.e. unfreezing the present company mindset as well as processes, changing the processes so as to match with the strategy and refreezing the resources so as to match with the firm’s activities. The leadership of GM has failed to provide the staff members with the skills as well as resources so as to successfully implement the strategy and hence the failure.

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Organizational structure

Organizational structure has an effect as far as the strategic implementation is concerned. Organizational structure helps improve the interaction and coordination of people within the organization and giving them direction on how to achieve the organization goals. One aid of visualizing the organizational structure is organizational chart. An organizational chart is a summarized form of organizational structure that shows how the authority and power flows from one level to another in the hierarchy.

According to Professor Henry Mintzberg,the organizational structure is classified into five major segments i.e. the strategic apex made of Board, Chief Executive Officer and top managers, the middle line which is made of the functional managers or departmental heads, the operating core which is made of the supervisors and operational managers, the techno-structures which refers top the functional specialists and the support staff which is made of the messangers,cleaners e.t.c.There are three common forms of organizational structures i.e. the functional organizational structure which is the grouping of employees into specific areas of specialization, the geographic organizational structure and the divisional or strategic business unit structure.

The General Motors where I work is bound to develop and implement the Divisional or Strategic Business Unit organizational structure (Hubbard, & Beamish, 2010,P.26).The General Motors Ltd which is a vehicle manufacturing firm have diversified its products/service lines, utilizes new market channels and also serves heterogeneous customer groups. The functional structure of General Motors is thus broken down and is replaced with the divisional or strategic business unit organizational structure divisional or SBU structure allows corporate management to delegate authority for the strategic management of distinct business entities. This thus expedites decision making in the face of environmental dynamics of the General Motors.

The organizational strategies usually influence the organizational structure i.e. Organizational structure usually results from the organizational strategy.Therefore,the act of seeking ways to achieve the objectives as well as resource allocation so as to achieve the desired objectives are the main elements of strategy (Academy of Management Review, 1985, p.276–286). The structure is composed of the organizational hierarchy, specialization, delegation as well as communication. The organizational structure is deemed to have an impact as far as the original operational structure is concerned. The structure usually affects the implementation of the strategy in the following aspects; clarifying responsibilities, information sharing in the organization, centralizatiion as well as decentralization (Hayes, 1986, P.82).

In GM, the current structure has problems as it focuses on the cost reduction measures and ignoring differentiation.Also, the regional Strategic Business Units lacks control over the regions. This thus causes conflict as far as the structure is concerned implying that the new strategy is difficult to be implemented.

Organizational culture

The organizational culture is another aspect that should be considered for successful implementation of organizational strategy.Organizational culture is the set of important assumptions that members of the organization share in common. Leaders usually find it challenging in implementing the culture change due to the following reasons; the act of emphasizing key themes pr dominant values is challenging, it is difficult to institutionalize practices that re-enforce desired beliefs and values, linking culture to organizational mission is often challenging and also it is challenging to reformulate the strategy or culture.

The extent upon which the organizational culture is aligned usually has an effect as far as the strategic management implementation is concerned (Third-Sector Organizations, 1987, P.44-47). Culture usually combines with such aspects as the goals to be accomplished, the objectives, activities, rewards, behaviours, organizational proactive among others in order to ensure that strategy is successfully implemented. The lack of supporting the organizational culture is the reason behind the failure of strategy implimentation.On the other hand, proper alignment of organizational culture with the strategy ensures that the strategy is effectively implemented (Barry, & Jeffrey, 1990, p.26-31).

The General Motors’ current organizational culture does not provide an incentive for employees to be productive and they therefore becomes uncomfortable as far as their jobs are concerned. This implies that they are not fully committed to the firm and their propensity to leave GM is high and hence a barrier to new strategy implementation.

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The other element that affects the implementation of strategic implementation is the people or human resources. The human resources professionals play an important role as far as the strategy implementation is concerned. They usually bring unique knowledge which is essential in implementing the strategy. The human resource p [professionals are positioned well in advance to contribute to the organizational’ strategic implementation. Unlike the rest of the organizational departments, the Human Resource department in the organization is concerned with an understanding of the entire business organization.

Strategy implementation thus is an inherent issue as far as people are concerned and the human resource department by virtual of its title usually bears the greatest responsibility. The Human Resource department in an organization is concerned with ensuring that there are the required skills in place so as to ensure that there is successful implementation of strategy. The Human resource Professionals who anticipates to make valuable contributions with regards to strategy implementation should first understand the barriers that affects the implementation (Hissey, 1998, 30).With strategy implimentation, there are some resistances especially in a case where the new strategy is completely different with the old strategy and therefore, the Human Resource department is deemed to help the firm to deal with the resistance.

The barriers to successful implementation of strategy with regards to the human resources are the following; lack of proper organization at the top level i.e. the top management should be properly coordinated so as to ensure that the strategy is successfully implemented (Pascale, 1990, P.51).many organizations thus fails to harmonize the top management with the strategy to be implemented and hence the failure. The other toot cause of the failure of strategic management implementation with regards to human resource is the lack of putting the employees on-board i.e. the staff members may not have a clear understanding of the strategy.

The employees may not have the feeling of being part and parcel of the whole strategy implementation process due to the fact that they might feel powerless and also due to the fact that they might be skeptical about the executives. The employees may also lack the urgency sense to implement the strategy and hence leading to the failure of implementation (Wilson, &, Gilligan, 2005, P.18).Also, the staff members may not feel inspired so as to effectively implement the strategy. The other root cause of barriers of strategic implementation with regards to the human resource is the inadequate changes wit regards to the work units.

The managers in this case may not feel the urge to refocus the employees efforts in their work units and hence a failure of strategy implementation. The managers may also operate in such a manner that demoralizes the staff members.Also, the managers may direct the employees to proceed with their daily activities despite the fact that the strategy to be implemented calls for a significant change hence leading to the failure.The fourth root cause of failure of strategy implementation as far as the human resource is concerned is the lack of collaboration between the management and the employees.

In most cases, the new strategy to be implemented requires that the management works closely with the staff members so as to successfully implement the strategy. The lack of proper collaboration thus leads to the failure of strategy implementation. The fifth root cause of failure of successful implementation of strategy is the lack of proper measure systems.This implies that there is insufficient means of determining the progress as far as the strategy implementation process is concerned. The staff members thus fail to know the progress so far and hence the failure (Hubbard, & Beamish, 2010, P.36-45).

GM often finds difficulties in new strategy implementation due to the fact that the employees resist changes. This is as a result of such factors as poor coordination i.e. lack of clear goals.Also,the employees usually do not understand fully the strategy i.e. they don’t buy in. The General Motors have also failed with regards to new strategy implementation due to weak collaboration in the inter-departments.

Recommendations on how strategy implementation could be enhanced

The following are recommendations with regards to overcoming the barriers of strategy implementation;

The management needs to focus only on the significant actions that must be accomplished so as not to become distracted as a result of several priorities. Thus, in order for the organization to successfully implement the strategy; it requires having specific goals so as to avoid the conflicting priorities (Czajkowski, & Woods, 2001, P.67)

The management should also ensure that there is clear vertical communication. Thus al the leadership levels should be able to effectively communicate the organizational goals to the subordinates. The employee’s role with regards to organizational goals’ attainment should also be communicated (Alkhafaji, A, 2003, P.8).

The other aspect that requires to be considered is teamwork. The top management team should establish the cause of the conflicts and then come up with solutions on how the conflicts can be resolved so as to enhance the organizational goal’s attainment. This entails a trade-off as well as negotiation. It entails the senior leadership team to make sound decisions concerning the allocation of the organizational resources. The teamwork also requires that the management comes up with clear expectations about the duties of each staff in the organization (Nutt & Backoff, 1987).

The other recommendation that the management needs to consider so as to ensure effective implementation of strategy is regular check-ins.This ensures that tasks are completed within the required time. The employees thus do not work under pressure so as to meet their deadlines (Lynch, 2009, P.81).

Another important aspect with regards to successful implementation of the strategy is the accountability. All the employees should be held accountable with regards to the organizational activities. This will ensure that the organizational tasks are completed and there is no procrastination. The management should thus come up with punitive measures against those staff members who fails to perform their expected roles in due time (Dobson & Richards, 2004, P.87).


The organizational leadership, organizational culture, the organizational structure and the human resource are the main factors that affects the successful implementation of strategic management in organizations.Business organizations operates in a competitive environments and therefore strategy implementation is crucial for the organizations to remain competitive.

However,implimentation of strategies is usual a major challenge and most organizations fails in doing so. The elements that effect the implementation of strategic management such as the leadership, organizational structure, people, and the innovational technology have been discussed in this essay. Strategy implementation has an impact as far as the General Motors Company is concerned. The General Motors company is usually different as compared to many organizations due to its diversification as well as broadness of the survives and this makes strategic implementation a crucial aspect.

The understanding of the elements that affects the implementation of strategic implementation is important due to the fact that it enables an organization to attain its strategic objectives which had been previously planned in the strategic planning. The implementation is the most difficult aspect of strategic management due to the fact that it is often difficult to determine the kind of organizational structure that the firm should. Most companies both large and small are often faced with challenge with regards to the strategy implementation.

Reference List

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Dobson, P, & Richards, J. (2004).Strategic management: issues and cases. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.

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Pascale, R. (1990). Managing on the Edge. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Paul, S. (1983). Strategic Management of Development Programmes: Guidelines for Action. Geneva: International Labor Office, Management Development Series, No. 19.

Ring, P.S., & Perry, J.L. (1985). “Strategic Management in Public and Private Organizations: Implications of Distinctive Contexts and Constraints.” Academy of Management Review, 1985, 10, pp.276–286.

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Wilson, R, &, Gilligan, C. (2005).Strategic marketing management: planning, Implementation and control. London: Butterworth-Heinemann.

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