Diversity, group dynamics, and teamwork of two companies

Question

Explain similarities and differences in practices related to diversity, group dynamics, and teamwork in any two of the organizations listed below.

1.Mitsubishi, VW
3.Citi, Deutsche Bank, Mizuho
4.BP, PetroChina
5.National-Panasonic, Sony-Ericsson
6.BA, Lufthansa, Southwest Airlines
7. Aventis, BASF, Dow Chemicals
8. LG, Phillips
9. Dole, Kraft, Mital

though description will need to take place, it is essentially the analysis and evaluation of issues discussed that can produce a good paper.

You need to use a minimum of five (5) sources to write your paper. The sources must be dated after 2000.
Only academic sources may be used, that is sources found in the Library databases. Unreferenced Internet sources are NOT acceptable.

By tomorrow I need to know the 2 organizations you chose for your topic … by Thursday I need to see the progress of the paper

-use subheadings

Answer

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Contents

Introduction. 2

Mitsubishi Diversity, group dynamics, and teamwork. 3

Volkswagen’s Diversity, group dynamics, and teamwork. 7

Similarities and differences between the diversity, group dynamics and teamwork efforts of Mitsubishi and those of VW    12

Conclusion. 13

References. 13

Introduction

Mitsubishi and Volkswagen (VW) are both international automobile companies. Mitsubishi Motor Corporation was established in April 1970. Its head office is in Tokyo, Japan. The company develops, designs, manufactures and assembles automobiles. The company also diversified in the production of agricultural and industrial machinery and component parts.

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The Volkswagen group, on the other hand, has its headquarters in Wolfsburg. It is one of the leading car manufacturers in the world and the largest car manufacturer in Europe. In 2007, the company increased the number of vehicles that were delivered to customers, reaching 6.189 million units. This number corresponds to a 9.8% market share of the global passenger car market.

This paper compares the aspects of diversity, group dynamics, and teamwork in these two companies. The paper first undertakes to analyze the way in which each company integrates these aspects in its daily activities. Then, analysis and evaluation of the various measures adopted by the companies is made, followed by comparison.

Mitsubishi Diversity, group dynamics, and teamwork

Diversity is a core element of Mitsubishi’s business strategy, considering that this aspect is highlighted in the company’s mission statement. In the mission statement, the company points out to the spirited nature of its diverse workforce. This diversity is aimed to reflect the diversity that exists in today’s marketplace and society.

For Mitsubishi, Diversity is about the recognition that different people tend to have different perspectives, and these differences have great potential to benefit the entire organization. In order to safeguard and nurture, diversity, Mitsubishi’s managers emphasize on respect as the guiding principle that underlies commitment in various market segments.

            Through embracing diversity, the company respects its workforce’s uniqueness, experience, background, personal characteristics, and talent. These attributes are also appreciated in the company’s business partners and customers. The company has put corporate strategies in place for ensuring that diversity is understood and appreciated, thereby creating an atmosphere of awareness. Specific attention is on maintaining response to the changing workplace and marketplace, and the challenges that arise as a result of these changes.

The corporation has many offices in many parts of the world, notably the US. All of these offices emphasize diversity as a key element of strategic business growth. In the Mitsubishi Motors USA, for instance, the corporation established a foundation in 1998, which has so far awarded more than 40 grants as part of a community outreach program. Some of the recipients of the grants include the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Catalyst, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the American Red Cross Disaster Relief, and National Center for Missing Adults (Yanella, 2009).

Diversity at Mitsubishi is also about creating charitable giving programs that build leadership, and driving better choices both behind the wheel and across the community. A third of all the funds meant for the charitable programs that the company runs go to those people in the community, whose needs tend to be overlooked.

The company is also widely known for partnering with many organizations in efforts to offer them financial support, encourage proper driving habits, and facilitate the enjoyment of various sporting activities. Similarly, some of the organizations that benefit from the company’s diversity programs facilitate the development of confidence, self-esteem, and life skills.

Notably, the company’s branch in the US has partnered with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in helping create leadership forums as well as facilitate leadership training to young professionals and encouraging them to become effective leaders and impact positively on their communities.

Currently, the company plans to partner with the members of the US Congress in honoring 26 outstanding women who will be recognized as ‘Unsung Heroines’. Additionally, the corporation has established the national executive Diversity Leadership Council and a training program on diversity throughout the company. A quite outstanding diversity initiative is the partnership that brings on board the United Negro College by providing a $2000 scholarship to African-American students.

Mitsubishi Motor’s customer base has a higher element of diversity compared to most other automakers in the world (Kennedy, 2005). The company does not market its products to a specific demographic or age, but rather to ‘any spirited mindset’. In other words, the company’s brands transcend ethnic, gender and racial lines in terms of personal choice and preferences.

There are many divisions that make up the Mitsubishi Corporation, of which the Mitsubishi Motor Corporation is only one part. Most of the Mitsubishi companies have remained leaders in their respective fields both internationally. Some of these divisions include Mitsubishi Oil, Mitsubishi Chemical, Mitsubishi Bank, Mitsubishi Corporation in Europe, Kirin Brewery of America, and Mitsubishi Electric. Moreover, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries remains one of the leading heavy industry manufacturers in the world. Among the areas of focus for this division include machinery, nuclear power, civil aircraft, defense, and space-related business.

Workgroups are highly valued at Mitsubishi. These groups take the form of focus and supply groups. Surprisingly, much of the literature on Mitsubishi’s group dynamics focuses on the structure of the company, and its philosophy of maintaining diversity through the creation of inter-firm relations (Okumura, 2001). Mitsubishi, in itself a group of businesses, finds itself in a position of greater readiness to make partnerships with other companies.

Internally, focus groups are part of the spirit of the company’s employees. The various positions that the company has advertised previously are indicative of the group spirit at the company. For instance, the company’s US auto division has recently created two new positions one for the director of opportunity programs, and the other for the director of corporate and community relations. In both of these positions, the emphasis has been created on the need for focus groups to be strengthened in order to facilitate the operations of the company both locally and internationally.

  The company also makes use of comprehensive training programs that are designed to reach out to every employee. These programs place emphasis on group work in many areas, especially that that require innovation. Those employees who are at the entry-level are particularly encouraged to join those groups that they are most comfortable in so that they can participate in the various manufacturing processes of their interest while at the same time developing their careers.

Among the most effective workgroup dynamics training programs is the ‘Men and Women as Colleagues’ program, which was an annual two-day workshop specifically for senior management (Bruno, 2009). The training has been involving issues relating to best practices, management, teamwork, and leadership qualities. The company has already put in place a requirement, whereby all new employees in the management category receive training within the first month of their employment.

Teamwork efforts have led to the improvement in Mitsubishi’s lean manufacturing, particularly since the company teamed up with Chrysler in a venture to make automobiles in various parts of the US. Since the joint venture was announced, employees at the company were optimistic that they were going to be greatly empowered. However, some industry commentators dispute the contention that lean manufacturing always leads to the empowerment of employees both as team members and in their individual capacities. Through lean manufacturing practices of Mitsubishi, employees get an in-depth understanding of their fields of specialization. They also learn how to form an industrial entity whereby the challenges and satisfactions of the business are shared.

Volkswagen’s Diversity, group dynamics, and teamwork

            Diversity for Volkswagen is mainly discernible in supply chain management. The company achieves this goal mainly through maintaining partnerships with highly qualified and value-driven supplies from all backgrounds in order to harness a wide variety of experiences.

At the Volkswagen Group of America, for instance, the main strategic imperatives are diversity and inclusion (Beske, 2008). The focus is on enhancing relationships with dealers, customers, business partners, and employees. Inclusion facilitates the creation of corporate visions that facilitate a diverse culture, where there is a culture of trust, teamwork, and achievement.

Volkswagen’s formal corporate diversity initiative was launched in 2001 when a Corporate Diversity Leader was appointed. The aim of this undertaking was to increase the representation of diverse stakeholders, who in most cases include suppliers, dealers, and employees.

            The supplier diversity is aimed at ensuring that the supplier base reflects the customers as well as the market served (Zipes, 2001). This is done by forging lasting relationships with diverse suppliers in order to benefit the customers, brand, and community. In efforts to achieve this goal, Volkswagen seeks to educate all existing Volkswagen suppliers on matters of supplier diversity. The company has also been keen on engaging in philanthropic outreach.

The long-term aim has been reaching out and identifying the best-certified suppliers who can support the company with the goal of reaching out to the customer’s specifications and entire communities in general. Sometimes, the company assists effective suppliers who are finding it difficult to get the certification.

Strategic alliances are also integral of the diversity management efforts undertaken by Volkswagen in order to ensure that there is sustainability in the company’s level of competitiveness, not just in the European markets, but also on the global scene. In efforts to achieve this goal, strategic outreach initiatives are necessary. These initiatives target suppliers as well as minority-owned businesses that have a huge potential for success.

The concept of corporate citizenship also applies to the diversity strategy of the Volkswagen Group. For the company, corporate citizenship initiatives form a key element of entrepreneurial activities. This maxim applies to Group locations all over the world. The company supports, social development, education, and culture. At the Group’s facilities, initiatives relating to the development of regional infrastructure are carried out. Research activities are also carried out in areas of sport, health promotion, and nature conservation (Karabakal, 2000).

The activities are aimed at improving the living conditions of the people in various locations beyond the minimum requirements. Towards this end, the Volkswagen Group has nurtured a long tradition that involves taking care of the interests of the people in regions where its production facilities are situated. As part of the company’s corporate culture, the local community has always been a priority source of qualified professionals. The main contribution of the company in the local communities is helping people come up with solutions to their own problems, thereby creating reinforcement to sustainable structures.

The company has, for instance, established the Award for Volunteering Initiative. In this undertaking, about 25,000 employees at the company’s production plant in Germany have adopted a voluntary role, whereby they bring many benefits not just to the society in general but also through their commitment to Volkswagen. Moreover, the responsibility that is depicted by employees as volunteers becomes relevant for their daily work engagements. Therefore, expressing a high level of appreciation of voluntary work among the Group’s employees is always a sign of attractiveness on the part of the employer.

The company has also had to develop an internal scheme for senior experts and a cooperation agreement with senior expert service in Bonn, both of which have arranged for 20,000 missions for various senior experts in 156 countries. This way, it has become possible for former Volkswagen employees to benefit from many new challenges upon retirement. This contributed to the company winning the Pro Ehrenamt 2008 award, which was offered by Olympischer Sportbund. Currently, discussions with various European Union bodies are underway in order for the company’s project to be used as a model for the upcoming 2011 Volunteer’s Day.

Corporate social responsibility has also been part of Volkswagen Group’s diversity management. In 1999, the company opened an exhibition as a sign of recognition and respect for the victims of the Holocaust. The company had been converted into an armament production facility during World War II and two-thirds of the workforce were subjected to discriminatory working conditions. The Place of Remembrance is open to both the members of the public and the employees.

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A highlight of diversity management initiatives at Volkswagen Group would be incomplete without shifting attention to environmental responsibility issues. The company engages in nature conservation activities, whereby the greatest attention is on endangered species because of their importance in genetic diversity and biodiversity.

Volkswagen is also on record for having launched a road safety project aimed at primary schools in Argentina to improve the notoriety with which accidents were taking place in the country. In 2007 alone, more than 8000 people died in Argentinean roads, equivalent to 22 people every day. The company is engaging 120,000 children in over 200 schools within Cordoba and Buenos Aires through playing road safety roads.

In terms of teamwork efforts, Volkswagen has not been left behind either. Teamwork and flexibility are both the hallmarks of innovation at the company, both directly and indirectly. In the production line, engineers have to form teams in order to come up with the best technological solutions to the prevailing design problems. At the management level, middle-level managers are required to engage in teamwork activities with each other as part of reinforcing harmony and the organizational structure. The core aim is to create synergies that facilitate the execution of duties by employees in different areas of specialization.

It is impossible for visual management activities to be undertaken successfully without attention being put on vertical integration, such as the one that was introduced at Montreal. Similar teamwork engagements have been planned for the Mosel assembly plant. The low degree of vertical integration at this plant has made it possible for VW’s managing board to facilitate lean production. This is because production line employees are able to work in autonomous teams, thus becoming increasingly empowered to come up with their own unique designs. When the top managers come along, all they are interested in is whether VW’s signature theme has been maintained.

The decentralization of management has been part of initiatives aimed at creating room for teams to function effectively. Continuous improvement activities have been an integral part of the company’s efforts to create a friendly atmosphere for innovative activities to be carried out. Prior to the adoption of the teamwork culture, the sales and production volumes started increasing again. This was in the years between 1983 and 1992. During this time, the sales volume increased by 113% while the production volume rose to 65%.

However, when the company undertook an overhaul of the economic fundamentals such as cost and break-even point analysis, the need to reduce personnel arose. With the reduction in personnel by about 15% between 1993 and1995, the existing teamwork structure had to be interrupted. This structure was reconstituted when the new management thinking was put in place after the 1995 personnel shake-up. Since that day, VW has been making efficient use of workgroups and teamwork in order to derive the most economic benefits from various design, manufacturing, assembly and supply initiatives.

The activities of the Volkswagen Group Research section are overseen by the Service Innovation Team. This team is an international body that is highly innovative, mainly by virtue of the multidisciplinary skills of the members. The team brings together a group of interaction designers, media scientists, design researchers, and economists.

New team members tend to be integrated directly into teams so that they can be part of the process that develops solutions to various engineering, economic, and design problems. The teams are always tasked with the role of visualizing concepts, producing customer-centered products, and to make rapid prototypes.

Both team and workgroup members are often expected to ensure that their work always forms the basis for evaluation and communication for different new mobility concepts. Their efforts always embody the preliminary point of development of various new prototypes. The team members derive their satisfaction mainly from the ease of access to all the resources that they need in order to produce work that is of high industrial standards.

Similarities and differences between the diversity, group dynamics and teamwork efforts of Mitsubishi and those of VW

Both companies place a lot of value on efforts at diversity in efforts to come up with the best management principles. At Mitsubishi, diversity is most clearly evident in the manufacturing activities being undertaken, whereby many diverse areas are covered, not just auto manufacturing. For VW, diversity mainly takes the form of community engagements, whereby the company maintains friendliness with people in the factory’s neighborhood.

Mitsubishi has a rich history of recognizing the different perspectives that people take when expressing their views about consumer products. However, the company does not target any demographic or social class when making its autos. Rather, it makes manufactures them with the general market in mind. However, this diversity strategy differs when it comes to the case of VW. For VW, each product is made with a certain market segment in mind. Market segmentation for this company is mainly in terms of geographical boundaries. The models that are targeted for the European market are slightly different from the ones that are aimed at the North American market.

A striking similarity can be observed in the way that both of these companies create divisions of their companies in various geographical areas. They both have important divisions in North America, in which case both are located within the U.S. These divisions are critical to the success of the companies in the international market.

In both VW and Mitsubishi, there are decentralization efforts that come with lean manufacturing. For VW, decentralization is a key measure of ensuring that all research teams are empowered to come up with the best innovations that the industry can offer. For Mitsubishi, the autonomy of workgroups and teamwork efforts has been achieved mainly through h lean manufacturing. However, VW’s efforts appear to have been more successful than those of Mitsubishi. In the case of Mitsubishi, the lean manufacturing initiatives did not meet the expectations of all production line employees, whose expectations had been raised too high by the management.

Conclusion

In summary, both Mitsubishi and VW have undertaken various measures in order to attain benefits relating to diversity, teamwork, and workgroups. The main similarity between these two companies is that they are both widely known for designing, manufacturing, assembling and marketing automobiles. However, the strategies that these companies have adopted in the process of deriving benefits in all industrial processes through diversity and teamwork roles remain significantly different. In both companies, though, diversity, teamwork management, and workgroup initiatives are critical aspects, without which, it is difficult for them to maintain sustainability.

References

Beske, P. (2008) The use of environmental and social standards by German first-tier suppliers of the Volkswagen AG, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 15(2), 63–75.

Bruno, R. (2009) From High Hopes to Disillusionment: The Evolution of Worker Attitudes at Mitsubishi Motors, New York: Penguin Books.

Karabakal, N. (2000) Supply-Chain Analysis at Volkswagen of America, Supply-Chain Management, 30(4), 46-55.

 Kennedy, C. (2005) Modeling and control of the Mitsubishi PA-10 robot arm harmonic drive system, Mechatronics, 10(I), 263 – 274.

Okumura, H. (2001) Interfirm relations in an enterprise group: the case of Mitsubishi, London: Routledge.

Yanella, E. (2009) The UAW and CAW Confront Lean Production at Saturn, CAMI, and the Japanese Automobile Transplants, Labor Studies Journal. 18(4), 52-75.

Zipes, D. (2001) Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator: A Volkswagen or a Rolls Royce: How Much Will We Pay To Save A Life? Circulation, (103), 1372-1398.

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