Transformation at Harley Davidson – Critical Thinking questions 1. During Teerlink`s tenure as Harley´s CFO was the organizational structure flat or tall? Centralized or decentralized?
During this period Harley Davidson´s organizational structure seemed very tall. The leadership was hierarchical and centralized. This can clearly be seen when the AMF managers that were in charge at this point rapidly made the decision to increase production and mass produce Harley Davidson motorcycles, despite the fact that Harley Davidson motorcycles are very hard to mass produce due to their complexity and quality requirements. Harley Davidson was never meant to be a high-production company. The management at this time still took the decision to try to meet the demand and become another “Honda” by increasing production which lead to motorcycles with less quality. Some of them even leaked oil in the showroom. The management tried to measure Harley Davidson with Honda, a Japanese manufacturer that at this time produced approximately 3, 5 million units which was ridiculous and an impossible thing to do. This kind of rapid decision making clearly indicates that the organization is very tall and centralized where only a few people make decisions without hearing with others and considering other solutions then their own.
2. As CEO, how did Teerlink change the organizational structure?
When Richard Teerlink became CEO he changed the organizational structure by beginning to emphasize organizational and individual learning at all levels through a program. Teerlink also eliminated the positions of senior vice president in marketing and in operations due to the fact that they didn’t add any value to the product. Teerlink flattened out the corporate hierarchy. Instead the company implemented “teams”. For example there was a team in charge of demand, another team was in charge of producing the products while another team was in charge of product-support. It was...
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