Mary Barra has pledged to end the culture of covering up at General Motors which begs the question “Can Mary Barra End the Culture of Covering Up at General Motors?” Like Penn State, corporate executives and managers first inclination is to protect the reputation of the corporation, it’s brand(s) and/or financial interests.
Lower level employees like Ray DeGiorgio, the engineer at General Motors who approved a design change to the faulty ignition switch spring without a change to the part number and lied about his knowledge of the change, may have self serving interests in covering up as well.
To “do the right thing” as Mary Barra has publicly promised and doing “the right thing” often presents a conflict of interest tempered and mitigated by “sharing what’s appropriate.” Latest indications are Barra and General Motors Corporation do not believe it is “appropriate” or “the right thing” for lawsuits of pre-bankruptcy victims to go forward. So exactly what does “do the right thing” suppose to mean to the “customers” whom Barra has made the promise?
Mary Barra always mentions “customers” and “safety related” in her promises seeming to disparage others. Others like myself who have issues with General Motors culture of cover ups that are not product safety nor customer related.
On one hand the new General Motors may not be liable as the principal defendant in lawsuits pre-bankruptcy yet on the other hand the new General Motors possibly could be held financially liable in lawsuits against their employees involved in the cover up, who hid and/or lied about the facts pertaining to the issues in the cases.
The new General Motors certainly is complicit after the fact having discovered it’s employee perjured himself and covered up the fact because the new General Motors and it’s lawyers did nothing to clarify and rectify the legal record.
Putting an end to General Motors Culture of Covering Up may only be a public relations propaganda ploy in an attempt to redeem the high ground with customers and ward off an undesirable stigma and establish a new image for the new GM and the beginning of a new campaign to totally disassociate and distinguish the New General Motor Corporation from the Old General Motors Corporation. Don’t be surprised if a New Corporate Name is forthcoming.
Once upon a time it was the divisional Brands,” Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Pontiac and Chevrolet that were the shining stars with the consuming public and General Motors, the corporate Brand, was the shining star of Wall Street. Ironically, it was reliability, safety, economy and finally bankruptcy that brought the Corporate Brand “General Motors” to the forefront of the consuming public.
Changing the corporate Brand/name could eliminate immediately and automatically bringing General Motors troubles; trials and tribulations to mind when focus is on the Corporation. Changing the Corporate name could even add value to General Motors stock. Changing the Corporate name however would not serve to end the Cover Up Culture of the Corporation.
Mary Barra has a daunting task before her as she also must deal with a seemingly prefect storm of major issues facing the Corporation from around the globe. The Crimean situation threatens General Motors plans to restructure Opel and expand the Russian market for instance where billions of dollars have been invested in a multi-year plan. Barra has a lot on her plate.
Above all else Barra stands for and with the corporation, as it should be, but what’s good or the “right thing” for General Motors does not necessary mean it’s the “right thing” or good for the public. Keep in mind also how much Mary Barra’s earns in pay/bonuses is contingent on corporate profits.
It may prove to have been easier to break the glass ceiling than it is to break down the cover up closet door. And is it even possible morality can reign in a for profit corporation as faith reigns in a religious non-profit corporation? General Motors has already aborted the models at issue while Ray DeGiorgio generically engineered a "key" DNA change for the last of the breed.