Main issue relevant to international business
The case brings to table the hitches at Firestone when its Wilderness tires, which were mostly used on Ford explorer, were detected to be sub-standard. It also tries to bring out the differences in systems of management between the U.S based companies, Firestone and Ford and the Japanese companies that is Bridgestone. It explains the behavior of managers and employees in different working environments and its effect on international business
Role played by Leaders in decline and recovery
John Nevin the manager who stayed with the company when Bridgestone and firestone merged was a confrontational one. He handled issues at hand and did not mince his words, a no time waster in deed. He lived near firestone headquarters and his touch the locals in various activities played an important role in adding value to the firm. However, the Japanese culture of management required that the executive be polite and reserved. This led to the sacking of Nevin and the job taken over by Ono, Japanese who the company believed would propel it to greater heights. Everything went on well and soon than later, the company was at the epitome of its production being listed third after Goodyear and Michelin in 1990s.This was contributed mostly due to the conducive working environment to the employees of the company who worked with motivation and no stress. The Japanese mode of management was flourishing but not until 2000 when the news reached the world that the company was actually manufacturing defective tires especially those connected with Ford explorer for Wilderness to run at very high speeds. The investigation went underway and it was found that the managers had the knowledge that the tires were not up to standard. This was a big show of poor managerial skills, which led to the company trailing down the market and the profit line. All in all Ono remained calm over the issue as all efforts were made to repaint the tainted image of the company. Ono was kicked in October the same year and John Lampe took over to oversee the rebuilding of the company .He publicly apologized for the crisis and reassured the customers of quality in the company tires.
Critique Firestones Response to tire Crisis. How might Leaders from the United States, Germany and China have handled it differently?
In US, the managers do not want long-term relationship with the employees. The managers believe that Americans have a habit of lying that would affect the normal running of the company. This would have therefore mostly resulted in blame befalling workers who would have been sacked. Individualism is high in the US and hence any investigation launched would have attacked the employees. In Germany, the company might have been sold to willing investor as in the case of adidas in 1989.The company may also have been closed in favor of better performing one and thorough marketing done to lift up the company. Consequently, the company name might have been changed and hence rebranded to change the whole image of it. The whole managerial team may also have been sacked and pave way for new ideas from fresh people.
In china the decision could not be made unilaterally because that would have been too individualistic and so everyone would have been involved in making the decisions and coming up with the solution of how the problems facing the company should be solved. Mostly a team would have been established and through research and consultation amongst themselves, a solution would have been found. This is because china advocates for communism, which is to help everyone achieve his goal in the company and society as a whole.
How the crisis affected the employees’ motivation and stress
The employees could have lacked motivation due to job not satisfying their efforts due to losses incurred and uncertainty. This might have contributed a great deal in lack of commitment in the organization. Stress could also come in due uncertainties of employees losing their job through retrenchment and sacking. It could also come about due to lots of workload of trying to bring the company back to its original status.