The culture of a corporation is almost as important as the management at the top. While board members may make the decisions that ultimately steer the course of the organization, a strong culture ensures that the approaches, ethical consideration and practices championed by that board trickle down to every employee. However, it’s often not just the positive attributes that find their way into corporate culture.
According to a newly filed report, for General Motors, that organizational DNA appears to be have been corrupted by “incompetence and neglect,” culminating in a recall related ignition switch failures that came 11 years too late. The report was filed by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas and has resulted in the dismissal of 15 GM employees.
On the morning of May 5, GM chief executive Mary Barra addressed the company in town hall style, addressing the findings and promising that the company will do its best to hold parties accountable. "We will accept responsibility for our mistakes, and we will do everything in our power to make sure this never happens again," Barra said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
While GM is shielded from a large portion of legal retaliation as a result of its government restructuring in 2009, Barra mentioned that the company will seek to compensate victims of ignition switch related accidents, and called the delays "brutally tough and deeply troubling," during the meeting.
The report, which was commissioned by GM in March, tasked Valukas with determining how the organization allowed issues with ignition to go unaddressed for as long as they had. While the documents have yet to be released in full, WSJ reports Valukas found no intentional cover up associated with the recall. Rather, the delay was the result of bad decisions that stopped employees from acting in a timely manner.
The full details of the report will be released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Committee in the near future. However, other documents related to the recall indicated that employees may have known about the issues as early as 2001. GM has already paid $35 million in fines related to the issues.
For more on this, and other recalls check out these stories: