Harley Davidson Process Of Change In Organizational Context Essay

Harley Davidson celebrates their 107 old ages anniversary this twelvemonth. In their long journey, they have faced many bumps. One of the biggest challenges was in 1980 ‘s where Nipponese motor rhythm company joins the competition in United States. It gaves a immense impact to Harley. The Harley about becomes history that twenty-four hours. Until some of import individual came and initiated alteration of every individual aspect.. Rich Teerlink and Lee Ozley were two of the cardinal individual behind the alteration. Rich Teerlink was CEO of Harley Davidson, Inc and Lee Ozley was adviser for the company.

In the twelvemonth 2000, they wrote a book called “ More than a bike: the leading journey at Harley ” . The book tells narratives about more than 12 old ages journey of alteration. How they analyze the jobs, failure they made, challenge to alter, until they win in altering Harley Davidson go better company. In this research paper, the writers try to see their journey from cognition direction position. The writers will pull of import constituents that could impact execution of cognition direction enterprise. Leadership, concern procedure, organisational construction, womb-to-tomb acquisition, civilization and employee engagement, are some constituents that lead prosperity of Harley Davidson s journey.

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Keywords: Knowledge Management, Leadership


On the border of bankruptcy, Harley was acquired by American Machine and Foundry ( AMF ) in1969, but still non go arounding good until 1980. Worse is that the independency of Harley, Inc. put Harley people from honeymoon to hard times because of capital shortage. The reaching of crisis in the early 1980s, when many of Harley ‘s employees lost their occupations or chances for calling promotion, turned into a impulsive force of following the traditional “ command-and control ” hierarchies to take the crunch.

It seemed safe and steady after the crisis, however, the tree leaders, Rich, Tom Gelb, frailty president of fabrication, and John Campbell, frailty president of human resources, started to take into history the endurance and prosperity of the company in the long tally. Decisive, top-down leading manner no longer could afford the hereafter with limited effectivity and lastingness. Commitment, instead than conformity, together with appropriate leading were put on the docket in position of Employee engagement ( EI ) .

This revolution started with information flow for cognition sharing within the organisation, supported by scheme push in stair-step. Leadership played a critical function in jointing a vision of coaction during the whole concern procedure while accent on human capital through awareness enlargement, committedness extension and bipartisan communicating helped constructing the life-long learning civilization of the company. Best Practices originated from the “ Operational Committee ” — -the behavior theoretical account, besides contributed to one of the nucleus advantages of Harley — – ” universe category ” system.

Preparation of Journey

Geting There from Here

Strategic push ( Figure 1 ) for alteration rises from comparing between where we are today and vision of ideal hereafter with power derives from the stair-step thought ( Figure 2 ) , which stimulated the forward information flow in that a shared vision aid people on the step to digest the near-term terra incognitas.

Figure 1 Strategic Trust ( Teerlink, 2000 )

Figure 2 Stair Step ( Teerlink, 2000 )

Making Change Popular

The conceptual model ( Teerlink, 2000 ) Lee outlined was based on the mathematics of alteration, supplying an attack to doing change welcome.

Change = ( E*M*P ) & gt ; Resistance

E=Engagement, M=Model, P=Process

The demand to make things otherwise drives people ‘s battle. ( E ) The Vision of ideal hereafter provides a clear end with the proper theoretical account giving the reality-transformation. ( M ) Approaches to do alteration welcome, stepping toward the clear end. ( P )

Structure for Information Flow

With the fact that Harley could non afford another three old ages of lone incremental alteration, direction squad agreed to follow the annual contract that afterwards proved to be good for both the brotherhood and direction to take the hazard. Demanding for set uping the appropriate relationship among the brotherhoods, between the brotherhood and the company together with feedbacks from the stakeholder, client, store floor worker along the tree dimensions: quality, fiscal public presentation, interpersonal dealingss turned into the accelerator of bring forthing the Joint Vision Process.

The information flow unfold the procedure by uniting the two positions from both brotherhood and nonunion together, with negative and positive force per unit areas, limited clip but besides stimulus to the procedure, brought by the annual contract.

Joint Vision Procedure

Joint Vision Process ( Figure 3 ) was the first measure in the journey. The intent is to jointly make the company s vision between the Union and Management. Persons from the two groups formed their ain positions toward vision for the company and the union-management relationship which so combined into a joint vision.

Figure 3 the Information Flow ( Teerlink, 2000 )

In bring forthing a concluding Joint Vision, a three-day session called “ the May Big One ” was held at the Ramada Inn in May 1988. There is one and merely regulation that nil would be included in the concluding vision statement that was n’t the merchandise of complete consensus. This honoring procedure carried out through a go oning duologue, with participants demoing a sense of personal ownership in company affairs, enabled this switch, instead than alteration from Point A ( my thoughts ) to indicate B ( my company ‘s thoughts ) through a series of stairss ( “ my establishment ‘s thoughts ” , “ my site ‘s thoughts ” ) .

The placeholder is community since local and specific can non be by and large accepted. The “ conference commissions ” , set up by ROI with members including the most senior directors and labour leaders from both brotherhood and nonunion, aimed to turn to evident dissension. What continued was the apparatus of the Joint Leadership Group, which was created as a web of impermanent constructions, composing brotherhood and direction leaders, to assist travel the Joint Vision Process frontward. And Local Site Committees, responsible for the designation of “ barriers ” had three guidelines to make up one’s mind the work of job resolution, which are

1. Problems and issues would be dealt with by the people most straight affected and knowing.

2. Merely the top-level articulation group could place issues as off bounds to the Joint Vision Process.

3. Any joint group could organize undertaking forces to make pieces of work within the charter of that joint group.

Impermanent administration construction ( Figure 4 ) of the procedure was so seated to run down barriers, giving equity to those people who have non yet been straight involved by making a numerical balance between brotherhoods and direction.

Figure 4 Administration Structure ( Teerlink, 2000 )

Modeling Appropriate Behaviors

The “ Operational Committee ” was established by persons describing straight to members of the Executive Committee to do executives ‘ actions seeable and back up a civilization of coaction in the embryologic signifier of Best Practices, enabling combination of Tacit cognition interaction from different degrees.

The two advisers, Bob and Lee, provided a series of recommendation after detecting a figure of commission meetings. They pointed out that one facilitator was needed in the commission to assist develop the members with the guidelines and land regulations, and those participants should lend to the subject merely at the meeting, and besides third-party ascriptions had to be avoided.

It is troublesome in the late period of identifying and turn toing barriers to the Joint Vision and 100s of barriers lead to the dialogue between the two sides — -union and direction, stoping with a new biennial labour understanding.

The procedure went good from mid-1988 to early 1990, and so came the ineluctable suspension because of missing comprehensive preparation of leaders from both the brotherhood and the direction sides, following by the treatment based on six specific issues.

Margaret Crawford, a member of one of the salaried groups, says that traveling right to the barriers was likely a error and that concentrating on chances could be a better thought. Since it truly takes clip to construct relationship, active stairss should be taken to assist people in the organisation alteration. All in all, the Joint Vision Process was a painful procedure but it did give the right way, puting the foundation of the whole journey.

Leadership involved making chances, Harley ‘s Executive Committee moved frontward to spread out consciousness of senior direction of the two separate organisations, Harley and Holiday-Ramble, through activities chiefly focus at argument stimulation, larning sharing and organisational coherence, which was the first clip that all top executives from both HDMC and HRC come together in a on the job session.

The “ learning organisation ” began among the groups with the following six aims ( Teerlink, 2000 ) :

Provide penetrations and constructs to help senior direction in taking their organisations more efficaciously

Demonstrate uninterrupted acquisition as a manner of life

Get better acquainted

Exchange thoughts and information

Elicit thoughts for the content and procedure of future Sessionss

Have merriment

After an effectual iceboat — the Tinker Toy exercising in which the five-member squads consisting intentionally assorted employees from HDMC and HRC, in squad, design, physique, and “ sell ” a Tinker plaything, all participants came to the following activity, where no disputing thoughts were provided by the groups toward the utmost idea given by the invitee talker James Brian Quinn. The participating directors had unexpected level, unidimensional reflect in malice that a high degree of chumminess was promoted through the gratifying experiential acquisition in which people had energetic and positive responses to the skits.

Rich was unsatisfied as people ‘s wonts of acquiring the replies from on high lead no different new ways and the unknowingness of “ Participation is an of import component of Harley ‘s long-run success and must be so recognized by the runing units. ” ( Teerlink, 2000 ) . And Lee compared the consciousness enlargement to a watershed event, stating that it broke the egg open a small.

The Business Procedure

Business procedure is defined as a structured, mensural set of activities designed to bring forth a specific end product for a peculiar client or market. It implies a strong accent on how work is done within an organisation, in contrast to a merchandise focal point s accent on what. A procedure is therefore a specific ordination of work activities across clip and infinite, with a beginning and an terminal, and clearly defined inputs and end products: a construction for action. … Taking a procedure attack implies following the client s point of position. Procedures are the construction by which an organisation does what is necessary to bring forth value for its clients. ( T. Davenport, 1993 )

As a brushfire of alteration, the Joint Vision Process received assorted feedbacks among different degree of participants. Problems exist in both gait and procedure. Channeling energy released through the awareness enlargement Sessionss, the Joint Vision Process, the beginning of organisational larning together with related enterprises called the demand of constructions. Business Process ( Figure 5 ) is such a device that predated the Joint Vision Process, assisting specify much about the manner Harley does concern today. The differentiation between Harley ‘s old betterment plans and the Business Process is that the latter automatically expand and extend the productive plans.

Below are the three constituents of the Business Procedure: the corporate “ Umbrella ” , the operating unit, and the work unit ( “ My Area ” )

Corporate “ Umbrella ”

In constructing the umbrella — – bundle of thoughts including values, issues, and stakeholders, one-word “ guideposts ” is agreed in the Executive Committee to sum up the undermentioned four countries: How will we act in our interactions with others? ( Values ) What is genuinely of import to Harley? ( Issues ) Whom does Harley function? ( Stakeholders ) How will we depict success in the hereafter? ( Vision ) ( Teerlink, 2000 )

The values to find our interactions with others are based on the short list presented by Dr. Alex Horniman, an morals professor at the University of Virginia s Darden School, which are to state the truth, to be just, to maintain your promises, to esteem the person. And to promote rational wonder was added as a 5th value by the Executive Committee. Five issues including Quality, Participation, Productivity, Flexibility, and Cash flow are focused by the group to find what sort of company Harley was supposed to be. Stakeholders, whom the Executive Committee defined as “ anyone interior or outside the company who has an interaction with Harley ‘s merchandises, services, or representatives. ” comprise six parts: clients, employees, providers, stockholders, authorities, and society. Stockholders were replaced by investors due to its limitation on blossoming all of those who backed Harley with money and other assets.

The vision, including cardinal thoughts of the importance of relationships, the jussive mood for action, and the international nature of the company ‘s hereafter markets, was defined together by all senior directors and was proved to be the driving force of the send oning overpowering concern procedure. Two sentences captured the vision before 1994: “ Harley is an action-oriented, international company — a leader in its committedness to continuously better the quality of profitable relationships with stakeholders ( clients, employees, providers, stockholders, authorities and society ) . ” and “ Harley believes the key to success is to equilibrate interest holders ‘ involvements through the authorization of all employees to concentrate on value-added activities. ” and so was changed to “ To be a leader in uninterrupted betterment in reciprocally good relationships with all our stakeholders. ”

Operating Unit of measurement

A three-year program, as an fond regard of a cover note Rich prepared for the December 1987 board of managers meeting, including a mission statement, runing doctrine, and selected schemes, was the foundation of the Business Process.

The Executive Committee attached great importance to flexibleness on the mission statement: “ Preserve and perpetuate the Harley establishment through uninterrupted betterment in the quality of our goods and services, and accomplishment of our fiscal ends, Provide motorcycles, accoutrements, and services to bikes in selected niches, provide the general public brand-identified products/services to heighten Harley ‘s image and pull new clients ( Teerlink, 2000 ) .

Engage in fabrication or service ventures that can add value ( non merely net income ) to the bike concern ( 1991 ) and “ We fulfill dreams through the experiences of motorcycling — by supplying to motorcyclists and to the general populace an spread outing line of bikes, branded merchandises, and services in selected market sections ” ( February 1999 )

Aims: How do we mensurate success?

Operating units are guided in general footings by aims which are traditionally stated in fiscal like “ develop the planetary market potency of 100,000 units by December 31, 1996, and develop the capacity to run into that demand while continuously better quality ” . It is suggested by the Executive Committee that no more than five aims should be adopted in each operating unit within Harley. Strategic plans, steering runing units in specific footings, are based on a three to five twelvemonth clip skyline, compared with that of aims, largely a five to ten twelvemonth clip skyline at Harley and are changed matching to different aims in assorted periods of clip.

Work Unit ( “ My Area ” )

The doctrine embedded in the head of Harley ‘s people is supposed to be “ making the right thing of course and organically but non in response to some external crisis ” , which can be enabled by tools for persons and groups to run independently, without uninterrupted counsel from corporate, equilibrating “ local ” duty with the larger demands of maps, divisions, and sections. Three cardinal points here:

1. A “ work unit ” , today operating as “ natural work group ” , would map out programs yearly harmonizing to the phases of the one-year operating programs.

2. An employee-driven Performance Effectiveness Plan ( PEP ) was developed for every employee to understand programs, in both strategic and runing degree, and so to do personal programs correspondingly.

3. Inside the Two-way communicating, directors act as apprehenders, to whom people provide their information and travel for replies.

Pull offing concern procedure enables organisations to be more efficient, more effectual and more capable of alteration than a functionally focused, traditional hierarchal direction attack. In concern procedure, cognition is created and transferred throughout the organisation by tools such as lessons learn database, best patterns and community of patterns. And since the transportation of concern patterns is viewed as a beginning of competitory advantage in cognition direction schemes ( Alexandre P. , 2007 ) , concern procedure provides Harley the platform to construct the nucleus advantages of the company — – ” universe category ” system through best patterns originated from the “ Operational Committee ” — -the behavior theoretical account ( Teerlink, 2000 ) .

Figure 5 Business Process ( Teerlink, 2000 )

Organizational Structure

Organizational design is one of the factors that will greatly act upon the execution of a cognition direction procedure ( Enrique Claver-Corte s, 2007 ) . Organizational construction which have high hierarchy and really bureaucratic tend to hold low inventions from the employees. Normally the construction is command-control, non much infinite for the employees to show himself.

Harley s director and brotherhood members found that organisational construction gives immense barriers to realisation of company s hereafter. Rich alterations Harley s organisational construction from bid control determination doing into employee-driven and minimum construction. Employees have chance to lend on make up one’s minding particulars boxes and lines for the organisation and the construction should deduce from existent organisational maps.

Rich and co-workers come up with thought about circle organisation. The doctrine behind this circle organisation was to acquire the right people, together at the right clip, to make the right work right. ( Teerlink, 2000 ) . It represents shared leading and cross-functionality at work in Harley.

The circle organisation based on three nucleus procedures, Create demand ; include selling, gross revenues, public dealingss, client services and titling. Produce merchandise ; include fabrication, technology, buying, logistics, etc. Supply support ; include finance, HR, legal, information services, etc. And leading and scheme council ( LSC ) , its coordinator of other three circles.

Figure 6 Circle Organization ( Teerlink, 2000 )

Figure 6 shows complete image about the circle organisation. Arrows indicating to stakeholders country means it s the external focal point for the company. Meanwhile, arrows indicating across the circle indicate acknowledgment of mutuality. The strategy encourages employees to seek the right people to work with in order to acquire the work done. The command-control place was replaced by the manager or facilitator in each group. Employees communicate and portion cognition indoors and between the circles, cognition purchaser and marketer change their thought how to work out a job, new thoughts frequently generate during the treatments.

Employee Engagement

One of factors act uponing prosperity of Knowledge Management enterprise is employee s battle to the organisation. When employee experience the organisation is belong to them and their part is recognized by the company, employee will be encouraged to portion their cognition and actively take part to the company s concern scheme. Bob Hayward in his website portions some benefits of employee battle in the organisation ( Hayward, 2010 ) :

Better public presentation Knowledge worker whom engage in his occupation tend to work smarter. They ever looking for ways to better their public presentation. Work in effectual and efficient manner. It means better quality, inventions and lower cost.

Better communicating

Engaged employee communicate to portion thoughts, information and cognition. Knowledge sharing is in his blood. He actively plays functions in cognition market.

Greater client satisfaction

Customer is a male monarch. Engaged employee will seek how he could run into client demands. Customer satisfaction is his mark.

Better squad working

Employee has personal duty to present concern docket. He works in the squad to accomplish organisation s vision.

Greater committedness

Employee has a pride and truly attentions about the company s hereafter, because company s hereafter is besides his hereafter.

Lower employee turnover and greater ability to enroll great people

One of serious job in organisation is high employee turnover. Without proper cognition direction system, cognition could walk off out the door together with employee. Organization has to reinvent the wheel every clip employee goes out. For engaged employee, they do non easy go forth the company. They feel happy working at that place. Good employee normally has good networking ; it will take them to suggest the company great people to fall in them.

Rich and his squads clearly have vision how to prosecute their employee to the company. Harley did some activities to promote the employee battle:

Established Performance Effectiveness Process ( PEP )

PEP gives single chance and duty to find map of his work unit and how he can do difference in company s hereafter. PEP is the smallest participatory procedure entity of company s vision that will germinate iteratively and it will take to the creative activity of whole company concern procedure. PEP can be used for several activities, such as:

o Performance Evaluation

One intent of public presentation rating is to see strength and failing of single. Harley involved the employee on specifying their ain public presentation step and see single from other position. Employee should cognize his place based on others judgements and understood how their colleges perceived them and how to better their public presentation in the eyes of their college. Based on this rating, company will pull out strength and failing of their employee. So the company will cognize which subject they should concentrate to develop.

o Career Development

PEP was tailored by the HR section to go basic for calling development. Many employees like position quo. When company seeking to do major cultural alteration, they do non desire to alter and detest to be changed. Integrating calling development into PEP, it will take a firm stand the employee to alter their wont. If they do non desire to alter, so he will be the first employee who will go forth the company when layoff comes.

O Maximize employee engagement.

Persons know lucidity how he can do a difference. It s good for company every bit good for the persons. With PEP, employee have to give input how to better them self every bit good as the company. In their employee enchiridion, Harley Davidson commit to make a on the job environment designed to maximise employee part and supply resource and chances to develop their cognition.

Pep does non win in its first month or even first twelvemonth of execution. It emerged over several old ages, with uninterrupted betterment in all facets.


The 2nd manner how Harley engaged the employee is by giving them compensation. Harley compensates people non merely from public presentation but besides on how they demonstrate their capablenesss. Harley found that they should non counterbalance the employee merely with money. Because their motive is non merely money, so we should hold much money to make that, said Lee. Harley has two visions on giving compensation. The first is to do a larger portion of employees ‘ compensation at-risk or variable and the 2nd is to counterbalance all employees in basically the same manner by making standard wage constituents across the company.

Listen to the employees

Harley Davidson is an employee goaded organisations. They were altering their civilization from bid control top down company into more participatory. Most people want the same thing from their company. For them working motive is non merely money. What Harley s employee truly seeks are wagess and acknowledgment in non-monetary kingdoms. They seek chances to be heard, organisation s grounds of part, engagement in determination devising and job work outing procedure. They want to cognize every individual facet in organisation and understand what is traveling on. Employee seeks entire experience in their on the job topographic point.

The company truly listens carefully and takes necessary action to response the employee s need. Harley s facilitate sharing session on what they expect in the organisation. The employee proposed 49 things to the company. Some of the points can be done instantly and the others need O.K. from the board. But Harley truly engages to his employee satisfaction, and this will convey the employees to make the same thing for the company.

Lifelong Learning

Learning organisation is organisations where people continually expand their capacity to make the consequences they genuinely desire, where new and expansive forms of thought are nurtured, where corporate aspiration is set free, and where people are continually larning to see the whole together. ( Senge, 1990 ) Some benefits of going a learning organisation are:

Keeping degrees of invention and staying competitory ( McHugh, 1998 )

Bing better placed to react to external force per unit areas ( McHugh, 1998 )

Having the cognition to better associate resources to client demands ( Wikipedia, 2010 )

Bettering quality of end products at all degrees ( Wikipedia, 2010 )

Bettering corporate image by going more people oriented ( Wikipedia, 2010 )

Increasing the gait of alteration within the organisation ( Wikipedia, 2010 )

Harley s leaders, both brotherhood and direction leaders have commitment to promote and ease acquisition and rational wonder in the organisations. Intellectual wonder is consequence of looking person else making the undertaking and ground why he making in that manner. Company serves the employee by supplying accomplishments and cognition they need.

The most important measure toward Harley larning civilization was Awareness Expansion III. One of participant said We re larning from each other, and we re increasing our apprehension of our several concern. Successfulness of AEIII leads to establishment of AEIV. AEIV chief intent is to larning from each other. Employee divided into 5 groups and they present on one peculiar subject. They change cognition when the presentation was held. Working together in this manner, give them a new experience of larning. Based on Lee sentiment, AEIV is a immense measure of Harley s journey because the group treatment is led and facilitated by themselves, non by professional.

Another accomplishment in AEIV is, they collaborate with MIT-based Organizational Learning Center ( OLC ) . This Research group headed by Peter Senge, he is an organisational theoretician and adviser. Peter Senge was the writer of The Fifth Discipline book. Rich and Lee had read the book and involvement to implement his thought on how to go a successful organisation. Senge proposed five subjects about successful organisation, which are: personal command, mental theoretical accounts, shared visions, squad acquisition and systems believing. Senge s sights were aligned with what Harley s making recently.

By working together with OLC, Harley wants to emphasis womb-to-tomb larning for all employees. To back up this plan, Harley provides some formal larning plan to its employee.

Harley Davidson Leadership Institute

Tuition reimbursement plans at Graduate and Undergraduate degrees

Degree Program with Marquette University

Lifelong Learning Centers

Motorcycle U – Harley Davidson University

On making the acquisition constructs, they were affecting all the stakeholders. Because the root larning construct built based on old Chinese adage

State me, I ‘ll bury

Show me and I may retrieve

But affect me, and I ‘ll understand

To make up one’s mind specific preparation and instruction, direction and labour jointly adopt Learning Maps attack developed by Perrysburg. By utilizing this Learning Maps, the employee come up with four subjects that they need to learned: our market, the concern procedure, our procedures and the money rhythm. All these subjects are compelled to assist every individual employee understand the company ‘s critical concern issues in the same manner.


Accomplishments reached in Communication

As stated by Rich and Lee at the beginning of the journey, the umbrella concern procedure was functioning to guarantee that everybody had the appropriate degree of information as defined, to let them to make their occupation for the organisation. However, the consequences from two baseline audit studies on the employees in 1991 broke the leading s outlook after their more-than-three-year attempt on bettering the relationships and communications within the organisation. Shocked by the feedbacks from a bulk of the employees, the leading recognized the failure on communicating and started to happen and repair the jobs. Aligning with the organisational scheme, transforming the company from command-and-control theoretical account to a wholly new manner based on good communicating, Rich and Lee exhaustively abandoned ordering method and broke the premises of some senior directors and supervisors on employees positions about information and cognition.

Subsequently, they came up with a new attack to better organisational communicating by inquiring the employees what they need to cognize and seeking to run into the demands. Due to the executive of the new attack and the constitution of Harley communications section ( which had a hazard of puting the communicating state of affairs back to the command-and-control epoch, as worried about by Rich, but genuinely facilitated the organisational communicating and drove the attempts on better communicating ) , the employees wonder on information in a large image – By design, they owned the large image. They therefore took duty for calculating out which piece of that large image they would pass on, to whom, and in what signifier. ( Teerlink, 2000 ) – was dramatically raised and information and cognition eventually began to flux expeditiously throughout the company and among workss in different locations.

Although the achievement Harley obtained on organisational communicating still can non be regarded as a immense success, it did take to favourable result in the organisation s coming partnering undertaking. The roots of partnering, as described by Rich and Lee in the book, can be traced back to the crisis in the late seventiess and 1980s.During the difficult clip, Harley s brotherhood leaders and members worked collaboratively with direction to salvage the company. However, one time the crisis was gone, the collaborative work began to melt, which was evidently non likely to the company uninterrupted betterment in the new selling environment. And in the twelvemonth of 1994, the increasing selling demand desperately called for an enlargement of fabrication capacity which was non possible to be realized without partnering. Due to the enterprises chiefly made by Harley s leading, Joint Partnership Implementation Committee ( JPIC ) was founded and Kansas City works started up as a great result of partnering.

Factors Leading to Success of Communication

Harmonizing to Thomas H. Davenport and Laurence Prusak, the best manner to make effectual transportation of cognition is: engage smart people and allow them speak to one another. Unfortunately, the 2nd portion of this advice is the more hard to set into pattern. ( T. H. Davenport, and Prusak, L, 1998 ) Therefore, As good acknowledged within concern direction field, organisational communicating is a thorny issue in large companies many of which launch a assortment of KM enterprises to better organisational communicating but normally end in failure. Then, what led to the success of Harley? The chief factors are discussed below:

The Leadership Attempts

The leading ( chiefly means Rich and Lee ) played an indispensable function throughout the organisation revolution. Rich and Lee, as the writers of the book, are truly modest while stating the narrative. They kept stating accomplishments were owing to the employees and clients, rarely adverting their ain part. Actually, the leading function was a key to the success of communicating. It can be easy state, by reading the book, that their belief in communicating is the land truth. This is the ground for that they regarded good communications as the direction end ( Teerlink, 2000 ) .

It was every bit good their honestness that led to the actions on repairing communicating. They were honest to the both employees and themselves at the clip seeing the consequences of the studies. Normally people are loath to see the unexpected consequences particularly after long clip and much attempts devouring and while everything else seems to acquiring better as predicted. But Rich and Lee ne’er doubted the consequences or found any alibi for the consequences. They merely committed the failure and set custodies on work outing jobs.

Furthermore, the leading s finding and continuity won others respect throughout the whole procedure, non merely in the instance of communicating and partnering. Confronting the changeless intuitions and unfavorable judgments coming from different degrees, they ne’er gave up making the right things. Abandoning command-and-control theoretical account, they made great attempts on advancing the undertakings and carrying others within organisation, which eventually involved everyone in better communicating. Neither Harley s good communicating nor partnering could be achieved without the leading attempts.

Good Organizational Culture

Constructing a positive cognition civilization is critical. ( T. H. Davenport, and Prusak, L, 1998 ) Yes, organisational civilization is a container in which any alteration can even go on. Organizational civilization is something set up by the first leading and employees at the really get downing when organisation is established. Organizational civilization is something familial, perfectly hard to alter. In the instance of Harley, although Rich and Lee s leading journey is normally considered as a success in civilization changing, it can non be denied that Harley already had good, at least non bad, civilization before the glorious alteration, which can be told from how Harley came out of the crisis during 1970s. This civilization provided the organisational alteration, particularly in communications, with possibilities.

It is just to state that Harley s civilization is knowledge-oriented which is rather ideal to thrive communicating. The grounds are merely at that place: foremost, the studies in 1991 showed the wonder of employees for more information in a bigger image. Employees expressed their ain ideas by stating the truth through the studies, reflecting their tidal bore to betterments in betterments on relationships with their supervisors. Second, the board, senior direction, and employees kept their leery attitudes toward the enterprises and policies suggested by the leading. This was truly a good mark! If the organisational attitudes were all the clip friendly to the leading s enterprises, it could turn out nil except another command-and-control organisational procedure. And last, even sing strivings before 1987 when the promise on occupation security was broken and rather a few employees were laid off for meeting, Harley s employees still chose the manner of active communicating and sharing of information. Why? Because the good civilization survived the unhappy clip and helped them to do a right pick.

Other Factors

Aside from the large 1s such as Leadership and Culture, there are still two other factors that brought about the exhilarating consequences in good communicating:

One is the senior direction support. As told by Rich and Lee, We recount Harley s attempts to do communications among its people mean more and better work. To a big extent, leaders at the company s single works locations drove the attempts. ( Teerlink, 2000 ) . The collaborative work between workss in different locations can ne’er be leisure. For Harley in early 1990s ( the selling demand was raising and all mills were running at full dullard ) , merely all the leaders of workss acquiring engaged in the can do partnering possible. And the senior representatives from the International Association of Machinists ( IAM ) and the United Paper Workers International Union ( PACE ) played an indispensable portion in taking JPIC make its occupation. In add-on, the senior direction was rather open-minded and did possess the willing to communicating.

They were positive in the alteration, but merely disturbed by the Time Problem. They were already overwhelmed by the existent work ( Teerlink, 2000 ) . And harmonizing to a study on Barriers to Knowledge Management Success, employees holding no clip knowledge direction ranked the first topographic point by 41.0 % ( Milam, 2010 ) . The lone solution to the Time and Real Work Problem seems to be sing communicating as existent work. The senior direction, every bit good as employees, eventually made it successful. Lee said, based on the feedbacks from employees, I don t hear today s the ailments about communicating about that I used to hear. I tend to hear things like, Hey, they re eventually making some good work ; they re about at that place ; why don T they try this one more thing? ( Teerlink, 2000 )

The other factor is an entree to multiple channels for information transferring. It was the first-class occupation done by Harley s communicating section. Due to the existed of circle organisation, Kal Demitros, the leader of communicating section, and her co-workers satisfactorily carry through her occupation across the circles. By the clip the communicating section officially set up, Harley already had a figure of channels: Harley World, ( a twice-a-month magazine ) , electronic bulletin boards, and a newly-launched employee intranet called RIDE. The end of their work is for all works groups to hold computing machine terminuss, which will supply every employee with entree to RIDE.

Demitros besides inherited a tool called the Eagle News Network, a uninterrupted picture provender of Harley-related information which can be seen in lunchrooms and interruption suites across the company. ( Teerlink, 2000 ) This Eagle News Network, within the whole bundle of communicating, was a existent shinning point for bettering people s face-to-face communicating ( in lunchroom and interrupt suites ) over company issues. As normally convinced, face-to-face communicating is non likely to be to the full replaced by telecommunication supported communicating. There is still a strong demand for what the U.S. Army calls face clip. ( T. H. Davenport, and Prusak, L, 1998 )

Reasoning the communicating alteration in Harley, it can be regarded as an result of all factors described above based on the organisational full-of-wisdom concern procedure. The successful instance can be taken for mention by other companies, but may non work good if it is merely copied merely for communicating betterment. The revolution in Harley was a whole-package procedure instead than an event, and none of its constituents can be individually judged from others.

Contemplations of Journey

The full procedure of Harley s alterations was described by a senior director at Harley as a journey. It s the journey, he explained, repeating the subject of a long-ago Harley ad run. The merriment is non in the finish ; the merriment is in the journey. ( Teerlink, 2000 ) . This was a journey full of merriment. The whole company experienced uninterrupted and dramatic alterations in 6 facets of organisational direction:

Business Process ( Joint Vision Process, the polar axis in the journey, which made other alterations possible. )

Communicationss ( Started from communicating force group via Joint Vision Process in 1987, and eventually reached great accomplishments in this thorny issue. )

Compensation and Benefits ( Reaching World category system acknowledgment as an result of the journey. )

Labor-Management Relations ( Partnering based on good communications, eventually worked to spread out fabrication capacity. )

Lifelong Learning ( Harley made uninterrupted attempts on altering to a acquisition company which can possess sustainable competency. )

Organizational Structure ( The full-of-wisdom Circle organisation to the full utilized its people to function for better work and eventually became official. )

The alteration in Harley was no uncertainty great success. However, Rich and Lee emphasized that they believe in its success. As stated in the book that most of the attempts we ve described didn t lend themselves to a quantitative appraisal. They could state the success by seeing and hearing throughout the company. And the seeable growing in both concern and organisation graduated table as good made those who doubted the alteration silent ( see table below ) ( Teerlink, 2000 ) .

Table 1: Harley: Then and Now

1982 1986 1999

U.S. market portion ( 651 +cc ) 15.2 % 19.4 % 49.5 %

Unit of measurements shipped 32,400 36,700 177,187

Gross ( $ 1000000s ) 210 295 2,453

Operating net income ( loss ) ( $ 1000000s ) ( 15.5 ) 7.3 415.9

Employee* 2,289 2,211 7,200

*Estimate ( includes employees of Eaglemark Financial Services, Inc. , a Harley subordinate ) .

Additionally, giving a bird oculus on Harley s journey, though it is non easy to analyse and explicate all factors dragging Harley from at that place to here, there still critical rules that were playing active functions from the beginning to the terminal.

First is about value. The leading profoundly believed in shared value and got everything get downing. Second is trusting on people. Without concentrating on its people, Harley-Davison s revolution must hold become a failure against the intuitions from clip to clip. This is besides the ground why Haley s instance is normally called a success began with employees. The last 1 should be the Whole bundle construct. Harley succeeded in sing the organisation as a mechanism in which all constituents were closely linked with each other. Once holding a job to work out, Haley relied much on Casual Loop Diagram ( CLD ) method to alter the whole environment, which non merely solved the job in face but every bit good prevented it from reiterating.

In a word, Harley s thorough alteration is obviously a fantastic instance of KM establishing with systematical methodological analysiss which can be taken by other companies for mention or even guide lines.


Harley Davidson s journey could be one of the best instance surveies to stand for complete procedure of alteration in organisational context. It gives good degree of inside informations so we make the reader experienced it. If we see this journey through the cognition direction lens, we will aware that execution of cognition direction enterprise will be the same with the Harley Davidson s journey of alteration. Leadership and communications play the most of import function. Without these two facets, the enterprise will travel nowhere.

When a cognition officer wants to get down a cognition direction enterprise, he has to near, convince and acquire support from CEO or at least the Vice. Without the support, it s difficult for cognition officer to distribute thoughts. Spreading the thoughts is all about communicating. Talk to the right people will be benefited in cognizing the organisational civilization. When people reluctant to affect in cognition sharing activities, we must looking for the root jobs and happen solution for it. Indeed, cognition officer have to establish the enterprise with a good scheme. This cognition scheme must aline with the company concern procedure and scheme, because intent of cognition direction is to back up the company to derive net income.

Finally, journey takes old ages. Organizational alteration in Harley Davidson s could take old ages to be successful. It s besides the same with execution of cognition direction enterprise. It s non a two or three twelvemonth s plan. It s besides a long journey with a batch of bumps. Clear visions, ability to joint thoughts and have patient will take to a successful execution of cognition direction enterprise, hopefully.


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