Harley-Davidson: Fortune 500 Company The Hogs, Inc. David Deubner Yvonne James Sandra Jones Giovanni Legaspi Julie Orton Florida State College at Jacksonville MAN3240 October 21, 2009 The history of Harley-Davidson is an incredible story of four young men in Milwaukee, who experimented with internal combustion in a 10×15 little shed with the words Harley-Davidson Motor Company inscribed on the front. Not only did they not burn down the shed but they created a business that thrives strong even today. William S.
Harley, age 21, completed his first blueprint drawing of an engine designed to fit into a bicycle in the year 1901. By 1903 William Harley and Arthur Davidson developed a one cylinder motorcycle that was “reliable and beautiful and someone bought it. ” By 1905 they had made eleven motorcycles and by 1908 they had made 154. Arthur’s brother Walter was the next to come on board, followed by his brother William Davidson. On September 17, 1907 Harley-Davidson Motor Company was incorporated. The stock was split four ways between the four founders. During this time staffing and factory size doubled.
Dealer recruitment begins, targeting the New England region. In 1908 Walter Davidson scores a perfect 1,000 points at the 7th Annual Federation of American Motorcyclists Endurance and Reliability Contest. Three days after the contest, Walter sets the FAM economy record at 188. 234 miles per gallon. Word of Harley-Davidson’s extremely tough motorcycle spreads rapidly and the first Harley was sold to the Detroit, MI police department. In 1909 Harley-Davidson Motor Company introduces its first V-twin powered motorcycle with a displacement of 49. cubic inches and it produces seven horsepower. This is also the year that parts production began. Over the years, Harley-Davidson became very popular with new styles and better technologies. In both World Wars, Harley-Davidson provided more than 20,000 units for military use. By this time Harley Davidson was the biggest motorcycle factory in the world with nearly 2,000 dealerships in 67 countries worldwide. Just before the 70’s, AMF or the American Machinery and Foundry merged with Harley-Davidson. Policies changed resulting in labor strikes and substandard products.
Due to the merge their sterling reputation was tarnished and their sales decreased. The mission, goals, and vision of Harley-Davidson are diversified to say the least. Not only are they committed to customer satisfaction and ensuring the highest quality of products and service; they are committed to their employees and community, fostering a cultural and community diversity to fulfill the dreams of all. The Harley-Davidson culture provides employees with continued opportunities for growth and professional development because we believe that people are our only long term competitive advantage. The website also states that Harley –Davidson core priorities is to support the communities where they have facilities, for example in 300 Milwaukee areas, Harley –Davidson employees along with their family and friends participated in the 2006 Next Door Foundation’s Walk for Children. Harley-Davidson provides and encourages their employees as well as the customersto have that relaxed nature with friend’s family and their bike. Harley-Davidson bike owners can join a Chapter through the dealership when they purchase a motorcycle. They get to enter bike races and receive amenities and benefits.
They have a sense of freedom and American pride. The bikers love to enjoy the great outdoors. They allow themselves to get away from the maddening stressor that we sometimes encounter and escape to a free spirited party environment. Harley-Davidson decided that they needed a new definition of leadership; the process of creating and sustaining an environment in which people work together toward the achievement of common goals, not because they have to but because they want to. Leadership is a process whereby everybody can make contributions to the success of the company and ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things.
Harley could survive and prosper only if every employee took responsibility for leading the company. Harley-Davidson thought that too often, corporations attempt to take solutions to their employees, rather than work with employees to solve a problem. Harley-Davidson is an action-oriented, international company; “A leader in its commitment to continuously improve the quality of profitable relationships with all of its stakeholders, Harley-Davidson believes the key to its success is to balance stakeholder interest through the empowerment of its employees to focus on value-added activities. (_ More__ Than a Motorcycle: The Leadership Journey at Harley-Davidson)_. Harley decided that if they wanted to provide people with greater responsibility and authority they had to reduce the hierarchy. The philosophy behind the circle organization was to get the right people together at the right time to do the work right. They wanted teamwork without the teams and the idea of natural work groups emerged. This “circle organization” is based around the core processes at Harley to create demand, produce products, and provide support which are depicted by three interlocking circles.
This is a more accurate representation of the shared leadership and cross-functionality at work in Harley-Davidson. People who had historically taken their ideas, work products, problems, and complaints “up the organization” were now encouraged to work with the right people to get the work done. Decisions began to be made as close to the source of the problem or topic as possible. People who had occupied formally hierarchical command-and-control positions were being transformed from “commanders” into facilitators and coaches.
In a typical organization, you go to the big boss, talk him into your idea, and then count on him to beat your peers into submission. Ultimately, you need their cooperation, but it’s easier to get it through the big boss than by talking to them. The concept of the circle organization takes the big boss out of the circle. You call them “coaches. ” They’re still out there, but now their job is to mentor and help, rather than to make decisions. At the core of the overlapping circles lies a zone of intersection. This is the coordinating function, one of the four core processes of the organization.
This zone of overlap was named the “Strategy and Leadership Council”. Its primary function is to ensure that cross-functional integration occurs with authentic input from informed individuals from each circle. In the circles, they expected each to operate as an empowered work group. They did not expect a single individual to emerge as the leader of a circle; instead, they anticipated that leadership would be a shared responsibility. At the same time, managers within the circles were expected to operate independently. “Shared leadership, individual management” emerged as a catch phrase.
They didn’t expect the circles to take effective shape without any assistance. In their infancy, they were coached by competent counsel; Tom Gelb, vice president of manufacturing coached the “produce product” circle, marketing vice president Jim Paterson accepted the coaching job for the “create demand” circle, and Rich Teerlink, then acting head of the motorcycle company, took responsibility for the “provide support” circle. Partnering became a fundamental part of Harley’s vision statement. In part, it states that Harley exists to “continuously improve the quality of mutually beneficial relationships with all stakeholders. Harley has tried to work in a partnering relationship with all six groups of stakeholders; which include the customers (dealers and riders), employees, suppliers, shareholders, government, and society. Their leadership in the motorcycle industry has more than kept them on top with continuous innovations and new product lines far different from the conventional Japan made. Now, after more than a hundred years of existence, Harley-Davidson motorcycles have become an attraction in every road around the world and have been an American Icon in the business world. Works Cited Bluestein, Jeffery. (2003). Hurdles on the Road to Hog Heaven”, Business Week, http://www. Businessweek. com Brown, R. (1996). The Encyclopedia of Motorcycles. New York: SmithMark. Dannehl, Bill. (2009). “There’s only forward”, Harley Davidson, http://www. Harley Davidson. com Harley-Davidson USA (2009). Retrieved October 7, 2009, from http://www. harley-davidson. com http://www. harleydavidson. com/wcm/Content/Pages/HD_History/history_1990s. jsp? locale=en_US Katz, Jonathan. (2007). “Harley Davidson. : Bridging the Generational Divide”, Industry Week, http://www. IndustryWeek. com Lione, Gail. (2009). “In Their Own Words”, Harley Davidson, http://www.
Harley Davidson. com Williams, M. (1993). The Classic Harley. New York: SmithMark. Harley-Davidson USA. (2009). Retrieved October 9, 2009, from Google (http://www. harley-davidson. com/wcm/Content/Pages/H-D_History/history. jsp? locale=en_US). Harley Davidson History. (2009). Retrieved October 9, 2009, from Google (http://auto. howstuffworks. com/harley-davi. com/wcm/Content/Pages/H-D_History/history. jsp? locale=en_US). Harley Davidson History. (2009). Retrieved October 9, 2009, from Google (http://www. powerpassion. nl/index. html). More Than a Motorcycle: The Leadership Journey at Harley-Davidson. (2000).