Ethics and Financial Strengths
General Motors is and has been one of the world's largest automakers for over 100 years. GM goes back as far as 1908. GM’s headquarters is in Detroit; however, GM has over 209,000 employees in every core region of the world, and conducts business in over 120 countries. GM and all its associates produce both cars and trucks in 31 countries. “GM also sell and service many of these vehicles through the following brands: Baojun, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, FAW, GMC, Daewoo, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall, and Wuling (NA, 2011).” GM's leading market nationally is China. After China is the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Russia. “GM's On Star subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services (NA, 2011).” It is because of good ethics compliance, financial filings, and GM’s care and concern to the public that keeps the company striving for perfection.
Business ethics and compliance issues are of concern within any company. It can make or break an organization if strong ethics are not understood. GM is taking a deeper look into the code of ethics issue because survival is at stake.
“In 2004, with the revisions to the Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations, GM recognized the need for a more centralized compliance function.” “There has always been an emphasis on compliance, but it was decentralized,” (Singer, 2008, para. 5).
In 2005, the GM's Board of Audit Committee created the Global Compliance department to consider ethical behavior from all angles. Samina R. Schey was hired to this position, and she has four full-time people in her office and holds two weekly meetings to identify recurring problems She also works closely with an investigative team that include two lawyers, a legal assistant, a security officer, and an audit officer. GM is one of the world's largest corporations and considered to be of the highest standards. Schey’s main concerns are to improve programs on quality, health, safety, and integrity.
Procedures In-place to Ensure Ethical Behavior
Because of ethical practice concerns, “Schey has undertaken a re-branding of the program. She has been focused on revising GM’s code of conduct book, developing a more comprehensive training, and conducting risk assessments” (Singer, 2008, para. 10).
GM first started with smaller booklets of Code of Conducts. There were too many booklets so a 120-page Code of Conduct book is created. Schey knew that such a long book would lose interest for the reader and was not a useful tool for teaching. The 120-page book was condensed to a mere 19-page booklet with the help of a consulting firm called The Ethical Leadership Group.
The design of the final 19-page booklet is written in a universal manner to be a teaching tool anywhere: this project took over a year to compile. GM is still revising this document because of phone calls from people asking for clarification. Although consolidating made it more simplified, this smaller version includes hyperlinks to take the reader to more in-debt information as needed.
Because GM is a multi-national company to more than 35 different countries, it creates many obstacles, concerns, and harassment within each country that requires different approaches. Some examples would be of how a woman dresses: it is offensive to speak of this issue in the Middle East but Latin Americans believe that it is an insult if a person does not comment on how a woman is dressed.
Integrity is another matter: in some places, integrity is a cultural norm whereas other places view it as an ethical issue. GM prides itself on not tolerating any sexual harassment of any kind. Sexual harassment is not a violation of the law in some countries, Schey said it is the breaking of the law in the...