Hr Case Study Harley Davidson

Topics: Human resource management, Organizational culture, Organizational structure Pages: 11 (2664 words) Published: November 29, 2010
UNIT: Human Resource Planning and Development/ Part 1

The Harley Davidson Case Study


NAME OF TUTOR:Richard Bills




I confirm that no part of this coursework, except where clearly quoted and referenced, has been copied from material belonging to any other person, e.g., from a book, handout, another student. I am aware that it is a breach of regulations to copy the work of another without clear acknowledgement and that attempting to do so renders me liable to disciplinary proceedings.

Signed and Dated:



Terms of Reference3


The “Softer” Management Style4

The Leadership Circles8

Collaboration with Accenture9





Table of Pictures

Picture 1 - X and Y Theory (

Picture 2 - Fombrum Model (Bratton and Gold 2007 P.21)6

Picture 3 - Guest Model7

Picture 4 - The Leadership Cycle at HD8

Picture 5 - Harvard Model (Bratton and Gold 2007 P. 22)10

Picture 6 – The Duality of Structure (Martin 2005 P. 520)12

Terms of Reference

The company Harley Davidson (HD) is a leading manufacturer of motorcycles in the USA. In this document will be investigated, based on the case study “Human Capital Development: The Harley-Davidson Way” (Sengupta 2007) how HR models and methods can be used to support to achieve a company target.


Harley Davidson is a great example of a company which has used different HR strategies to support its overall organisational goals.

The “Softer” Management Style

This change started ultimately by the time that thirteen senior executives bought the company and started to develop “the Softer Management Style”. Driven by the “together we can make it” idea they started to implement a real change in style, from a traditional top – down driven Personal Management (PM) strategy to a co -operational Human Resource Management (HRM) strategy.

This idea of a new management style was the influencing factor to form a creative and sustaining environment in which everybody worked together toward achievement of common goals, because they wanted to. This was supported by the introduction of the nine “musts” (appendix 1).

A whole restructuring process was necessary, on the one hand on managers side because the co - operational leadership style was asking for much more leadership competence and a total different focus in selecting and managing staff. And on the other hand also on employee side a rethinking process needed to take place, from the executing and obedient behaviour of the past to a more self responsible and collaborative approach in the future. This whole would imply that management and employees transform from a Theory X to a Theory Y approach within their relationship (McGregor 1960).

Picture 1 - X and Y Theory (

The new management style required the employees and managers to acquire additional skills on top their respective functional skills in order to function appropriately in the new environment. The company set up training and development programs to actively support their employees in building up these skills quickly. Next to the mentioned development activities the transformation was further supported by the recruitment of qualified employees and by rewarding them with an attractive salary/benefit package.

Even if this looks like a minor change, the impact on the overall company was huge. The workers started to feel responsible for “their” company, bikes and colleagues. This change in culture was a planned and strategic HRM campaign and the key to survive for the whole company. This achievement was only possible because of the tremendous managerial creativity and willingness to change. Additionally also the collaboration within the management team is an important factor...
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