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Sample Essay Paper on Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company

Ford is an American automaker with an international market. Founded by industrialist and business magnate Henry Ford early in the 20th century, Ford is one of the largest automakers worldwide. In 2019, the community of its employees in its international operations numbered about 190,000 (US SEC, 2019). This paper analyzes Ford's management of employee/labor relations in its operations from the management and employees' perspectives. The analysis finds that while the Ford management is highly confident of the effectiveness of labor relations in its operations, employees are uncertain about the adequacy of the relations, particularly citing long working hours, poor communications, and work-life balance as problem areas.

Ford is a Michigan-based global company that designs, manufactures, markets, and services a broad range of vehicles - trucks, electric vehicles, cars, sport utility vehicles, and luxury cars under the Ford and Lincoln brands. It also offers financial services through its subsidiary, the Ford Motor Credit Company, and engages in positions of influence within the broader automobile industry (US SEC, 2019). This assessment implies that Ford is a huge standalone enterprise, rather than a part of a larger organization. In 2019, the company had a huge community of 190,000 employees serving in different positions across its Ford and Lincoln brands. It sold 5.3m vehicles across the world (US SEC, 2019). Labor plays a critical role in Ford’s operations. Employees represent a key asset in the processes of designing, manufacturing, marketing, and servicing the company’s vehicles in markets around the world. They provide the skills and efforts necessary for these processes at different levels of operations - management, supervision, project management, and actual daily activities.

Ford's employees come from diverse backgrounds, especially considering that the company runs manufacturing operations in different parts of the world - North America, Europe, Asia, South Korea, South America, and Africa. Dike (2013) notes that the diversity of employees in Ford's operations across the world is a key strength in creating various products and the company's success. Ford has been a leader in workplace inclusion and diversity, which are a part of its business strategy. The company has sought to ensure that its workforce reflects the communities in which it does business. It employs people of different ethnicities, ages, gender, races, and ability backgrounds (Dike, 2013). Comparably, a platform that offers data about the cultures of different organizations notes that Ford is in the top 25% of firms in the U.S. with over 10,000 employees in terms of diversity scores. The firm scores 72/100 across different culture categories in terms of the diversity of its employees (Comparably, 2020). Comparably (2020) notes that Ford is among companies that have demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the management of diversity and differences in people. While technology has an important role in the automation of operations at Ford, thereby saving costs, labor still has a critical role in production, particularly in complementing the roles of technology and in the areas of control, oversight, and maintenance of the technology, product design, communications, management, and supervision.

From the perspective of Ford management, labor relations are of high quality and meet expected standards. The management believes that it has taken the necessary steps to ensure that its workforce reflects the communities in which it operates. The management has recruited employees in different parts of the world in which it has established operations, including Africa, Asia, North and South America, and Europe. The management has maintained a long-term model of managing diversity in its operations, treating diversity as a critical part of its strength in the creation of products that meet different tastes and needs in the market. Dike (2013) notes that the management at Ford has incorporated five strategies in its labor relations to ensure the comfort, productivity, and motivation of its employees:

§  Diversity: Employing people from different parts of the world and being an equal-opportunity employer irrespective of age, ethnicity, gender, ability, religion, race, and other backgrounds. The management could draw satisfaction from the fact that Ford has scored highly in evaluations of its employees' diversity. As discussed earlier, platforms, such as Comparably, have placed Ford in the top 25% of big American firms in terms of the diversity of their employees.

§  Inclusive and respectful work environment: The Ford management is confident about the inclusivity and respectfulness of its work environment. The management believes that it has created a work environment in which all employees participate in decision-making processes and share their opinions openly. Ford believes that its workplace is respectful of the cultures and personalities of individual employees.

§  Leading the way: The management believes that its workplace is a leader among reputable companies in terms of the diversity and productivity of its employees and teams.

Work-life balance: The management believes that it has established and maintains structures that promote an adequate balance between the work and the lives of employees. It believes that the Ford workplace and its structures support the capacities of employees to make choices and exercise control over challenges in their lives to meet their goals effectively. The management believes that it has modeled its workplace in a way that supports the abilities of employees to combine their personal lives with their work lives, and hence feel highly motivated to work efficiently and productively.

The Ford management has further developed various management tools aimed at promoting diversity, which it believes serve to improve labor relations and promote employee productivity. These management tools involve meeting and outreach groups that educate employees, address diversity challenges, and guide and support employees in performances of their daily tasks both at work and in their personal lives. These groups include (Ford, 2020; Dike, 2013):

§  Ford Empowering Diverse Abilities: FEDA demonstrates Ford’s ongoing commitment to employees with disabilities and offers networking and information resources for employees with disabilities.

§  Employee Resource Group: ERG is a corporate-sponsored resource group for employees to provide a support network and contribute to the professional development of employees.

§  Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Employees (GLOBE): This group supports Ford’s policy of equal employment opportunity, offering support, and networking resources for the freedom of choice among employees with diverse sexual orientations.

§  Interfaith Network (FIN): This group aims to promote religious tolerance, peace, understanding, and dignity for all.

§  Ford Employees African Ancestry Network (FAAN), Ford Asian Indian Association, Ford Hispanic Network (FHN), Ford Chinese Association (FCA), and others: These groups focus on the empowerment of employees from particular backgrounds through resource and networking support. They also focus on laying the foundations for and promoting the employment and retention of employees from these backgrounds in the Ford working place.

Ford is confident in the value and effectiveness of these initiatives in promoting the quality of its labor relations. The management believes that these initiatives are important tools in showing and entrenching its commitment to the inclusivity and openness of its workplace and the productivity, contributions, motivation, and self-actualization of its employees.

While Ford management is highly confident of the effectiveness of labor relations in its workplace and operations, employees do not seem to match this level of confidence. The best way to gauge the experiences and views of Ford employees about the effectiveness of labor relations in the company is to assess their submissions and reviews on independent online platforms. These include platforms on which the employees can appraise issues, such as working conditions, pay levels, wages, working hours, and other areas of employer-employee relationships anonymously or using pseudonyms. Some website platforms where former and current employees could review labor relations in their workplaces are Glassdoor, Indeed, and Niche. The reviews of Ford employees on these platforms demonstrate a significant discrepancy between the management’s and labor’s perceptions of the effectiveness of labor relations at Ford. At glassdoor.com, reviews about work-life balance among employees yield 250 positive reviews about work culture and environment, 171 positive reviews referring to pay, people, and room for growth, and 170 negative reviews citing long hours of work. An employee who reports working for more than eight years at the firm cites job security, pay, benefits, and overtime as pros and lack of communication and work-life balance as cons (Glassdoor.com, 2020). Several other employees cite work-life balance as a problem at Ford. A similar theme of good pay versus poor work-life balance (particularly long working hours) is evident in employee reviews at Indeed.com (2020). These findings show a lack of certainty about the effectiveness of labor relations at Ford from the perspective of employees.

Autoworkers unions have influenced the management-employees relationship at Ford by insisting on the need to improve the pay and working conditions of employees through the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement. The United Auto Workers Union, with the support of about three-fifths of Ford’s employees, developed a deal requiring Ford to invest more than $6b in its U.S. manufacturing operations (including a deal to create and retain jobs for employees), and provide a $9,000 signing bonus and raise hourly wages to $32.32 by 2023 for employees (Wayland, 2019; Industry Week, 2019). The union's success is significant, considering that Ford's leadership has previously resisted engagements with workers' unions. Towards the future, the union and employees could focus on improving the working conditions at Ford further to fit employees’ needs, particularly in the areas of work-life-balance, long working hours, and communications.

This analysis illustrates that a significant discrepancy exists between the Ford management’s and employees’ perceptions of the effectiveness of labor relations at the firm. While the management believes in the adequacy and effectiveness of the culture, structures, and tools that it has enforced to support employees’ inclusivity, comfort, productivity, motivation, and other aspects of their work, employees are unsure about the adequacy and quality of the labor relationship. Employees' concerns are especially significant in communication, long working hours, and work-life balance.

References

“Company reviews: Ford Motor Company” (2020). Glassdoor.com. Retrieved from: https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Ford-Motor-Company-work-life-balance-Reviews-EI_IE263.0,18_KH19,36.htm

“Diversity at Ford Motor Company” (2020). Comparably.com. Retrieved from: https://www.comparably.com/companies/ford-motor-company/diversity

“Ford workers embracing new union contract as deadline nears” (2019, November 12). Industry Week. Retrieved from: https://www.industryweek.com/talent/article/22028577/ford-workers-embracing-new-union-contract-as-deadline-nears

“Ford: Reviews” (2020). Indeed.com. Retrieved from: https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Ford-Motor-Company/reviews?ftopic=wlbalance

Dike, P. (2013). The impact of workplace diversity on organizations. Arcada. Retrieved from: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/38093915.pdf

Ford Motor Company (2020). Ford Motor Company website. Retrieved from: https://www.ford.com/

United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC) (2019). Form 10-K, Ford Motor Company. US SEC. Retrieved from: https://s22.q4cdn.com/857684434/files/doc_financials/2019/q4/Ford-2019-10-K-Report.pdf

Wayland, M. (2019, November 15). United auto workers union approves new labor deal with Ford. CNBC News. Retrieved from: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/15/united-auto-workers-union-approves-new-labor-deal-with-ford.htm

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