Harley-Davidson’s Organizational Culture Characteristics: An Analysis

Harley-Davidson Inc. organizational culture characteristics motorcycles case study and analysis
A Harley-Davidson V-Rod Destroyer. Harley-Davidson’s organizational culture has features that strongly match the custom/chopper biker culture in the U.S. market. (Photo: Public Domain)

Harley-Davidson’s organizational culture is directly linked to the chopper biker culture. The organizational culture specifies the traditions, habits and values that influence employees’ behaviors and managerial decisions. As one of the top players in the global motorcycle market, Harley-Davidson maintains an organizational culture that supports the company’s industry position. In addition, this corporate culture strengthens the company’s customer base of bikers loyal to the brand and the chopper biker culture. As such, the organization and the chopper biker culture benefit from Harley-Davidson’s organizational culture.

The custom chopper biker culture permeates Harley-Davidson to define the company’s organizational culture. This culture supports the business and its position in the motorcycle market.

Features of Harley-Davidson’s Organizational Culture

Harley-Davidson’s organizational culture is similar to the chopper biker culture in the motorcycle market. This situation benefits the company in maintaining a large population of loyal customers. The following are the most significant characteristics of Harley-Davidson’s organizational culture:

  1. Bold rebellious attitude
  2. Customer-centrism
  3. Harley-Davidson’s business values
  4. Leadership development

Bold Rebellious Attitude. This characteristic of Harley-Davidson’s organizational culture directly relates to the custom chopper biker culture in the market, especially in the United States. People in the custom chopper biker culture are typically seen as bold and rebellious. Harley-Davidson is strongly associated with this culture.

Customer-Centrism. Harley-Davidson’s organizational culture emphasizes consideration for customers’ preferences and expectations. For instance, the company develops its designs based on current and emerging customer preferences for custom/chopper motorcycles. Through this feature of the organizational culture, Harley-Davidson ensures customer satisfaction.

Harley-Davidson’s Business Values. To guide employees and managerial decisions, Harley-Davidson promotes suitable values through its organizational culture. For example, the company’s notable values are integrity, accountability, diversity, teamwork and creativity. This characteristic of Harley-Davidson’s organizational culture supports business ethics, while minimizing problems in the long term.

Leadership Development. Harley-Davidson promotes sustainability through leadership in its organizational culture. For instance, the company facilitates sustainability leadership development throughout the organization. This condition improves Harley-Davidson’s human resource management for continuous leadership from within the organization.

Harley-Davidson’s Organizational Culture: Advantages & Disadvantages

An advantage of Harley-Davidson’s organizational culture is its support for a strong match between the company’s activities and customers’ lifestyles and preferences. Also, the firm ensures continuous leadership through its internal leadership development efforts. However, a disadvantage is that customer-centrism requires Harley-Davidson’s organizational culture to change according to changes in customers’ lifestyles and changes in the custom/chopper biker culture.

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