Case Study: Ford Pinto

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Case study: Ford Pinto The actions of the Ford Motor Company during the manufacturing of its infamous Pinto vehicle are an illustration of how a negative organizational culture can impede clear thinking, even amongst highly-accomplished executives. Ford wished to create a vehicle that was inexpensive for consumers, but early tests of the Pinto showed that the Pinto had a tendency to 'blow up' upon rear impact. Redesigning the vehicle would mean a long and costly delay, and Ford did not think it could afford the time or money to go 'back to the drawing board.' It was already losing market share to smaller, foreign cars and needed the Pinto to fill that market niche. An inexpensive plastic baffle could prevent the combustion, but because of the additional cost to the asking price of what was supposed to be an inexpensive vehicle, Ford elected not to put the safety modification into place. Ford wanted the price of the Pinto to be below $2,000 and the vehicle to be less than 2,000 pounds in weight. Fulfilling these benchmarks of profitability for the organization was deemed to be more important than showing concern for customers' lives. The organizational culture at Ford created a sense of tunnel vision, focusing only on numerical goals and figures, rather than encouraged executives to think about the human lives behind the numbers. Apparently, dissent from the 'party line' was not tolerated or encouraged, since no one seemed to strenuously object amongst Ford's upper-level

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