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Automotive Culture: Improving or Downward Spiraling?

By Kiara Thomas
CEO, Quality Resolution Systems

This post is part of the MICHauto Summit series, a collection of articles aimed to shed light on the evolving culture and careers in the automotive and mobility industries. This post is the view of the writer and does not reflect the views of MICHauto or the Detroit Regional Chamber. Learn more and register for the Summit today.

Our culture. It’s the definition of the legacy from the past, our present existence, and what we promote for the future.  When we leave, our culture is the essence of our work that is left behind.

There are many people whose families have generations of auto workers. From corporate positions to manufacturing associates, salary to hourly workers, non-union to union workers, the one commonality is the culture. Despite a person’s position in the automotive industry, culture is the one consistent thing. Yet, the principles of how to conduct yourself as an employee of any company in the automotive industry – be it OEM or supplier – is very discombobulated.

The culture must evolve in line with the technology that we see grow every day. Things like “shop talk” and doing whatever it takes just to move up the corporate chain while risking the consumer to cut costs must become a thing of the past. Some companies use legal jargon and loopholes to get themselves out of the “finger-pointing” zone, but where does it end? Why are these bad practices continuously & knowingly filtered throughout such a prominent industry?

Many associates, managers and executives in the automotive industry do interviews, write blogs and books about being aware of the misshaped mentality of individuals working in the automotive industry, but that must be turned into action. Rather than simply stating the changes that need to happen, these high-level executives need to enact them.

There are companies and individuals that strive to make changes to today’s culture, but it will only work if automotive companies are receptive to the necessity to make some very important changes. Changes starts with awareness. Be realistically aware of the current culture, and make strides to improve in areas that are not cultivating development.

Kiara Thomas is CEO of Quality Resolution Systems and has seven years of experience in the automotive industry.