Abbiamo chiesto a Mr. Yaprak, professore di Marketing and International Business alla Wayne University di Detroit – USA, di darci la sua opinione sul caso FIAT, in particolare dal punto di vista organizzativo.
Di seguito il testo dell’intervista.

1.    Sergio Marchionne (Fiat’s CEO) has recently suggested that Fiat could well relocate its headquarters and some of its manufacturing to the US. How might this affect Fiat’s ability to operate as a global player in the future?
Placing Fiat’s headquarters in the US (presumably in the Detroit metropolitan area) would place Fiat at the epicenter of the world’s auto industry. This will allow it to sense market and industry trends much more quickly than it is now able to do. It would also give Fiat the opportunity to build relationships with the other major auto industry players, especially in terms of the North American sphere of the auto industry. Major organizational learning benefits would accrue to Fiat as a result of this, presumably raising Fiat’s ability to operate much more effectively as a global player in the future.
Benefits that will accrue to Fiat from relocating its manufacturing to the US are not as clear, however. While I believe that US manufacturing workers deliver, in general, greater value when compared to their counterparts in the other parts of the world, their knowledge-based advantage has been eroding steadily during the past decade or so while their wages have kept pace at their previous levels. Thus, US manufacturing workers continue to be more expensive for the value they deliver (from a per-hour-productivity perspective) when compared to their developing country counterparts. This, of course, is also true for the comparison between European (especially German) manufacturing workers vs manufacturing workers in the emerging market countries. This is why manufacturing work has been shifting from the developed, industrialized countries, such as the United Statesand Germany, to the so-called emerging markets, such as Chinaand India, and even to the developing countries, such as Egyptand Vietnam.
2.    After significant changes to its manufacturing and corporate strategies Fiat has bounced back from the financial turmoil the group found itself in a couple of years ago. What does this type of managerial thinking tell us about companies like Fiat and how will Fiat’s renaissance change the way in which other multinational national companies do business?
Financial and managerial difficulties are cyclical in business, and all businesses experience these to one degree or another at one time or another. These difficulties are primarily a function of unexpected changes in the environment, sometimes a result of technological or market-based turbulence. Pulling out of these difficulties requires, first and foremost, foresight, courage, and commitment on the part of the leadership of the company. Wise allocation of resources, faster learning, passionate investment into innovation and talented people, and determined attention to continuous improvement based on market feedback are also important ingredients of a renaissance. Other MNCs can learn from the rebirth of Fiat and others who have lived through these by planning for unexpected changes in their environment (for instance, through scenario building and analysis), and framing into place alternative coping mechanisms to help them revive themselves when they are faced with these difficulties.
3.    Other than becoming more profitable, how might Fiat benefit from merging or acquiring other companies? Will the experience change Fiat’s current practices?
Companies merge with, acquire, or partner with other firms to access, internalize, and appropriate resources they do not possess or buy as inexpensively in the open market. The most valuable resources today are competencies (ie, faster learning, faster innovation, faster to market, more capable market responsiveness, and so on), and skills (ie, visionary leadership, greater managerial talent in decision-making (capable leadership?), more market-responsive innovation, greater insight in market-sensing, and so forth). The faster Fiat is able to internalize and appropriate competencies and skills such as these, the more capable it will become in upgrading its operational and managerial practices. In the longer term, these new organizational habits will norm into more productive resources and will breed increased productivity and performance in many more dimensions of business than profitability.