Shuba Srinivasan Comments on GM Crisis in Financial Times

in Faculty, Faculty in the News, News
March 26th, 2014

General Motors and Malaysia Airlines both find themselves in the midst of a corporate crisis. Mary Barra, GM’s recently appointed chief executive, is faced with a dozen accident victims from faulty compact cars, whileShuba_Srinivasan_Marketing_186x240 Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, chief executive of Malaysia Airlines, handles the 239 presumed victims of missing flight MH370. Responding to the death of customers is no simple task, but Ms. Barra is giving Mr. Ahmad a lesson in crisis control, writes John Gapper in the Financial Times.

As Mr. Ahmad and the Malaysian government scrambled to get their story straight and declare who was in charge, Ms. Barra stepped up and took personal responsibility, admitting that GM was to blame for the ignition flaw. Ms. Barra is at an advantage, Gapper says, because she has certainty—the GM deaths had a clear cause—but her response illustrates an “evident gulf in personality and skill” between the two CEOs.

Unlike Mr. Ahmad, Ms. Barra wasted no time in taking the lead. She took control before the public could tell the story, which Shuba Srinivasan, professor of marketing at Boston University School of Management, says was the key to GM’s effective reaction.

“If you do not communicate clearly and often, someone else will do it for you,” Srinivasan tells Gapper. “By taking a personal stand, she changed the narrative from the product recall to how she was handling it.”

Read the full piece here.