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其他公司能从三菱油耗造假丑闻中学到什么

W Rocky Newman 2016年05月11日

企业都要理解组织文化的重要性。允许众多决策来削弱消费者的信任未必是文化薄弱的迹象,这也可能代表了强大但方向有误的文化。

汽车行业又落下了一枚重磅炸弹——三菱汽车上周承认,25年来该公司一直在编造本土生产车辆的燃油效率数据。去年大众爆出了“排放门”,2014年丰田就“踏板门”做出了赔偿,高田公司安全气囊缺陷引发的召回还在进行之中。证据表明,这些事件中都有一些人做出了不道德行为,知情者则更多,而且这些行为得到了默许,甚至可能是明确的认可。由此折射出的文化是,员工可以为了竞争力而不惜采取任何行动或者发表任何言论,就算这会打碎消费者的信心。然而,失去了消费者的信任后,销售必然会直接受到冲击。

1991年,面对拥挤的交通和停停走走的城市行车状况,日本监管部门改变了衡量油耗的方法。三菱却未按照新标准调整检测措施。从那时起,该公司估算的燃油效率都一直偏高。受影响车辆的总数很难确定,但看来包括62.5万辆近期开发的小型轿车(Dayz和Dayz Roox),其中大多数都是三菱为日产制造的贴牌车。

三菱表示油耗方面的错误并非故意,但外界很可能对此置若罔闻。很难想象该公司在这么长时间里能一直避开合规检查,特别是在福特等其他汽车厂商在此期间都遭到过类似投诉的情况下。实际上,三菱在过去五年中曾五次上调Dayz的油耗目标,总的提升幅度超过10%。简而言之,就算是无意而为,三菱也该发现这个问题了。

全面内部审查即将展开。丰田和日产的汽车销售受到了冲击。三菱首席执行官和首席运营官据说都准备辞职。股价几乎腰斩。现在,美国环保署正在调查三菱是否也在美国说了谎。

那么,这对三菱的未来意味着什么呢?它还能复苏吗?三菱首先需要认识到,消费者、投资者和供应链合作伙伴(特别是日产)已经不再信任它,证据就是该公司市值的直线下坠。

成熟的消费者把信心定义为对某种不可见事物的信任或认可。他们相信,安全气囊的作用是在事故中挽救他们的生命,绝不会因为发生器生锈而喷出金属碎片,因为制造商知道这可能让他们受伤甚至丧命。当他们为了升级为“清洁柴油车”而多付一笔钱的时候,他们相信厂商的话,也就是油耗又低,有害气体排放又少。当他们购买新车时,他们相信汽车只会在他们想加速时才加速。但在上述这些案例中,消费者都信错了人,这些问题也都直接影响到了销售。

不光是汽车制造商,企业都要理解组织文化的重要性。允许众多决策来削弱消费者的信任未必是文化薄弱的迹象,这也可能代表了强大但方向有误的文化。文化凌驾于策略之上。他们需要对此予以纠正。

许多人都说,是竞争压力或过度监管带来的负担让企业文化变成了这样。然而,消费者给予信任的程度以及他们在信错了人之后原谅对方的速度也可能促成这种局面。从多个角度来说,相信看似可信的东西容易,忘记不可信的东西则较难。

在处理冷战遗留问题方面,美国前总统罗纳德•里根有句话很出名,叫做“doveryai no proveryai”。这是一句俄罗斯谚语,意思是信任,但要检验。今后,对于需要检验而且要有措施来保障检验的情况,消费者和监管部门都需要进行反思。同时,消费者还要决定把信任交给谁。这就是竞争和自由市场的伟大之处。辜负信任的一方则可以通过更好的产品、服务以及对社会负责的经营举措重新赢得信任。回过头来看,里根是对的。“谁人”乐队也希望如此,因为他们曾唱道:“我们不会再被愚弄。”(财富中文网)

洛基•纽曼是俄亥俄州迈阿密大学牛津分校法默商学院教授。

译者:Charlie

审校:詹妮

Another auto industry bombshell was dropped when Mitsubishi admitted last week that it had fudged fuel efficiency estimates on cars it had produced in Japan for the last 25 years. This comes after VW’s VLKAY -2.71% emissions scandal last year, Toyota’s settlements in 2014, and ongoing Takata TKTDY 3.13% airbag recalls. In all of these cases, evidence suggests that less-than-ethical steps were taken by multiple people with even broader knowledge and implicit—if not explicit—acceptance. This suggests a culture that allows employees to do or say whatever it takes to be competitive—even if it breaks faith with the consumer. But when consumers lose faith, it’s bound to directly impact sales.

In 1991, regulators in Japan changed the way in which they measured mileage in the kind of urban, stop-and-go traffic consistent with driving in a crowded Japan, and Mitsubishi essentially failed to update its process to the new measurement standards. It’s been overestimating mileage projections ever since. The total number of cars affected will be difficult to determine, but it appears to be 625,000 recently developed small cars (Dayz and Dayz Roox), most of those made by Mitsubishi for Nissan NSANY -0.34% .

Mitsubishi’s claims that the fuel efficiency errors were not intentional will likely fall on deaf ears. It is hard to imagine that the automaker could avoid compliance checks for so long, especially given that similar claims have been lodged against other carmakers, like Ford, during the same time period. In fact, Mitsubishi actually raised the mileage targets for the Dayz five times, totaling more than 10%, over the last five years. In short, if it didn’t know, it should have.

A full internal audit is coming. Toyota TM -1.00% and Nissan car sales are taking a hit. Mitsubishi’s CEO and COO are said to be in the process of resigning. Stock prices are down almost half. Now the EPA is looking at whether the automaker cheated in the U.S., too.

So looking ahead, what does this mean for Mitsubishi MMTOF -4.94% ? Can it bounce back? The company first needs to recognize that it has lost the trust of customers, investors, and supply-chain partners (especially Nissan), evident by the devastating drop in market capitalization.

Consumers grow up defining faith as trust in or acceptance of something that can’t be seen. They take it on faith that an airbag designed to save them in an accident won’t have a rusting source of shrapnel that the manufacturer knew could hurt or kill them. When they pay a premium to upgrade to a “clean diesel,” they trust the manufacture’s claims that great mileage can be had with low emissions as well. When they buy a new car, they have faith that acceleration will only occur when they intend it to. But in all of these cases, their faith was misplaced, and it directly impacted sales.

Companies—not just automakers—need to understand the significance of organizational culture. Allowing decisions that undermine consumer trust to proliferate is not necessarily a sign of a weak culture, but of strong—yet misguided—culture. Culture trumps strategy. They need to get it right.

Many claim the pressure to compete or the burden of overregulation drives company cultures to this point. However, it could be enabled by how much consumers assume on faith and how quickly they forgive when that trust is misplaced. In many ways, it’s easier to trust what seems credible than to forget about what isn’t.

When former president Ronald Reagan was dealing with the dismantling of the Cold War, he famously used an old Russian proverb, “doveryai no proveryai,” which means trust, but verify. Looking forward, consumers and regulators alike need to rethink circumstances that warrant verification and processes for ensuring it. But consumers get to choose where to place the faith. That’s the great thing about competition and a free market. Those who break the faith can earn it back with better products, services, and socially responsible business practices. In hindsight, Reagan was right. Hopefully so was rock band The Who, when they sang, “We won’t be fooled again.”

Rocky Newman is a professor of Miami University’s Farmer School of Business in Oxford, Ohio.

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