Mendoza School of Business

GM’s balancing act—Showing compassion and toughness

Published: March 21, 2014 / Author: Philip LeBeau

General Motors’ new chief executive officer is walking a fine line.

Ever since “Switchgate” morphed from a costly and embarrassing recall into a full-blown scandal, Mary Barra has been on the spot, seeking a balance between empathy and toughness.

On one hand, she has to show compassion for the families of the 12 people killed in defective GM cars.

On the other, she has to convince the public that the automaker will figure out exactly what went wrong, why it happened, and assure them the problems won’t be repeated.

“This is a tricky situation for Mary Barra,” said Kaitlin Wowak, a University of Notre Dame business professor who recently won a research award for a study on product recalls. “She doesn’t want to come off as a cold-hearted CEO, but she also has to appear sincere.”

This article also appeared on NBC News.  To read the entire article visit: GM’s balancing act—Showing compassion and toughness


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