Harley-Davidson Organizational Structure

  • Harley-Davidson utilizes a functional organizational structure that separates aspects of its sales and manufacturing business into distinct groups. These groups include Financial Services, Motorcycle Management, Marketing, Digital, and Electric Vehicles.
  • Harley-Davidson is also structured around four key geographic divisions: Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), North America, Asia Pacific, and Latin America.
  • The company is also characterized by a centralized, global hierarchy. Control and decision-making power are concentrated at company headquarters in Milwaukee, with each functional and divisional head reporting directly to current CEO Jochen Zeitz.

Introduction

Harley-Davidson is a motorcycle manufacturer that was founded in 1903 by William S. Harley, Arthur Davidson, Walter Davidson, and William A. Davidson.

The company, which is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was one of only two motorcycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depression in the United States. Today, the Harley-Davidson brand boasts a loyal and devoted following with a broad range of merchandise supporting its core motorcycle range.

Harley-Davidson utilizes a functional organizational structure that separates aspects of its sales and manufacturing business into distinct groups. This structure and some additional components are explained in the following sections.

Functional groups

Functional groups are the predominant structure in the Harley-Davidson company. Employees are organized according to their particular skills and knowledge with each group having its own vertical management structure.

Harley-Davidson’s functional departments include:

  • Financial Services.
  • Legal.
  • Commercial.
  • Human Resources.
  • Digital.
  • Electric Vehicles.
  • Product Development and Operations.
  • Apparel and Licensing.
  • Motorcycle Management.
  • Stakeholder Management.
  • Marketing.
  • Chief Executive Officer, and
  • Communications and Corporate Relations.

As a company that sells just a few different types of products, the functional organizational structure is seen as an advantage. Employees who are categorized according to their expertise can contribute to the depth of knowledge within Harley-Davidson that allows it to be an industry leader in motorcycles.

Geographic divisions

Harley-Davidson also focuses its efforts across four geographic divisions:

  1. Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).
  2. North America.
  3. Asia Pacific, and
  4. Latin America.

Each division is headed by a Vice President or Director.

Centralization and global hierarchy

Harley-Davidson’s structure is also centralized since control over global operations is maintained by company headquarters in the United States. Centralization also means that each functional group and divisional head reports directly to the current Chairman, President, and CEO Jochen Zeitz. There is also a 10-member Board of Directors with experience at previous companies such as Boeing, Ford, MTV, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The predominant functional structure also contributes to centralization by providing a clear and consistent chain of command. Since employees are not confused about who they should report to, operational efficiency is improved. 

Many companies may find centralization cumbersome when trying to manage global operations. But for Harley-Davidson, it appears to be less of an issue since most sales occur in the United States. In 2021, for example, the company sold 134,400 motorcycles in the North American Market – representing almost 70% of the global total.

Read Also: What Is A Brand Essence.

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eBay Organizational Structure

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Sony Organizational Structure

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Facebook Organizational Structure

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Facebook is characterized by a multi-faceted matrix organizational structure. The company utilizes a flat organizational structure in combination with corporate function-based teams and product-based or geographic divisions. The flat organization structure is organized around the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg, and the key executives around him. On the other hand, the function-based teams based on the main corporate functions (like HR, product management, investor relations, and so on).

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Google (Alphabet) has a cross-functional (team-based) organizational structure known as a matrix structure with some degree of flatness. Over the years, as the company scaled and it became a tech giant, its organizational structure is morphing more into a centralized organization.

Tesla Organizational Structure

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Tesla is characterized by a functional organizational structure with aspects of a hierarchical structure. Tesla does employ functional centers that cover all business activities, including finance, sales, marketing, technology, engineering, design, and the offices of the CEO and chairperson. Tesla’s headquarters in Austin, Texas, decide the strategic direction of the company, with international operations given little autonomy.

McDonald’s Organizational Structure

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McDonald’s has a divisional organizational structure where each division – based on geographical location – is assigned operational responsibilities and strategic objectives. The main geographical divisions are the US, internationally operated markets, and international developmental licensed markets. And on the other hand, the hierarchical leadership structure is organized around regional and functional divisions.

Walmart Organizational Structure

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Walmart has a hybrid hierarchical-functional organizational structure, otherwise referred to as a matrix structure that combines multiple approaches. On the one hand, Walmart follows a hierarchical structure, where the current CEO Doug McMillon is the only employee without a direct superior, and directives are sent from top-level management. On the other hand, the function-based structure of Walmart is used to categorize employees according to their particular skills and experience.

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