Leadership Profile Part II Harley Davidson



Industry and Organization Description

Since its modest beginnings in 1903, Harley-Davidson (H-D) has provided customers with quality customizable motorcycles. The company’s vision and mission is to “Fulfill dreams of personal freedom”. For the adventure seeker, Harley-Davidson Motor Company custom creates cruisers and touring motorcycles. They also excel at organizing events to add to the riding experience. In addition to motorcycles, Harley-Davidson boasts a complete line of motorcycle accessories, riding gear and clothes, and even financial services. Harley-Davidson’s financial services offer insurance, extended warranty and service protection plans, retail financing, and even credit card programs. The Harley-Davidson company offers its services and products to customers and dealers all throughout the U.S., Canada and some other international markets.

Current Leadership Structure

Harley Davidson is one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world. The company is also one of the most recognizable brands that displays the names of the founders. The name itself is a household name and is a favorite among riders all over the world. Before those motorcycles could cruise right into the hearts of consumers, a major leadership change took place. In the late eighties, Harley Davidson encountered a big financial loss and old habits of traditional command and control leadership took over. Many employees carried out tasks from higher ups and were unhappy with most of the decisions that were made. When the financial turn picked up in the mid nineties, the collaborative environment seemed to take over. The leadership worked with the employees of Harley Davidson and helped to create some of the most beautiful machines on the market. The morale of the employees soared as well as the profits for the organization. “Our leadership is more like an open door where our ideas get shared among higher ups and stakeholders. This pleases us and allows us to take Harley Davidson to new heights.” (Toland, 2016)


Choosing a Company

Established early in the twenty century, H-D weathered four major wars (World Wars I & II, Vietnam War, Korean War, etc.), the Great Depression, capitalized on globalization, and under many transformations to remain ahead of competition.  This feat can be attributed to the recruitment and development of leaders that are visionary, resourceful, and strategic.  An example, according to “Harley-Davidson, Inc. History” (1999) “the enterprise created a just-in-time inventory control called MAN–Material As Needed, based on Toyota Motor Corporation’s Toyota Production System” (Problems and Corrective Measures: The 1970s and 1980s).  This system revolutionized H-D’s inventory control and enable the entity to reduce cost and increase profits.




Harley Davidson, Inc. (2001-2016). Retrieved from http://investor.harley-



Toland, J. (2016, October 1). Personal Interview.