Boyden Executive Search

European OEMs lag behind the United States in aligning their organizational culture with a software-led future. Internal cultures must evolve to reward, recognize and support digital transformation.

By Jutta Menzenbach

Boyden’s global automotive team has released results from our latest research among OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies in Europe and the United States. Findings show that while the industry is evolving from hardware-led, to converged or software-led, there is a distinct mismatch in organisational culture across the industry.

Half of European OEMs, 70 percent of European Tier 2s and over 60 percent of United States Tier 1s are struggling with aligning their culture to the future structure of the industry.

OEMs in the United States are well ahead, with 100 percent of respondents seeing cultural alignment in their organisation with a converged of software-led industry.

Why are European OEMs struggling so much?

“I find auto OEMs know they need to change, but the culture and organisation doesn’t fully reward, recognise and support digital transformation,” says the leader of Digital Services at an OEM in Germany.

Rewarding, recognising and supporting digital transformation needs a very different culture than the culture of the hardware-led past. OEMs in the US are benefitting from an environment where digital transformation, innovation and learning from failure have been the norm for decades.

One of the participants in our research, the Managing Director of an OEM with experience in Asia, counsels that, “’Un-learn’ is most important. Almost all veterans in this industry make noise solely about change. But we need to ‘un-learn’, and study new innovative ideas”.

What do we hear about culture when we are out in the market?

To request a presentation for your company or an informal chat, please contact me via email at

Our research, ‘Growth Mindset in Automotive: Leadership in Disruptive Times’ captured data from nearly 90 Chairmen, CEOs and MDs at OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies in Europe and the United States.

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