The Effects of the Transition on the Bavarian Automotive Suppliers

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Brussels (2024)


This contribution identifies challenges faced by Bavarian automotive suppliers undergoing a transition process to pinpoint areas for leadership development. The automotive industry is experiencing high pressure for change due to trends and drivers such as decarbonization, demographic shifts, increased environmental awareness, and technological and digital changes affecting businesses (see Hoch et al. 2023; Berger & Gensler forthcoming). At the same time, new opportunities are emerging for these businesses, particularly in electrification, autonomous driving, connected mobility, connected production, digitization, materials, sustainability, and new business fields (see Kempermann 2021; Herrmann et al. 2023; Pfeiffer and authors' collective 2023).
Bavarian automotive supplier aiming to leverage these opportunity fields establish new technologies and workflows. The associated changes pose diverse challenges for these companies.
Therefore, this article addresses the following research questions:
• What challenges do Bavarian automotive suppliers face in seizing new opportunities?
• How do Bavarian automotive suppliers deal with these challenges?
In order to answer these research questions, interviews were conducted with experts at eight major automotive suppliers. Interviewees included CEOs, management, human resources, and training management, among others. Data collection was carried out as part of the project funded by the "Transformation Strategies for Regions of the Vehicle and Supplier Industry" program of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), which examines the transition processes of the Bavarian automotive industry. The methodology of Qualitative Content Analysis by Mayring (2015) is applied to identify mechanisms of change management in these companies. The analysis aims to understand how trends and drivers influence the exploration of new opportunities.
The results show that skilled labor shortages, inflexibility due to rigid organizational structures, globalization, international competition, and new legal regulations force Bavarian automotive suppliers to initiate comprehensive transition processes. As a result, they primarily take part in electrification, digitization, and automation as fields of opportunities, which poses particular challenges for the corporate culture, communication and work organization.

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