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Strategic Leadership - - Case Study Example

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Why did the ARC (architecture, routines, and culture) of 3M under McKnight support innovation? ARC Key Feature Architecture Loosely coupled units as characterized by 3M’s institutionalization of the “grow and divide” philosophy (Bartlett & Mohammed 6)…
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Download file to see previous pages Routines Creation of the Central Research Laboratory enabled 3M to learn outside its defined domain by looking on opportunities generated by both external demand and internal capacity (Bartlett & Mohammed 3). Substantial organizational slack manifested through the policy encouraging researchers to spend up to 15% of their time pursuing projects of interest to them (Bartlett & Mohammed 4). Identifying and developing innovations arising from projects even when no large market potential was evident (Bartlett & Mohammed 4) Continued organic growth and spurning off of new groups, divisions and products strengthened 3M through increased product variation. Culture Creativity was encouraged via institutionalized individual entrepreneurship (Bartlett & Mohammed 2) Informal recognition given to maverick employees through semi-legend stories that were circulated in the company to encourage individual persistence and commitment to innovation (Bartlett & Mohammed 5). Tolerance for what McKnight referred to as “well-intentioned failure” and risk taking was encouraged as shown by management supporting those who were involved in failed projects quickly move on to something new (Bartlett & Mohammed 5). 3M has been able to retain its market leadership through technological innovation, market responsiveness and institutionalized entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship by its very nature is characterized by high risk and possibility of failure. Therefore it is necessary to have a management that encourages employees to innovate through incentives, and giving them time to actually pursue these innovative projects. Innovation requires research, which is resource intensive, therefore the company needed to ensure that these resources are available by making huge investments in R&D such as in the development of the Central Research Laboratory. However, we must note that this is a business where the ultimate goal is to maximize on shareholder return. Thus giving each of these innovative divisions a clear set of corporate financial performance targets ensures that they self-monitor themselves, by investing only in those products that show promise of a return. If say, 3M lacked this form of financial targets for each of its divisions we would probably see some divisions becoming less accountable than others. Is 3M an “innovation factory,” or does it work by a different model? And are those at 3M “T-shaped”? 3M is an innovation factory because we can identify within it the four intertwined work practices that characterize such a factory namely: capturing good ideas (3M spans multiple markets with multiple business units), keeping ideas alive (3M has a database containing over 25 years of information on hundreds of projects), imagining new uses for old ideas (3M encourages cross-functional interaction among all its divisions) and putting promising concepts to the test (3M encourages development of innovations from projects even when no large market potential is evident) (Hargadon & Sutton 324). The staff at 3M is T-shaped. This is so because we can identify several of the approaches highlighted by Hansen and von Oetinger as necessary for an organization to have so that its staff can effectivel be T-shaped. Firstly, we see that 3M constructed a facility at Austin, Texas whose specific purpose was to facilitate cross-functional interaction and encourage teamwork (Bartlett & Mohammed 12) which is line with the formalization of cross-unit ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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