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W.L. Gore and Associates - Essay Example

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W.L. Gore and Associates was founded in 1958 in the basement of an ex-DuPont engineer of seventeen years. Wilbert (Bill) L. Gore began his own business with the principle that people work better without rigid hierarchy, an example he saw often when car pooling where everyone discussed issues without regard to rank…
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W.L. Gore and Associates
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Download file to see previous pages The term, "employee" is not used at Gore, but associate. There are no bosses, directors or secretaries, but small teams where people know each others strengths and weaknesses. This can be a difficult situation to adjust to for new hires from traditional companies. When Diane Davidson was hired due to her fifteen years of experience a sales executive she did not know what to do without a boss dictating her actions. She was informed that her team was her boss because she would not want to let them down. Everyone is the boss and no one. (Deutschman, 2004). The philosophy is to nurture talents like Davidson's by allowing the natural abilities of people to emerge in an environment that encourages new ideas. The new hire is assigned a sponsor who is a mentor, not a supervisor. Leadership should develop naturally relative to each new project and leaders need to also be followers as necessary.
This associate culture can take up to six months to learn and that is expected. The new hire might feel strange not contributing when the rest of the team is, but getting to know the other members is vital to this strategy. The representative of Gore's human resources team states that the power behind the associate culture is to encourage people to believe in their potential and in their contributions to the team effort (Moore, 2006).
W.L.Gore manufactures a wide range of products that include the w...
The company does not supervise the development of new inventions, but does encourage employees to spend 10% of their time on new, innovative ides-not variations on products already on the market. Self-motivation is a prime factor at Gore and the wide range of products requires the input of intelligent, creative people who must be able to work independently and with a group (Moore, 2006).
As unusual as the Gore corporate structure is, the turnover rate is very low. The Sunday Times listed Gore as in the top 100 best companies for employment (McCall, 2004). Of the associates surveyed 92% said they believed that they made a valuable contribution to the company's success and 93% stated that they would miss working for Gore if they left (Doke, 2006).
An important aspect of the associate culture is that it removes the cut throat type of competition generated in traditional hierarchy corporations. There one person's success often means the failure of another employee. This philosophy attracts the talent that Gore desires as it employs over 58,000 people in the United States, Britain, Scotland and Germany. The turn over rate is only 6% world wide with over 40% of associates being with Gore over five years (Dow, 2004).
W.L. Gore and Associates states that they encourage hands-on innovation, involving those closest to a project in on the decision making (Gore 2006). Freedom and cooperation produce good results. Gore is willing to take risks when other companies will not leading to new and successful products like the Elixir guitar strings coated with thin plastic of protect the strings from the dirt and oil on human hands. The associate who first thought of the idea was engineer Dave Myers who designed plastic heart implants. He believed that a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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