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Summary of the Case
IBM has been undertaking various initiatives to become a globally-integrated firm (Kanter, 2009). The first IV team was aimed at integrating the firm’s supply chain strategies and manufacturing processes. The team also wanted to create interconnected global activities to serve the whole world. However, IBM’s Fifth Integration and Values Team should focus on a different goal. The aim of the team is “to create a powerful culture that can attract more citizens and leaders” (Kanter, 2009, p. 1). The team is trying to address the existing barriers. The team should also examine the needs of different stakeholders. The team can take advantage of the firm’s strengths and identify new opportunities. The team is also expected to set the right theme to attract more stakeholders.
The concept of globalization is always misinterpreted by many people. Many people “treat IBM as a foreign company” (Kanter, 2009, p. 1). Some consequences might affect IBM for targeting nations such as China, India, Russia, and Brazil. Many outsiders also believe that IBM is a foreign brand. Most of IBM’s decisions are made in New York. The purpose of the team is to connect more people. The team also “wants to bring together many nations and communities” (Kanter, 2009, p. 2). IBM is using the best international assignments and leadership practices. It is also using effective “global corporate citizen initiatives, professional development, and extensive training” (Kanter, 2009, p. 2). The major challenges include the impacts of global integration and changing people’s perceptions. That being the case, the company should determine the best practices and initiatives.
Alternative Courses of Action
A globally-integrated IBM will acquire more resources to produce the best value for its customers. The company can also produce innovations and practices. IBM’s goal to become a global firm is facing several challenges. Some divisive controversies and assumptions are making it impossible for the team to achieve its goals. That being the case, a set of practices can be embraced to get the targeted results. To begin with, the managers should develop the best leadership competencies. Such competencies include “systems thinking, persuasion, diplomacy, initiative-taking, and collaboration” (Kanter, 2009, p. 14). It is also appropriate for leaders to share and develop the best skills.
The firm can also locate its manufacturing plants in different cities across the globe. It is also appropriate for the firm to make its culturally-sensitive decisions. Such decisions will support the needs of many individuals in different parts of the world. IBM’s organizational structure has failed to support the needs of many stakeholders. The control systems are currently “aligned on a vertical dimension” (Kanter, 2009, p. 14). A horizontal dimension is required to empower more individuals in the company. The use of local call centers can address most of the issues affecting the targeted customers.
IBM should communicate effectively with local stakeholders in different countries. This approach will ensure every decision focuses on the changing needs of the targeted customers. The firm should also focus on the concept of cultural heritage. It should also identify “a long-term approach to contribute to the development of the targeted nation” (Kanter, 2009, p. 14).
Sam Palmisano should undertake the best strategies to support IBM’s goals. The idea of global integration is critical because it supports the performance of many firms. The concept makes it easier for firms to acquire targeted ideas, global resources, and technologies. The approach also improves the level of decision-making. This argument encourages the leaders at the firm to focus on this goal. IBM should, therefore, use customized strategies for different markets. The firm should use an appropriate organizational structure to fulfill the needs of different geopolitical regions. The “leaders should address the culturally-sensitive needs of the targeted customers” (DuBrin, 2013, p. 85).
IBM can use appropriate strategies such as local call centers. Such centers will address the changing needs of different customers and stakeholders. The firm should also become a strong business player in different countries. Nations, communities, and societies are relevant whenever trying to achieve targeted business goals. IBM should accept the fact that it is no longer an American company. The managers should be aware of the social, cultural, and economic aspects of every targeted country. This knowledge will eventually make IBM a globally-integrated organization (DuBrin, 2013).
The above problems can affect IBM’s future goals. A proper approach to this problem can create new opportunities and strengths for the company. The firm’s CEO should encourage his employees to focus on the varying needs of different nations. The leaders should make appropriate decisions depending on the needs of the targeted customers. A proper organizational structure is also needed to empower different stakeholders (DuBrin, 2013). The firm should also acquire more resources from different suppliers. These practices will make it possible for the firm to achieve its potentials.
DuBrin, A. (2013). Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills. Boston, MA: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Kanter, R. (2009). IBM in the 21st Century: The Coming of the Globally Integrated Enterprise. Harvard Business School, 1(1), 1-20.