Is W.L. Gore a successful enterprise? If so, why has it been so successful? What are some of the building blocks of its success?
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W.L Gore is a successful business establishment. For instance, the organization has been in operation for several decades. Besides, it has expanded its operations beyond its original location. The company has a wide network of branches with hundreds of employees. Moreover, it has often been ranked by various market researches as among the best firms in terms of employee satisfaction and revenue growth. These are just some of the indications that the firm is a market leader and equally competitive.
Judge and Robbins (2011) observe that there are quite a several reasons why a firm has been successful. From the given case study, it is evident that the firm has a unique system of management that stands out among other players. For instance, the firm has no stipulated hierarchical structure based on positions. Employees of this firm are allowed to supervise themselves and also be innovative as much as possible. In other words, personal drive and initiative are highly encouraged. This approach has led to massive growth and likeability of the firm across the world where its branches are located.
Some of its building blocks include operations, strategy, structure, ownership, and leadership.
Associates were responsible to manage their workload and would be accountable to others on their team. Only the associate could commit to doing something—a task, a project, or a new role. Once the commitment was made, the associate was expected to meet it. New associates were regularly cautioned against overextending themselves, and associates could reject any request. Projects and teams were not formed by assignment; rather, a product or project concept was usually formed by an individual, who garnered support to move forward. As the project progressed, project founders—not managers—had to sell their idea to other associates who they felt had the necessary technical, market, and organizational skills to advance the project.
Objectives were set by those who made them happen. This strategy was based on the belief that associates who were allowed to choose which projects to sponsor—by committing their resources—would more likely be motivated because they would choose projects they believed in and felt they had an ownership stake in their success. Further, small teams with highly motivated associates supporting a project or product concept were more likely to succeed, because they believed in what they were doing.
Would you like to work at W.L. Gore? Why or why not?
The form has been ranked as one the most comfortable organizations that guarantee comfort and satisfaction for employees. I would certainly like to work at W.L Gore due to several reasons. For instance, the firm has created a conducive environment whereby employees can experiment without fear in the course of being innovative. This strategy is aimed at improving the productivity of workers since they are individually taken as innovators. The company does not spend additional resources in devising better production ideas because its employees are ready to do the same. The ‘Real, Win, Worth’ cultural philosophy as held by the firm is indeed encouraging for any other employee who values satisfaction at work. The company seeks and bargains for real opportunities that benefit workers and the organization as a whole. As an employee, I am well protected by the organizational culture that does not merely focus on profitability.
Besides, I would prefer to work with this firm because it opens up opportunities for individual growth and innovation at the place of work. In other words, employees are allowed to share their ideas and also benefit by learning from fellow workers.
Finally, I would choose to work for this firm because I do not like being supervised while at work. Boleman and Deal (2008) concur that the culture of supervising employees closely does not auger well with some individuals. I can work well in an environment where there is no close supervision.
Why don’t more firms emulate or do what W.L? Gore does? Why are Gore-type businesses rare?
According to Schein (2004), many firms can’t implement the system being followed by W.L. Gore. To begin with, the organizational culture in this firm was adopted from the initial stages of its operations. In other terms, the organization has grown with the culture and consequently made it part and parcel of its core competencies. Hence, organizations that have already grown under conventional cultures cannot fit within the scope of W.L. Gore.
Secondly, adopting W.L. Gore’s strategies of managing firms entails a lot of both visible and unforeseen risks. For example, leaving the management and innovation process in the hands of ordinary employees prove to be quite risky. The latter argument is hinged on the argument that innovation and management are key organizational operations that cannot be left in the hands of amateurs. Lastly, it is prudent to mention that W.L. Gore organization was not driven by profitability when it was started. The main focus was on employee and customer satisfaction. Senge (2006) notes that business organizations are usually founded to make a profit. Therefore, few firms can agree to adopt such operating ideals for fear of running into losses.
Boleman L.G. & Deal, T. E. (2008). Reframing Organizations, San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.
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Judge, T.A. & Robbins, S.P. (2011). Essentials of Organizational Behavior(11th. Ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Schein, E. (2004). Organizational Culture and Leadership: New York: Wiley John & Sons.
Senge, P. (2006). The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization. New York, NY: Doubleday Publishing