Organizations need continuity, which can be achieved only through some change of adaptability and self-renewal. W.L. Gore Associates is one of the most well-managed organizations of the world which is designed specifically to find, accept, and use new ideas and so they are more able to adapt change and show more organizational flexibility.
Every company has its own individuality in the market; this individuality or the isolated quality can be taken as its competitive advantage. Competitive advantage of the company is something on what company is far ahead from its competitors.
W. L. Gore Associates is one of the most innovative and yet productive engineering companies of the world. It is a company of 7500 employees, having more than 1000 different fluoropolymer products and approximately $ 2 billion as annual revenue. It is a high technology company included in the list of United States 100 best companies to work for (Gore, 2008).
W. L. Gore has always appeared as the “Best companies to work for” in the United States and many countries in Europe as well. The company was at the top of the list in the United Kingdom, and considered the “100 Best Companies to work for” from 2004 to 2007. This was all because of the “The Gore Method” approach that was established many years ago (France, Leahy & Parsons, 2009). Bill Gore had made a company with a smooth networked structure where every member of the company shared the same position, which was an associate position and this made it very important to run the business at different levels (France, Leahy & Parsons, 2009).
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Management Practices and its effects on organization’s performance
W. L. Gore and Associates, is a basic but well thought out Management Company that bring together a network of other companies that have a wide variety of company structure and outward appearance of being a well put together company (Hamel and Bill, 2007). They have set some rules based on their main focus and aim to provide an aggressive range of creativeness for their company’s benefit for their employees. Gore felt having a hierarchy that it would shift individuals’ creativity to his associates for a complete leadership organization.
The Leadership Process
The leadership structure of the company is in such an order that all associates have been managed and supervised by their specific sponsors. Thus, the leadership, which is one of the important management processes are maintained through sponsors who are responsible for tracking the associate’s progress, helping and encouraging all to deal with the strengths and weaknesses of the associate (Gore, 2008).
The management style of W. L. Gore has enforced the lattice structure which is a very complex structure with no titles, hierarchy, or a conventional structure. Gore only has a few titles in his organization and the only reason he has the small number of titles was because they were required by the laws of incorporation (Gore, 2008). The lattice structure uses direct lines of communication with individuals. It does not have an intermediary, it give associates a chance to work out their own problems. This structure also has no fixed or assigned authority which is a major strength because what some people can’t handle, others will tell them what to do or how to necessarily do a particular task (Davis, Weckler and Paris, 1996).
Leadership is widespread throughout the lattice organization and it is continuously changing and evolving (Robbins & Coulter, 1996). Leaders are not there to be managers or supervisors but are there to advise associates of consequences of actions (Hitt, 1990). It gives associates responsibility for their own compensation which is a major strength because people are going to work harder if their productivity reflects their paychecks (Hamel and Bill, 2007). It gives more bureaucracy that allows employees to be a lot more productive (Gannon, 2004).
Human Resource Development Process
The company is not hiring people to just fill the empty position in the company, but they are also focusing on the flexibility and the unique environment of the company that will ensure the strengths of the new workers (Gadot, 2003). The policy of the organization has a firm position, which is based on non-discriminatory standards of the workforce hiring practices regardless of the fact that whether they are heterosexuals or homosexuals (Collins, 2000). The company believes that all employees will be given the same benefits as the other employees (Hamel and Bill, 2007). In the year of 2008, there were 39 percent of the workers that were women and about 17 percent were from the same minority group (Gore, 2008).
The organization provides classes for associates to help them with leadership development and establish cooperative education programs (Carnevale, Gainer and Meltzer, 1990). Lattice structure gives the associates of W.L. Gore a natural feeling of leadership at the same time teaching them to be followers and then grow to be leaders.
The key to healthy work relation among the organization is based on managing communication within the firm. Communication is a two way process. It is really difficult for an employee to work with all of its competence, intelligence and enthusiasm if he does not know the real purpose of the job he is going to perform. The more important point is to give opportunity to the employee to communicate and contribute the idea and opinion before the manager or owner makes a decision (Boxall & Dowling, 1999).
Communication is actually the process of trusting the people and tells them with all the honesty about their position, about the position of the business and about the future plans of the organization. Negative feedback is maybe necessary sometimes but positive feedback should be the basic tool to establish a good human relationship between the employees and the management.
There were no instructions established or in place that would decide the different levels of communication between employees and management. The performance of each worker in the company is based on a system that depends on peer evaluation and a lack of structure (France, Leahy & Parsons, 2009).
Scholars believed that the culture and the behavior of the individual in this culture are the major factor affecting the work climate of the organization (Victor, Bart and Cullen, 1987). Scholars are also of the opinion that decisions are more ethical in such organizations where moral development is concerned (Fritzsche 2000; Sims and Keon 1999).
The corporate culture of W. L. Gore Associates is based on the decentralized style of management. Ideas were first originated from various departments and then worked out by whole departments and then the decisions are made. The leaders of W. L. Gore Associates believe in team work and creativity of its team members.
Change is any adjustment of the organization’s current situation. Such adjustment would reveal the nature of changes that are anticipated or are taking place in these environments. These changes may force the organization to adapt or modify their management style according to the demands of the environment. A relaxed attitude on the part of the managers who believe they have a strong and well-managed organization built over the years to enable them to cope with any kind of situation is risky.
Creativity of different ideas is generated or modernization, the transformation of creative ideas is all different forms of change. W. L. Gore associate adapts change easily and thus proves itself a dynamic company (Hamel and Bill, 2007).
Ethical Work Climate
W. L. Gore associate is considered as a highly ethical company. The company does not believe in layoffs and cutting pay, which, has a high degree of being non motivating for employees morale; instead the company uses a system of temporary transfers and voluntary layoffs (Gore, 2008)
W. L. Gore Associates allows its associates to develop such statements for them if they feel it is appropriate. This gives a sense of belonging to the associates and the company believes that fairness builds loyalty and trust, so it always tries to be fair. Even in the most stable environments, change is constant, no matter how slight it is.
Managing an organization efficiently especially an engineering firm is not so simple. It inevitably requires constant assessments and monitoring by examining the external and internal environments.
The future of management will be filled with challenges and opportunities. Today’s management must not only cope with current problems and activities, but also prepare to meet new and unknown needs of the days to come. Every employee of the organization has the chance to work in a non harassing environment where everyone has equal and fair chance to grow, depending on his/ her performance without any prejudices or biases
W. L Gore Associates idea has come up so successfully that they have many years of profitability with such a simple and unique management style. One of the most important strategies to get best out of an employee and to retain it centered on helping him to reduce work-life stress because the statistics has shown that over seventy one percent of the employees of present business world cited its culture and environment of the company as one of the main reasons they stay with the company (Fink, 1992). W. L Gore Associates had adopted this strategy from the very beginning which is the main reason of their success.
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