Integrative Case Analysis I: W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc W. L. Gore and Associates have developed a unique structure providing them industry leading innovations. At the top of the company sits Bill and Vieve Gore, president and secretary-treasurer respectively. Below them are the rest of the employees; all other employees within the company hold the title of associate. Daft offers characteristics that help analyze the structure of the organization. The first dimension is Formalization. Based on the description in the text I believe W. L.
Gore to be more of an informal company, they encourage creativity and individuality while promoting based on performance. The second dimension is Specialization. Within the company there are multiple divisions such as; research and development, sales and engineering. Each division has its own set of duties leading to a higher degree of Specialization. The next dimension described by Daft is Hierarchy of Authority. As stated earlier Bill and Vieve Gore have the top control spots in the company, below them all other employees hold the title associates.
However the strong employees are promoted into leadership positions with a wider range of control leading to short a shorter hierarchy. (Unknown, 2006) The fourth dimension is Centralization. The lax internal environment provided to all employees at W. L. Gore, encourages employees to control themselves setting their own goals. For this reason I believe Gore to be more of a decentralized company. The next dimension is Professionalism. The research and development position and the engineering positions both require education; for this reason I believe Gore to have a high level of professionalism.
However the training provided at Gore is lacking. “While the open and relaxed environment of the company may allow some associates to excel, the workers that do not immediately adapt to the system are often left to fall through the cracks. ” (Unknown, 2006) Overall the structure is lacking when compared to the dimension provided by Daft but with the laidback environment W. L. Gore has been able to stay ahead of the competition. The culture demonstrated within W. L. Gore most closely resembles adaptive.
Adaptive cultures work best within a learning organization that “encourages, openness, equality, continuous improvement, and change. ” (Daft, 2009) The horizontal structure implemented by Gore allows the transfer of knowledge between divisions to process quickly and efficiently, giving Gore the advantage against competitors when there is a change in the environment. Miles and Snow’s Strategy Typology define four strategies that can be used by a company. After reviewing them, I believe Gore falls into the Prospector strategy. The prospector strategy is to innovate, take risk, seek out new opportunities, and grow. ”(Daft, 2009) The individuality and creativity encouraged within Gore is the main reason why I have chosen the prospector strategy. Another characteristic is the innovation Gore has provided in their respective industries. “Bill Gore claimed that patent applications and innovative products outputted by his company was triple that of Du Pont. ” (Unknown, 2009) Porter explains three different strategies, in which a company can follow. The three strategies are differentiation, low-cost leadership and focus.
I believe W. L. Gore is following the differentiation strategy. “In a differentiation strategy, organizations attempt to distinguish their products or services from others in the industry. ” (Daft, 2009) L. W. Gore has led their respective industries in development and innovation for many years. This gives them the opportunity to offer their product at a higher price compared to competitors and still have the ability to be profitable. W. L. Gore has made their name by leading technological advancements throughout all of their industries.
In particular the division Gore-Tex, has become a well known name worldwide do to the creation of fluoropolymers(PTFE). This one invention has allowed W. L. Gore to use PTFE throughout their numerous divisions including radiation absorbency, radiation resistance, electromagnetic interface gaskets and dental floss. For this reason I believe W. L. Gore to have a strong interdependence among its divisions. I believe the creative environment and the high amount of R&D require a large amount of interaction to maintain an efficient business.
Overall W. L. Gore and Associates have been able to lead their industry in innovation while maintaining a high level of profit. However, in recent years with the economical decline Gore is faced with making a tough decision. Lower the price of the product to match competitors or rethink internal workings of the business in hopes to cut unnecessary costs. The lax environment provided to employees has also created too much wasted time and not enough efficiency in creating goals.
Once they realize their next step in solving this problem, I believe with the integration and R&D they will continue to prosper.
References Daft, R. L. (2010). Chapter 1: Organizations and Organization Theory. In M. Acuna & E. Guendelsberger (Eds. ), Organization Theory and Design (pp. 2-55). Mason, OH: South-Western. Author, Unkown. (2006). Company Case Analysis: W. L. Gore & Associates Retrieved November 21, 2010, from Associatedcontent. com: http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/71641/company_case_analysis_w_l_gore_associates. html? cat=3