3m Blog Case

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Date Submitted: 12/06/2012 05:42 PM

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3M and the Balance between Efficiency and Creativity

3M is an example of what happens when a company balance between creativity and efficiency is disrupted. The company believed that James McNerney, follower of Jack Welch who was considered a management high priest, would be a great addition to the organization as the new CEO. In fact he was but whether his strategy to lead the company would be of benefit in long run are now questionable. He straight up redesigned the DNA of the 100 year organization by importing the Six Sigma Program from GE. All the changes were aimed to improve performance and efficiency and they provided good result given that all the procedures for the projects they were working on were known. On the other hand, the constant focus on efficiency and addition of mechanistic procedures and norms was slowly depleting the creativity and innovation in the company. As a result, Six Sigma was causing the former creative culture company to become unable to innovate. If I were to counter the effects of Six Sigma, I would start by implementing flexible rules in core departments of innovation like R&D and provide training that promotes creativity in the current extreme efficiency focused workforce. Buckley as the new CEO is aware the organization survival consists in the process of inventing new stuff. He took some pressure away from the scientists in the research department by revoking their obligation work towards the Six Sigma objectives. His actions are changing the corporate focus from process discipline to growth and innovation giving a sense of that creative culture that the company once had.