WL Gore Organizational Structure
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Keywords: gore company culture, lattice management structure at gore
W. L. Gore Associates is one of the most innovative and yet productive 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).
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. W. L. Gore enforced the sponsor program when it comes to associates instead of having managers or supervisor (France, Leahy & Parsons, 2009). Gore felt having a hierarchy that it would shift individuals' creativity to his associates for a complete leadership organization. All associates have sponsors from the beginning of their employment and continue to have them throughout their time of being with the company. Sponsors 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).
The Gore organization treats everyone at the same level and everyone is referred to as an associate. However, some that take on the leadership roles are referred to as leaders not managers (Gore, 2008). 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. 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). The structure allows associates to grow within the company by developing interpersonal relationships, gives self commitment, responsibilities, leadership and discipline (Drucker, 1992).
The persons who are working for the different leaders must know that he or she is not just working for the leader but for the whole team as well and this was becoming a problem (Fink, 1992). Additionally, this company has a clear chain of command, and the workers knew who their leaders were and they knew who to respond to each day. However, in this case, because the workers themselves had decided what they needed to work on, they set their own goals in which the problem became that the only person they responded to is the other workers or themselves (Katzell & Yankelovich 1975).
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 Gore organizational structure gives associates the right to be free with their working process. It gives more bureaucracy that allows employees to be a lot more productive. Employees don't have to go around to different departments or authorities when it comes to making different purchases that will help them with their job descriptions (Gannon, 2004).
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 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). New associates coming into the Gore organization may find it very difficult to focus at first because they have no particular area to work in where they need to concentrate (France, Leahy & Parsons, 2009). To remain an associate one must first search within to find your particular interest in the company, figure out what you are good at and stick with it. Associates need to remain productive so that they can get compensated for their work. This company gives associates the opportunity to become their own boss and it gives the entrepreneurship role and if people can't handle that role being an associate for Gore is not a good idea (France, Leahy & Parsons, 2009).
The Gore Company encourages original and new ideas, and the workers are allowed to put themselves in places where he or she wants to be, but this poses different problems that need to be addressed to have a successful and powerful company (France, Leahy & Parsons, 2009).
There were no instructions established or in place that would decide the different levels of communication between employees and management (Boxall & Dowling, 1999). There is no boss in their company; instead they have in place, too many company leaders which are one of their downfalls. The Associates are given the option to follow the leaders instead of having a boss over them. 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).
Small working teams did interact with each other, and therefore, they were working in a more professional environment. The teams were known to produce a product, which was to complete a given task that involved team work, because these workers do not have the stress of their bosses and their performance level was at its best and it also increased their ability to become productive leaders (Hitt, 1990). Like many of the other companies, the workers are allowed to finish the project that was assigned according to their plans and set their own goals, which allowed them more freedom.
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 lay offs (Gore, 2008)
W. L. Gore Associates has no mission or vision statements but it 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. Change is any adjustment of the organization's current situation. 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).
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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