Insulin Production And Curing Diabetes Commerce Essay


Diabetes is one of those diseases which once you are prone, it sticks with you lifelong. Insulin is the cure that healthcare companies provide against diabetes. Large scale production of Insulin started in 1923 by a Danish company Nordisk Insulinlaboratorium and in 1925 by another Danish company Novo Terapeutisk Laboratorium, both in Scandinavia.

Insulin production and curing diabetes was the foremost target of the company. Nordisk established the Nordisk Insulin Foundation in 1926, with the aim of supporting people in Scandinavia fighting the disease by enhancing research in this field.

There were large numbers of experiment carried out in the coming years. Revolutionary medicines/products were introduced in the market by both the companies.

In 1951, Novo established the Novo Foundation with the objective of influencing scientific research & social causes and of course, providing a safety measure to the company.

In 1981, Novo became first Danish company to be listed on New York Stock Exchange. In 1982, Novo revolutionized the Healthcare industry by producing first Human Monocomponent insulin, a product identical to Human Insulin. 1987 is considered as the year of extraordinary growth in healthcare industry as Novo started production of Insulin using Genetic Engineering.

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In 1988, Nordisk started producing Genetically engineered Human Growth Hormones, and opened up a whole new field of rDNA technology.

The big break came in 1989 when Nordisk Insulinlaboratorium, the Nordisk Insulin Foundation and the Novo Foundation merge to become the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Since then, the company has grown immensely and globally. As of 2012, NOVO NORDISK has its presence in 75 Countries, with more than 33,000 employees and markets its product in more than 190 countries. It is still headquartered in Denmark.

Business Philosophy:

Novo Nordisk follows "The triple bottom line" philosophy.



They tend to prosper their success if they feel the work done is Financially, Socially and Environmentally responsible.

They also feel that a healthy economy, healthy environment and a healthy society are the backbones of a healthy business growth, in the long run.

Overall, they look at developing options which are sustainable and of less harm to environment and society.

As the shareholders are the ultimate authority, their business philosophy mingles around the fact that they need to impress their shareholders with high returns.

Organizational Structure:

Novo Nordisk is a public limited company under Danish Laws. Being an innovation based company; they have an extensive R&D department and a Chief Science Officer to look after that. CEO of the company heads the Executive management of the company which comprises of CFO (Chief Financial Officer), COO (Chief Operating Officer), CSO & COS (Chief of Staff).

Shareholders, as the case is with Novo, are the ultimate boss. They have the highest authority and they elect 7 out of 11 Board members who are directly answerable to them at General Meetings.

The company prioritizes on making its shareholders and stakeholders happy come-what-may.

Annual Shareholders

Board of Directors

Executive Management

Leadership Style:

Lars Rebien Sorensen took over as the President and CEO of Novo Nordisk in 2000. Since then he has managed the company in a manner that they weathered out the financial crisis quite convincingly in 2008. He is inclined toward R&D of the company and encourages its R&D department to come out with major breakthrough products in Healthcare market.

Sorensen has a Patient-oriented approach, which he has instilled in the company ethics also.

Under Sorensen, Novo has taken the 'me-slightly-better' approach rather than 'me-too' approach in an already overcrowded manufacturers market. He focuses on capturing patients as soon as they are diagnosed, taking into account that 80% patients tend to freeze on a brand of medicine (in case of insulin, at-least) that they take first. This approach will sure give them an improved market share in the long run because in this metabolically imbalanced world, Diabetes is going nowhere.

He has always maintained high ethical standards within the company and has made profits throughout. He made an investment of $100 million in order to formulate World Diabetes Foundation and committed to provide Insulin at 20% of the standard price to the people living in the developing nations.

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He was among the group of CEOs who introduced the Workplace Wellness Alliance, in order to promote health and fitness in employees. Sorensen himself is a keen cyclist, which shows Health is just not a market for him it's more of a personal commitment.

In an advent to grow the company to higher levels, Sorensen has approved a whole plant to be installed in China, considering the huge demand of Insulin in this area. This bold but clever move by the CEO was applauded by the rest of the management and got a hearty welcome by everyone within the company.


They have a culture of compassion and competitiveness within the company and supports innovation and responsibility. The vision, values and commitment towards fulfilling the 'Triple bottom line principle' guards the overall culture and they call it - "The Novo Nordisk Way", a document written for employees at Novo Nordisk.

They remain focused on innovation along with handling the social, financial and environmental factor throughout.

Due to the global presence of the company (in more than 75 countries), different offices have varied rituals that they follow based on the local culture. At Novo one gets the flexibility to work and different ideas are always welcomed.

They try and improvise a free environment within the office (among peers). At Novo Nordisk, the employees enjoy proper Work-Life balance, Pension plans, rewards, etc. The consensuses of employees are valued within the system which makes them feel empowered and to strive forward with better plans/work.

Group Dynamics:

In any workplace, group dynamics plays a very important role in determining the outcome of the given projects. Group dynamics explains the system of work within a group of people or within two groups of people or within several groups of people working towards a common goal, aiming for the maximum output.

Novo Nordisk enjoys a mature group dynamics as the CEO takes total control of the well being of each and every employee. Being a Global company, work culture in different regions is, expectedly, not same and the company understands this and gives freedom & flexibility to their employee to work in accordance to their culture, as long as the Triple bottom line principle of the company is actualized.

The R&D department being the backbone of the company, maintains a close relation with other departments like Marketing, Sales, etc. and they all work towards the bottom line.

Marketing and Sales department should be well informed about the product that is in the market or the one's which are 'bout to be launched in order to make preparations. All these groups work in close proximity and the flow of information is pretty clear.

Change Management:

Being a R&D model company, to grow, Innovation is inevitable and with innovation comes change in process, change in future or rather change in company management. Technology changes, if on an expansion mode then culture changes, policies may change accordingly but one thing which does not change is the vision of the company and that's exactly what Novo Nordisk is all about.

There are flaws in the management, as can be interpreted by reading employee's reviews; but overall, the company stands by any decision it takes in order to better the growth of the company and they have done brilliantly well so far.

Change in leadership is one of the biggest concerns for any company. Along with the successor, the working model changes, the vision might differ, the culture within the organization might change and hence the whole management might have to adjust to a different style of working which, mind you, is not all that easy. To have a smooth and solid succession plan is a must. The CEO must make ready his/her successor before stepping down. If not done properly, this one decision can entirely change the course of action of the company. Novo Nordisk has a beautifully structured succession planning in place.

Politics/Conflict Management:

Every company has its share of politics going on within the organization. Conflicts are bound to happen. Novo Nordisk is no exception.

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Politics among groups to do better than the other can be considered as positive as it brings a sense of competition within the company, but politics within a group regarding matters such as Group leader or Work portfolio can drastically degrade the value of the group and the company.

Any conflict within the company should be well managed and persuaded in a way that it does not harm the work culture of the office. Novo has, somewhat, been able to achieve this feat.


Novo strives on its innovative R&D department. Over the years, they have produced breakthrough products, INSULIN being a major success. Without innovation, no R&D model company can survive in this competitive market.

In the process of being better than others, positive innovation is the only chance that these companies have.


Being an outsider, still, I am not in the best of positions to critically articulate Novo. But, from whatever I have read about the company and its practices, I can surely deduce that there has to be better relationship being developed between the higher management and employees. No doubt they give good incentives and all, but the feeling of life getting monotonous, should be handled with care by the management. (Source:


The company itself is focused on future, so I don't really have any recommendations beside one thing that they should try and make better relationship with their employee.

I first heard of this company when I was in 8th std. My grandfather takes Insulin injections tested and produced by Novo Nordisk. The trust he has shown on Novo has not failed him and that got me inclined towards this company. I don't know a lot about this company at this moment, but surely would like to.

It is my dream to start off my career in this company (I am a dreamer), but someday I would definitely be there.