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 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.
W. L. Gore and Associates, is a basic but well thought out Management Company that brings together a network of other companies that have a wide variety of company structure and outward appearance of being a well put together company. 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 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. 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.
Wilbert L. Gore enforced the lattice structure which is a very complex structure with no titles, hierarchy, or a conventional structure. The structure has a lot of strengths but some may criticize it and describe it as being unmanaged and unstructured. The lattice structure is not for everyone and cannot be enforced by any organization. Gore only has a few titles in his organization such as president and secretary- treasurer. The only reason he had these titles was because they were required by the laws of incorporation.
Gore didn’t have a mission statement or code of ethics. Even though Gore did not make his own mission statement, he let leaders of the different departments make their own statements for the departments. This is a major strength because it gives associates a sense of belonging apart of the team and not just a worker.
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.
Gore enforced the sponsor program when it comes to associates instead of having managers or supervisor. Gore felt having a hierarchy stifled individual creativity to his associates. 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, dealing with the strengths and weaknesses of the associate. This sponsor program is a major strength of the lattice structure. Many other organizations have the same sponsor program but it is often a senior representative or a supervisor. The difference is that the sponsors in this structure are more like friends than a person of authority.(Daft, 2010)
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. 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. The structure allows associates to grow within the company by developing interpersonal relationships, gives self commitment, responsibilities, leadership and discipline.
The Gore organization treats everyone at the same level everyone is referred to as an associate. However, some that take on leadership roles are referred to as leaders not managers. Leadership is widespread throughout the lattice organization and it is continuously changing and evolving. Leaders are not there to be managers or supervisors but are there to advise associates of consequences of actions. Gore provided classes for associates to help them with leadership development and establish cooperative education programs.
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.
New associates coming into the Gore organization may find it very difficult to focus at first because they have no particular area where they need to concentrate. 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 it gives the entrepreneurship role and if people can’t handle that role being an associate for Gore is not a good idea.
There were no instructions established or in place that would decide the different levels of communication between employees and management. There is no boss in their company; instead they have in place, too many company leaders which are one of their down falls. 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.
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. The company believes that all employees will be given the same benefits as the other employees. 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.
Daft, Murphy(2010) “Organization Theory and Design” Cengage Learning