IBM’s Multicultural Multinational Teams
Why do you think IMB’s culture changed from formal, stable, and individualistic to informal, impermanent, and team oriented?
IBM used to be one of the most tradition bound companies on the planet. Management used to be a top down, authoritarian style bureaucracy. This fails on many levels including both leadership style and motivation.
There are three styles of leadership; Authoritarian, Democratic and Laissez-Faire (1939, Kurt Lewin). Authoritarian leadership is one way. There is a clear division between the leader and the followers. Decision making is much less creative when made by an individual than a group. Democratic leadership is two way. The leader and followers are more unified. The leader gently guides the followers towards a productive goal by taking their ideas into consideration. Generally this leadership style is less productive than the authoritarian style, but the work is of a much higher quality, followers feel involved in the process, more motivated and creative. Laissez-Faire has no direction. The followers are completely responsible for themselves. For this style to work followers must be highly trained.
Motivation comes in many forms. Maslow suggests that Physiological, safety, social and esteem must be fulfilled before self actualization can occur. By moving towards a more informal, impermanent and team oriented culture. This allows employees to feel appreciated and valued resulting in self actualization where the motivation comes from within.
McGregor argues that there are two styles of workers X and Y. To simplify it X is a negative, work avoiding person and Y is positive and open to responsibility or challenges.
IBM has moved to the democratic sometimes laissez faire style of leadership. This suggests that a majority of their workers are of the Y variety and are open to challenging themselves. By providing employees with less formal more...