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*Note: The blue underscored words/phrases in this case indicate Internet links provided in the on-line version. See the Organizational Behavior, Seventh Edition Web Site at
same year that George Fisher (now president of Kodak) became president of the firm; he is credited by many with bringing Motorola into the cellular age.
Beginning in 1987, Motorola began the design of IRIDIUM. The system is a satellite-based, wireless communications network. It consists of 66 interconnected, low-orbiting satellites that deliver voice, data, fax and paging through a hand-held phone. The system will simplify communications for business professionals, travelers, residents and other users, permitting them to reach any destination on Earth. Along with Motorola, Sprint and Iridium Canada are contributing to the development of IRIDIUM system to the North American continent. The development of IRIDIUM will provide customers with high-quality service at a reasonable rate.
As Motorola continued to expand its worldwide presence in the global marketplace through products and services, the need for talented personnel to uphold these established standards has increased. In recognition of this essentiality, Motorola has demonstrated a high
commitment to seeking and developing a broad base of knowledgeable, highly trained employees, evident through their innovative training programs, through the establishment of Motorola University, and through the offering of expansive benefit plans to all associates.
The Importance of Organizational Culture to Motorola
In the early 1990s, Motorola was recognized as a true high performance organization with its innovations and socially responsible corporate attitude. Indeed, its organizational culture is identified as a source of competitive advantage for the firm. Working in quality teams, members strive to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction, measuring defects in incidents per billion. Motorola earmarks more than $100 million a year for training, with everyone in the organization, however humble, spending at least a week a year back in the classroom at Motorola University, courtesy of the company.3
Motorola lists its fundamental objective as total customer satisfaction: “To serve every customer better than our competitors do with products and services of excellent value and quality, and thereby earn continued enthusiastic trust and sup-port.”4 It wishes to accomplish this objective with respect for the individual, a statement it makes clear in its shared beliefs.
To treat each employee with dignity, as an individual; to maintain an open atmosphere where direct communication with employees affords the opportunity to contribute to the maximum of their potential and fosters unity of purpose with Motorola; to provide personal opportunities for training and development to ensure the most capable and most effective work force; to respect senior service;
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to compensate fairly by salary, benefits and, where possible, incentives; to promote on the basis of capability; and to practice the commonly accepted policies of equal opportunity and affirmative action. Integrity and Ethics To maintain the highest standards of honesty, integrity and ethics in all aspects of our business—with customers, suppliers, employees, governments and society at large—and to comply with the laws of each country and community in which we operate.5
From a proponent of leadership training to a leader in quality control processes, Motorola has created an internal climate that fosters high standards and a high performance culture. The firm depends on Total Customer Satisfaction Teams (TCS) to ensure the firm’s commitment to quality. These teams are now made up of almost 30 percent of Motorola’s 150,000 employees, and a goal of 10 times reduction of defects every two years puts pressure on them to constantly devise new ways to develop and deliver their products and services.
Motorola views itself as family and encourages employees to balance their work and family responsibilities. They support onsite child care centers and fund a wellness program for all employees.
Authors John Kotter and James Hesket’s study on corporate culture shows that:
1. Corporate culture can have a significant impact on a firm’s longterm economic performance.
2. Corporate culture will probably be an even more important factor in determining the success or failure of firms in the next decade.
3. Corporate cultures that inhibit strong long-term financial performance are not rare; they develop easily, even in firms that are full of reasonable and intelligent people.
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4. Although tough to change, corporate cultures can be made more performance enhancing.6
Organizational culture can be a two-edged sword, however. Strong cultures may contribute to high performance for extended periods of time but may actually result in an inability to adjust when conditions change.