Essay on Corporate Culture at W.L. Gore & Associates

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The corporate culture at W.L. Gore & Associates (Gore) is refreshingly different than that of other firms. Forgoing the more traditional organizational chart, the company describes itself as a “team-based, flat lattice organization” (W.L. Gore & Associates [Our Culture], 2011, para. 1). Its employees generally do not have job titles and are called “associates”; also favoring the term “sponsors” over bosses (Our Culture, 2011). While some businesses in today’s economic environment are just trying to survive, Gore takes a long-term view approach to decision-making that has helped it thrive for over 50 years (Our Culture, 2011). As a privately held company, it is also interesting that Gore’s culture provides for making a wide variety of…show more content…
Sponsors, the closest equivalent to a manager or leader in most organizations, act more like personal mentors who take an active interest in each associate’s personal development and career growth (Who We Are, 2011). The aforementioned “lattice” structure bypasses more traditional chain-of-command structures and allows associates to go to whomever they believe is best for hearing a particular idea, need, or complaint. Associates seem to have a high level of autonomy yet each remains accountable to their self managed team as well as any other commitments the associate has made to others in the organization. Associates in Gore’s manufacturing plants also get to function in a unique environment of no more than 250 people, which is considered small especially for a company of this size. The thinking is that everyone knows each other better and efficiencies are gained in a smaller plant (Reingold, 2007). Gore is unique in its approach to many aspects of operating its business and the area of compensation is no exception. Here, too, the company seems to quite literally put its money where its mouth is. They “strive to be internally fair and externally competitive” (Compensation, 2011, para. 2), which for some companies is a commitment that is easier to make than it is to maintain. Many companies claim to offer competitive wages and benefits while seeming to be interested mainly in keeping costs to a minimum. There is no

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