3M - Fostering an Innovative Spirit*



Mini Case Code : CLIM037
Publication date : 2005
Subject : International Marketing
Industry : -
Length : 04 Pages
Price : Rs. 100

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Key words:

Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, 3M, innovative products, recruit, innovative people, innovation, innovation task force, innovation audit, dual ladder career path, leadership development institute


* This caselet is intended for use only in class discussions.
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The caselet discusses the organizational culture of 3M. It describes the policies and procedures adopted by the company to instill a spirit of innovation in its employees. It details the HR policies and practices of the company that played an important role in fostering innovation in the organizational culture of the company. The caselet also describes the changes in the work environment after the arrival of James McNerny as the company's CEO.


3M's organizational culture
How innovation helped 3M in improving its organizational culture
Can change in leadership of an organization bring about a change in its culture too


Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, popularly known as 3M, was founded in 1902 by five businessmen at Lake Superior town of Two Harbours, Minnesota, USA.

The company was initially in the business of mining corundum . Later the company shut down its corundum mine and started producing sandpaper. In 1911, the company introduced its first breakthrough product, Three-M-ite cloth, which proved to be a successful and profitable product...

Questions for Discussion:

1. Since its early years, what strategies did 3M adopt to foster a culture of innovation in the organization? How far do you attribute the success of the company to its culture?

2. Do you agree with the views of analysts that the new initiatives implemented by 3M's new CEO James McNerney might dampen the spirit of innovation at 3M? Justify your stand.