Gore-Tex is a multinational textile company. It was first founded by Bill and Vieve Gore as W.L. Gore & Associates in 1958. The company started with serving the electronic products market. In 1969, Bob Gore independently discovered expanded polytetrafluoroethylene and introduced in the market as Gore-Tex. In today’s date Gore-Tex is more focused on electronics, fabrics, industrial and medical products. It is a company that keeps on sustain its business with innovative design and improving the quality and service by understanding customer’s need and requirement.
It is one of the 200 largest privately held U.S. companies. It has also been awarded as 21st best place to work in overall “100 best companies to work for in United States” in 2013. As it is a multinational company it has revenue of $ 3 billion and overall 10,000 employees working for the company all over the world. (Gore, 2013)
As we look into the company they function in a very unique way. They follow the inversion of traditional management principal through which there are no manager, bosses and fixed assigned job.
They only have leaders that they have to follow as per their wish and contribute their knowledge and skills to make the project successful. At Gore-Tex people are free to come up with their own ideas and innovation. As there is no position hierarchy they are all fair to each other. They also encourage each other to grow in knowledge and responsibility as they believe growth within the staff member will help in the growth of a company. Gore-Tex Company once has hired outsider to work on project which had a negative impact on the company, they had to bring their existing staff member from other branch to help them improve. When associates are hired, they are guided by sponsor, growing understanding of opportunities and team’s goal. This all happens in an environment that combines freedom with cooperation and autonomy with synergy. (Gore, 2013) So, Building trust and organizing team work with the employees is the one of the key success factor of the company. Leader at Gore-Tex
“Leadership is a process whereby an individual influence’s a group of individual to achieve a common goal’’ (Northouse, 2013). At Gore-Tex Company there is fairness among all the leaders and associates. The leaders in Gore-Tex consult with other associates within the company before undertaking any action that would impact the company’s reputation. They have different types of leader some are leaders of project, some are team leader. When an individual survey was done at Gore 50% of the associates said they are leaders.
Leaders at Gore are followers as well. They believe to be a leader you need to be a follower as well. Leaders can’t be leader without having any followers. As a leader when they come up with their innovative design they share with the associates and convince them to follow them. The leader can only influence people to follow them if they have earned respect with their knowledge and skills. The company believes that one should be able to convince other associates if they want to come up a leader. In other word they should earn their position as a leader.
Being a leader in Gore-Tex is hard as compared to other organisation. In other companies they have their positional power as a leader. When it comes to Gore-Tex they should be able to convince their follower to maintain their position (Hamel, 2010). We can see there is a very high level of trust within the leader and associates in the organization. As today they may be the leader but tomorrow they will another leader. The leader of the team is also elected from the team member itself. The leader is not chosen to command the team members, but to act as the representative of the team and to create coordination among them to achieve goal.
Leaders in Gore-Tex are seemed to be transformational leadership as they are energetic, enthusiastic and passionate and they seemed to be concerned about the growth of their team members. (Cherry, 2013) They are also emergent leaders as they are emerged with respect to the respond they get from group of employees that work in Gore-Tex. “When others perceive an individual as the most influential member of group or an organization, regardless of the individual’s title, the person is exhibiting emergent leadership”. (Northhouse, 2013) As we looked into the case study we can identify that company operates in a very distinctive way.
There are no managers or bosses in the company but only leaders and associates. When an independent survey was done 50 % of Gore’s associates said that they all are leaders. In Gore Individual employee become leader by convincing other associates about their ideas. They create their own idea and share among the associates and the people who believe in the idea will support and follow them. There are different types of leadership styles and theories like Transactional and Transformational. When we look into transactional leaders there are usually rewarding and punishment. Although the performance is based on the followers, both leaders and associates maintain their relation as give and take. When someone performs well then they will be rewarded and if they are not performing properly they will be punished. (Cherry, 2013) “Transformational leadership is the process whereby a person engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in the leaders and the followers”.(Downton, 1973)
The concept of Transformational leader was introduced by James Burns, he explained Transformational leader are those who come up with their own creative ideas and innovation which will help to lead the top level management of an organization to achieve similar goal. It is also a process that changes, transforms people, concerns with emotion, values ethics, standard and long-term goal (Northouse, 2013). As in Gore-Tex there is no layer of positioning among the staff members. They have different team and the team are led by team members. They all show the characteristics of transformational leadership. They come up with their own ideas and strategy which they put among their associates and convince them to follow. Not only ideas, but the contribution or effort they put will help them to show the direction through which they can achieve goal.
Comparing with the case study we can see that Gore-Tex influence there associates to come up with their idea and lead the group. Unlike in other company, associates in Gore-Tex do what is beneficial for the overall company. There is no pressure or fixed job assigned to the associates. So, they have to be leader when they come with their own innovative ideas. There is high level of trust among the employees within the company, which will help the leader to convince their follower. It is also said to be a leader you need to be a follower as well. We can also see when an associate come
with a new idea, they share with everyone so that other employee interested in the idea will support and contribute. As a leader in Gore-Tex you should understand that their job is to unite team member and organize them to accomplish the objective.
As we look into the Managerial Grid it helps us to give the idea about how leaders will help an organization to achieve its goal. This model is based on two factors that are “Concern for production” and “Concern for the people”.
This theory was introduced by Blake & Mouton, where they stated that leaders are likely to be successful if there is a balance between concern for people and the common objective. It can also be taken as a graphical plot where leader should evaluate the importance of task and the employees. As shown in the above figure leader’s behaviour are separated in two dimension, concern of the production fall in x-axis and concern of people falls in y-axis. It helps us to show the different leadership style followed by the leaders. The managerial grid also helps us to rate the leaders according to their orientation towards the production and the people. The leaders who values the importance of their team and is also focused in the personal growth of their team members while moving forward towards the objective belongs to the concern for people. Similarly, the leaders who are more focused towards achieving the concrete objective falls in concern for the production.
There are different types of leadership style shown by the Managerial Grid. They are as follows:
1) Country club leadership (1,9) :-
In this leadership style, leaders are usually focused in the maintaining their relationship with their people. They are more concerned about the creating a friendly and pleasant working environment. In this leadership style the outcome level of production in low.
2) Produce or perish leadership (9,1):-
In this leadership style, leaders basically focused on their work to be completed. There are less bother about the employees need and their personal development. Their main target is to achieve the objective. In this style
the production will be high and the concern for the people will be less.
3) Impoverished leadership (1,1):-
In this type of leadership, leader is neither much interested in maintaining relationship with people nor concerned about the production. This type of leadership style will lead towards less production and low satisfactory level of their people. It is likely to result in failure or dissatisfaction.
4) Middle of the Road Leadership (5,5):-
In this leadership style, leader tries to balance both the relation with employees and production. These kinds of leaders are average performers as they tries to maintain and compromise both the concerning factors.
5) Team leadership (9,9):-
The leaders are highly focused on maintaining both the production and satisfaction level of the people. This type of leadership will lead towards high production and satisfaction level. These leaders are also successful leader as they balances the both concerning factors to the maximum level. This kind of leadership will helps organization to achieve its objective.
When we look into the case study we can see that leaders in Gore-Tex are highly focused in maintaining the outcome of production and the relation of their fellow employees. They also have a strong relationship between the company and the associates. The member of the team is also focused towards reaching their target. The team leader will balance everything thing in a very high level. They will increase the production as well as help their people in the personal growth. As we know the (9,9) managerial grid explains that the employees understand the value of the organizations objective and is determined to achieve it. So, these characteristics can prove that, leaders in Gore-Tex belong to the (9,9) Team management where leaders are highly concern about the production and their people.
Motivation at Gore-Tex
“Getting the best from people, achieving results through individuals and teams, maintaining consistent high performance, inspiring oneself and other
into action is known as motivation” (Adair, 2004) In Gore-Tex motivation has been another key factor for the success of their business. They motivate their staff members by encouraging them to work in their own interested areas. The associates are allowed to choose their own work field. If you work at Gore-Tex you are not paid for your work but for the contribution you have made towards the project.
In Gore-Tex the associates will evaluate the contribution made by their colleagues and hence the earning is determined. This will lead to self-motivation where all the associates will be satisfied and there won’t be any discrimination. If Gore-Tex makes more profit than the company’s expectancy, it is divided among the leader and the associate though which can motivate staff member to be more focused towards their work. Another motivating factor at Gore-Tex is there is no restriction for anything. The information freely flows within the organization and anyone can directly contact anyone and get what they needed to be successful. (Hamel, 2010)Bill Gore was influenced by the theory of Douglas McGregor, “The Human Side of Enterprise”. It explained the theory X as the traditional view of direction and control and theory Y as the integration of individual and organizational goals. (Hamel, 2010)
Douglas McGregor has developed the above theory X and theory Y based from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In this theory he explains that management should be aware of this given factors to motivate their employees. Both the theories have factors that belong to human behaviour, but if the management choose the theory Y rather than theory X then they will have a better result. (Adair,2004) This theory simply explains the human behaviour at their work place and towards their organization. Theory X:-
Theory X explains that the human behaviour will try to ignore the work and will try to negotiate as much as possible. The reason for them to dislike or avoid the work is because they are controlled, pressurized, directed or used them to provide the adequate effort towards the organizational goal. As the employee is not willing to take the responsibility, a close supervision is required in form of supervisors and manager. When manager and supervisors take their action they mostly use directive style. In this way the employee will lose their working ambition. Theory Y:-
This theory explains that supervision, punishment, control are not only the factors that will make people to add effort in their work to achieve the organizational goal. If people are committed to the work then they will be give their best without anyone supervision. It also says that average employee will not only accept the responsibility but they will look for more responsibilities. The people have their own style of creativity and understanding. Organization should be able to use people the creativity, skills as a means of resource and solve their problem.
According to the case study, In Gore-Tex they are free to choose and work in their interested areas. There is no specific job assigned by their leader it’s only the contribution they make towards their work. They don’t have any form of close supervision to control them. There are only leaders and they help to guide them in moving forward towards their goal. The Gore-Tex follows theory Y as their motivating factor. People in Gore-Tex are highly motivated as there is independence in work and the environment within the company helps them to be responsible and to seek more responsibility.
Groups, Teams and Team leaders at Gore-Tex
“A group of individual who are united to achieve a common objective that is too large to achieve by single individual is known as team” (Boller, 2005). Team work is required in each and every business organisation. In Gore-Tex Team work Play a vital role in functioning and operating of the business. The team member in Gore-Tex plans own way of functioning, objectives and plans to achieve the goal.
The team members are the ones who elect their leader. Although leaders will help them to facilitate the achievement of objective, the team member will have the knowledge of the product they are working on. In Gore- the team members will decide the earning of the colleagues according to the contribution they have made towards the project. If an employee is interested in a project and feels like they can contribute, the team members will discuss the commitment and decide their involvement in new team.
The team members directly communicate between themselves easily and are aware of the changes happening in the company. Gore-Tex is a team based, Flat Lattice Organization where all team members are equally responsible to help each other to gain the objective. (Gore,
2013) Team work has always played a vital role in each and every organization. Team works helps the work to be more efficient, convenient, faster and easier. It also helps the work level to be divided among all the team members so that an individual alone will not be pressurized. An effective team work will lead an organization towards its goal. Now-a-days each and every organization is focused in creating effective teams.
Teams are usually build with respect, trust, understanding and similar goals. A team can only be effective if each and every member of team contributes equally.
There are different types of team according to its nature. They are as follows:
1) Functional teams
2) Cross functional teams
3) Self-directed teams
1) Functional teams:
These are the teams that work on particular department with the vertical layers. These are the team that has a manager and his fellowship of a particular sector. For example, a team working on a marketing sector consists of a manager and the staff members who will be focused in marketing department only. Basically it is a layer of staff members from different hierarchy functioning together in particular sector to achieve a goal.
2) Cross-functional teams:
The expertise of different department but will come and work together as a team to achieve the organization goal are known as Cross-functional team. The cross functional team are usually temporary. They have specialized skills and experience. They are bought together to achieve or complete a particular task.
3) Self-directed teams:-
These are the team that works without any supervision. These team take relative action themselves to solve day to day problems. These team members also have access to information that helps them in making decision, operating day to day function and improving their operation.
When we compare the different types of team with the case study we can see that the teams in Gore-Tex fall into self-managing team. They team member in Gore-Tex are self-responsible for the functioning and operating of the business. They don’t need any supervision and they are also allowed to access to all the information. The teams in Gore-Tex are also independent as they have greater flexibility. In Gore-Tex the team member has better response for their work done. It will help to increase more commitment towards their work and organization. We can also see that associates in Gore-Tex are self-motivated and they don’t depend on anyone.
Recommendation & Conclusion:-
From the above study we can see that in Gore-Tex leaders are using transformational leadership style to lead their people. They have been successful in motivating their staff to meet the company’s objective. Although we can see that in Gore-Tex they don’t assign any particular work for their associates the company is still doing well. They believe there should be trust and understanding between the team members.
The leader leading the team should be admired by their followers. The leaders also influence and help their associate in their personal development. The team members are self-motivated and help each other to function properly. We can also acknowledge that Gore-Tex has a very distinctive working environment. Although they are successful in running their business they should still maintain some rules and regulation within the organization. They should also create a hierarchy level because money is not only the motivating factor.
Employee can get motivated by their job position. As there is no seniority level in the company and if they hire a new staff member they might have misunderstanding which may lead to divided teams within the organization. As Gore-Tex is multinational company and they have branches in different part of the world. So, they should adjust their company’s policy putting diversity factors in account. They should at least have a department head that should be responsible for running day- to day operation. Gore-Tex doesn’t assign any task to their associates which may lead into missing of the task that was supposed to be competed.
As in Gore-Tex people get paid according to amount of contribution they make towards their work. This sometime may be demotivating as the associates may not be satisfied with the money they received for they contribution they made to complete the task. In overall, Gore-Tex should have a layer of hierarchy. They should also maintain some regulation which should be followed by all the associates. They should also introduce some professionalism such as formal communication in their organization. They use transformational leadership which might not work in each and every situation. As they are free to choose their task, associates who doesn’t like challenges will always choose easier task. So, the task level should be equally divided.
Gore-Tex company information available at www. gore.co.uk
Gore-Tex leadership Style available at www.gore.co.uk
Peter G. Northouse, (2013) leadership: theory and practice. 6th edition, California; Sega publications Neil Thomas Ed, (2004) The John Adair handbook of Management and leadership. Thorogood Garry Hamel, (2010) Innovation Democracy: W.L Gore’s original management model available at www.managementexchange.com Kendra Cherry,(2013) transformational leaders available at www.psychology.about.com Leadership image available at www.google.co.uk