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Innovation Aspects at 3M Company


The primary goal of the company is to retain its reputation as a highly innovative and forward-oriented manufacturer that focuses on new products that have a visible impact on the market (Regani & George, 2007). Although 3M had successfully claimed a significant market share in China, it also significantly reduced the scale of its operations in other locations and needs to regain its share in these markets (Regani & George, 2007). 3M needs to establish a clear connection between different organizational cultures through leadership in order to enhance its operations, accelerate product development, and decrease the lag between its market release (Thomke, & Nimgade, 1998).

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George Buckley replaced McNerney in 2005 and had a difficult time reaching the same productivity as the previous CEO due to the focus on long-term goals, not counting his lacking charisma (Regani & George, 2007). The time when McNerney was the CEO and placed a significant emphasis on marketing and rapid growth left a significant positive imprint on the company’s employees, yet the focus must remain on R&D (Regani & George, 2007). The company’s organizational culture varies significantly between divisions, as 3M operates in numerous industries simultaneously (Regani & George, 2007). This notion makes major structural changes more difficult to accept.


The implementation of emerging leadership strategies can improve the company’s competitive advantage and the overall image as a flagship of innovations on the market, which will invite new investors. The value of a long-term plan for the improvements within the R&D departments of the company must be delivered to all employees to increase their trust in the new CEO. Thorough research and accommodation of cultural differences within 3M will allow the company to make future restructuration initiatives to be accepted more willingly.


Regani, S., & George, S. (2007). James McNerney and 3M: Making a good company better? (807-042-1) ICMR Center for Management Research.

Thomke, S., & Nimgade, A. (1998). Note on lead user research (9-699-014). Harvard Business School.

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