3M Industry, Organizational Structure, Management Philosophy

3M industry, organizational structure and management philosophy, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, case study, case analysis
A roll of duct tape under the Scotch brand, one of 3M’s brands. 3M uses its organizational structure and management philosophy to succeed in the industry. (Image: Public Domain)

The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M) started in the early 1900s in Minnesota. The company is frequently regarded as an innovator and contributor of new products and ideas. 3M was the first to introduce waterproof sandpaper. The company was also the first to introduce masking tape. The company is known for its innovative position in the industry. Innovation in the organizational culture of 3M is a major factor that contributes to business growth and development. Success in this business is linked mainly to innovation. Thus, 3M is a major industry player because of its innovative capabilities.

This article gives a brief overview of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M), its industry, organizational structure and management philosophy.

Industry: 3M’s Operations, Diversification and Stability

The operations of 3M are mainly in the manufacturing industry. Almost all of the products of the company are developed and manufactured at its facilities and distributed worldwide. The company has a number of businesses mainly within the manufacturing industry: healthcare products, consumer products, electronics, and transportation products.

The significant diversification of 3M’s business is a way for the firm to address various product demands in the market. This diversification also helps stabilize the company. The global scope of 3M’s business is also a factor in this stability. As a global firm, the company profits from various markets. This condition helps reduce business exposure to shocks and decline in one or a few markets.

3M’s Organizational Structure

The operations and characteristics of 3M are connected to the company’s organizational culture and organizational structure. The firm’s culture and structure influence business performance. Business performance and market conditions also affect decisions on organizational structure and culture. Thus, the characteristics of 3M are partly a product of its target markets and how its structure and culture develop.

3M’s organizational structure is mainly hierarchical at the corporate level. The company is very large. This large organizational size requires top leaders to have strong command and control of the business. For such command and control to be realistically achieved, 3M needs to maintain a hierarchical structure.

However, 3M has operations in different types of markets, such as healthcare, electronics and communications, and transportation. As a result, the company also maintains a departmental organizational structure under the larger corporate hierarchical structure. This departmental organizational structure ensures that 3M’s different businesses are properly managed. Also, because each department is large, departments have their own unique structures. The structure of one department could be a matrix structure while the other could be more hierarchical. The matrix organizational structure is used in R&D to support 3M’s innovation through employee contributions.

3M’s Recent Performance

Another point of interest on 3M is that the company rebounded after the 2008 recession. The company gained significant profits and an increase in share price starting 2012. 3M also shows continuing stability in the global market. The firm maintains stable performance despite global competition. 3M continues to innovate to ensure long-term competitiveness.

Management Philosophy

3M’s management philosophy involves three main points: innovation, diversification and support for employees. Innovation is at the heart of the company. 3M is known for innovative products that continue to compete after many years in the market. The company is highly diversified in terms of industry and market. The brand remains popular and continues to expand globally. Also, 3M supports employees to empower them to contribute to the innovation process.

References
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  • U.S. Department of Commerce (2015). Manufacturing Industries.
  • U.S. Department of Labor (2015). Industries at a Glance: Manufacturing.
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2015). 3M Lean Six Sigma and Sustainability.