Globalizing a Function within a Company

Globalizing a Function within a Company

Theresa Rich (Change Management Consultant, General Motors Corporation, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-106-3.ch036
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Abstract

This case study presents the work done to develop and execute the global vision for a 24/7 matrix organization within a major multinational corporation. Following a literature review describing the opportunities and challenges of a global virtual matrix organization, it presents a McKinsey 7-S (Gluck, 1985) type analysis of this organizational change. At the time this is written, the organizational change is being implemented. The discussion is presented from the vantage point of two of the Change Management consultants that have been engaged to facilitate this work. Specifically discussed is how technology is employed as an enabling element to global collaboration working in virtual teams. While high tech is absolutely necessary to this globalization effort, equally necessary is a high touch approach to build relationships and trust across the organization.
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Leveraging The Global Footprint

The global vision is to take advantage of the organization’s size and global reach so that the workforce and workload may be optimized across the globe. Development of this global vision was created by the top executives in the parent company in concert with the board of directors. The strategies to carry out the vision were created by the senior leaders in the function who represented the major global regions. The major global regions were allocated and assigned to six geographic centers. This senior leader team then identified 11 major “practice areas” or “key functional deliverables” which would need to be made common in order to share work across the six centers and work on a 24 hour clock. That is, theoretically, when work is completed on a deliverable in one regional center and their work day is complete, the work can be electronically continued by another region and center where the team is just beginning their work day.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Trust: The four elements of behavior, goodwill, capability, and self-reference/identity (Henttonen & Blomqvist, 2005).

McKinsey Seven-S (7-S) Model: The McKinsey 7-S model (Gluck, 1985) contains the interrelated elements of a shared vision, strategy, structure, systems, staffing, skills, and style.

Global Virtual Team: A globally dispersed group with members in and from more than one country who are working to achieve a shared objective.

Techno-churn: When technology updates occur with such a frequency that not all team members are using the same technology or version of the specific technology.

Subject Matter Expert (SME): An individual with deep expertise and experience in a technical area within a function.

Computer-Mediated Processes: Communication is mediated by technology, rather than conducted face-to-face.

Matrix Organization: A matrix organization is a “grid-like organizational structure that allows a company to address multiple business dimensions using multiple command structures” (Sy & D’Annunzio, 2005, p. 40).

Work on a 24 Hour Clock: Work continues constantly. When work is completed on a deliverable in one regional center and their work day is complete, the work can be electronically continued by another region and center where the team is just beginning their work day.

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