3m: a Culture Made for Innovation

Topics: Organizational culture, Culture, Terminal value Pages: 4 (1344 words) Published: May 18, 2013
3M stands for Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. It was founded by five businessmen in 1902 at the town of Two Harbors, Minn (3M, 2012). They originally financed the company to mine the mineral cornundum for grinding wheel abrasives but the investment became a failure because it turned out that the mineral was actually low-grade anorthosite (Goetz, 2011). After being done with mining, the founders bought a sand paper company but struggled on how to run it. Eventually, Lucius Ordway moved the company to St. Paul where 3M created some successful new inventions such as masking tape and cellophane tape (Goetz, 2011).

3M is known to have one of the most innovative work cultures. Over the years it has developed values and norms that are geared toward innovation. 3M believes its innovative work culture is a huge factor in its success. 3M Values

To promote creativity and innovation, 3M has developed cultural values and norms that allow for employees to feel empowered, to experiment, and to take risks in order to come up with new products.

Values are standards or guidelines that people use to figure out which types of behaviors, events, situations and outcomes are desirable or undesirable (George & Jones, 2012). Values can be divided into two categories: terminal and instrumental (George & Jones, 2012). A terminal value is defined as a desired end state or outcome that people seek to achieve (George & Jones, 2012). An instrumental value is defined as a desired mode or type of behavior (George & Jones, 2012). Instrumental values are what help an organization achieve its terminal values (George & Jones, 2012).

At 3M some very important terminal values are innovativeness, superior quality, sustainability, and customer satisfaction (3M, 2012). In order to fulfill these terminal values, 3M employees are expected to adopt certain instrumental values such as being creative, acting with honesty and integrity, working hard, taking...
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