Groupe Danone is a French consumer-goods company headquartered in Paris. The multinational operates in all five continents, 120 countries, employing 90,000 people in four business lines: Fresh Dairy Products, Water and Beverages, Baby Food, and Clinical Nutrition. Its revenues in 2006 were 14 billion euros making it the third largest company in the sector only after Kraft and Nestle.
The organizational structure at Groupe Danone is highly decentralized. The country Managing Directors are empowered with entrepreneurial autonomy to undertake business decisions and are responsible for profit and loss outcomes. The company has a unique Knowledge Management system leveraging the “Networking Attitude” to share good practices within Country Business Units (CBU’s). The executive vice president of HR at Groupe Dannone, Franck Mougin, and organizational development director, Benedikt Benenati identifies the groups Knowledge sharing system as its key comparative advantage, and has placed numerous techniques to foster growth through Knowledge sharing. Informal, yet highly structured knowledge management techniques such as the “Marketplace”, the “Message-in-a-bottle”, the “T-shirt”, the “Who’s Who” and the “Communities” approaches have been incorporated to build the human connection at Donone. While the abovementioned approaches focus on transfer of good practices within the organization, its suppliers and buyers, the newly placed “co-building ” networking approach interconnect departments to build or innovate new products.
The numerous strategies to build the Danone corporate culture form a robust platform for knowledge management. In addition to extending the networking attitude “deeper” involving more employees, and “wider” involving partners, suppliers, customers and consumers, several small and simple strategies could be used to promote communication and exchange of good practices. For instance, opening subsidized in-house cafeteria. This would foster casual...
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