International Business Strategy: General Management 2012-2013 -------------------------------------------------
Session 4: Learning Questions
Gabriella van der Veen
1. Which factors account for differences in strategies and structures of Philips and Matsushita? What are their distinctive competencies and incompetencies?
2. What are the key organizational challenges that each company is facing at the end of the case? What recommendations would you give to the respective CEOs?
The two companies, each from different regions of the world, have an extensive history that have caused for different cultures, strategies and structures to be implemented (Bartlett & Beamish, 2010: 301). Philips, as an European company with the “old boys network” originally had a structure that Bartlett and Beamish (2010) classify as the Decentralized Federation. It was a structure that was based on internal relationships. The National Organizations (NO) that were in place had informal power over their product divisions. However this structure led to great distance between the corporate management and its subsidiaries with information and knowledge not spreading fluently from one NO to the next. This fragmentation, which Bartlett and Beamish (2010) state as a limitation of this form of structure, increased costs and promotes inefficiency. The learning capacity of the organization was harmed. Philips therefore tried to stay afloat by making drastic cuts, reorganizing and implementing a Matrix structure, a popular phenomenon is the 1980s (Bartlett & Beamish, 2010: 300). However this lead to adjustment only in structure and not in culture, making it fail. When this was realized the company began to alter its structure again towards a Transnational Structure (Bartlett & Beamish, 2010) with a more integrated structure and where a vision that appeared to be lost was clearly reinforced, communicated and lived throughout the organization....
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