Global Connecations through Technology (A)

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Global connections through technology

Case I: Procter and Gamble

Delong, et al (1999) discusses the attempt by Procter and Gamble to introduce Global business services as part of standardizing work processes, capitalizing on new technology and scaling to new heights. The company contemplated of setting the unit as a separate entity, contract with external companies, outsource, or keep GBS in-house. Identifying and training the workforce became strength to the company as workers became more devoted to work making it a great workplace. The services provided by GBS were employee services, technology services, information services, purchases, financial services and customer logistics, and accounting and finance services spread in all the continents. Quality of service and cost savings was impressive but the business environment needed speed and flexibility. The company had to rely on commercializing and developing brands and products which was its core competency. Brainstorming sessions were undertaken but top executives showed conflict of interest. Some of the issues arising are reactions of GBS employees, cost savings strategy led to contempt among employees, and frequent employee departures and transfers. Moreover, the need to outsource services provided by GBS demanded capabilities and expertise in purchasing, finance and accounting. Human-capital considerations guaranteed employment, length of employment, salaries, and credit year of service but required cultural compatibility. Although the company made losses in 2000 and 2001 they received numerous awards. The core values of P&G are its people, leadership, ownership, integrity, passion for winning and trust. The principles include respect for all, interest in the company, strategic focus, innovation, personal mastery and mutual interdependency.

Recommendations and lessons learned

  • P&G should have psychologically prepared employees through change management regarding the changes resulting from GBS to lower resistance. P&G should let go of the business process outsourcing because it lacks the expertise and control.

  • Employees should take up new contracts with new terms and conditions. If need be, the company should hire new employees with better understanding of the GBS systems.

  • P&G should get a number of companies that offer training and development of employees and manage their transition. Few suitable partners in the IT, logistics and accounting should be sought using the rational approach

  • The prized culture that has been created in the company can align well with the spin-off approach because the company will have more control over its processes and people.

  • The company should consider taking a medium term plan of about three years for implementation and resolution of any issues that arise from disruption

  • Bottom up approach should be used to communicate feedback and success should be measured in whether or not the milestones have been achieved

I have learned that the introduction of new systems and technologies to an organization can help in saving costs and increasing quality of work. However, changes in an organization can be disastrous as employees may remain skeptical about the changes and create resistance. I also learned that the company should have an implementation plan and a metric system to track and monitor progress to ensure that the company achieves it goals. In addition, the changes should be aligned with the goals, mission and vision of the organization.

Case II: Strategy for Managing Knowledge

Companies as observed by Hansen, et al (2005) can adopt systems to share knowledge or stored in databases for others to access. Companies can adopt codification or personalization strategies depending on the capacity of chief executives to safeguard investments and decisions on knowledge management. Ernst & young and Andersen Consulting used codification strategy where they secured more work, less time tracking and talking to people, and they were able to save time. On the contrary, firms like McKinsey and Bain using personalization strategy did not focus on knowledge objects but people through brainstorming sessions. This allowed for learning and network of people with experience were firms develop electronic document systems. Different strategies demand different drivers such as creation of value for customers, turning a profit, and managing people, and can apply to different sectors from high tech to health care. For example, Dell Company has invested in electronic repositories based on codification approach while Hewlett-Packard uses a personalization approach to develop innovative products. Knowledge can be used sparingly to deliver standardized solutions but innovation that is unnecessary can be expensive by using up a lot of resources. Choosing the right and competitive strategy should be based on the ability to offer customized or standardized products, mature or innovative products, and tacit or explicit knowledge that solves the problems. Knowledge management should be used as a competitive strategy and coordinate with IT and HR.

Recommendations and lessons learned

  • Knowledge management should be implemented companywide across the different functions and taken up with some seriousness by top management

  • The model used in knowledge management should remain the same despite the changes and maturity of services and products

  • The company should know the value and position of knowledge management so as to align competitiveness and support from knowledge systems

  • Customized products are better as customers are able to meet their unique needs as codification is limited and variation is dramatic

  • Companies should take up both codification and personalization approaches sparingly to capture both explicit and tacit knowledge

  • Firms should integrate knowledge management in all the functional areas but more so IT and HR

  • Managers should be prepared for sophisticated and large electronic repository systems using different IT infrastructures and one that allows people to find other people

  • Managers will need to reward people through real incentives so as to get motivated in the knowledge sharing process

In this case study, I learned that there are two strategies used in knowledge management sharing; codification and personalization. I found out that companies in the same industry and line of business can exploit different knowledge management strategies based economic models, knowledge management strategies, information technology, and human resources. Also, I learned that different strategies demand the use of suitable drivers to create value, manage people, and make profit. Interestingly, several companies ranging from health care and high tech have used one or both approaches to obtain stunning results.


Delong. T.J., Cabanas, A., Brackin, W., Shellhammer, P. & Ager, D.L. (2005). Procter & Gamble: Global Business services. Harvard Business School.

Hansen, M.T. Nohria, N. & Tierney, T. (1999). What’s your strategy for managing knowledge? Harvard Business Review, 3(2): 1-10.