Analytical Essay on Evolution of 3M Corporation

3 pages
617 words
Vanderbilt University
Type of paper: 
Case study
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3M Corporation has established itself as a global leader in innovation and provision of products that help people's lives. Over the years, the company has undergone many management and structural changes which have lead to its success. For instance, the company was initially known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company before changing its name to 3M. At that time the company's initial goal was to mine corundum, but the company has over the years turned to other materials. Currently, the company produces approximately 60,000 products that are used in businesses, homes, hospitals, and schools. The company has experienced extensive growth in product development, and innovations since one-third of the sale of commodities from the firm were invented not earlier than the past five years (Garud, Gehman, & Kumaraswamy, 2011). The company's portfolio management which includes reorganization, divestiture and acquisition is the result of 3M's current structure.

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The company's collaboration and innovation culture was shaped by William L. McKnight and has continued to inspire the 3M through an innovative future. The Company has overseen many reorganizations of its structure, but its formula for success has been maintained for years which involves identifying the needs of customers and using the company's technology to initiate innovative solutions to attain the client's needs. 3M has used these two strategies to promote growth and increase its market share. Most of the corporation's current policies are developed on the foundation of innovation and collaboration developed in the early developmental stages of the firm (Garud, Gehman, & Kumaraswamy, 2011).

Some time back the corporation had six business divisions but in 2013 3M reorganized the segments and reduced them to five. The reorganization helped the company reduce operation costs via increased productivity, scale, and efficiency. Additionally, the move also helped the firm in the identification of a business area that would promote its growth. Through the strategies established during the early stages of its operations, 3M has managed to continually develop new products though it is through high expenditure on research and development. The company spends over 5 percent of its income in research and product development which has helped in sustaining its growth (Hill, Jones, & Schilling, 2014). The firm also collaborates with other businesses to promote the development of new products. For instance, in 2014 the 3M acquired the Treo Solutions that aided in strengthening the corporation's presence in the healthcare IT sector.

Analyzing the evolution of 3M Corporation from its establishment, the company has developed its goals through the use of business culture designed by William L. McKnight. The goals of the company are always derived from the idea of innovation and collaboration and innovation. As explained earlier, one-third of the current total sales of the company are recorded from the sale of commodities developed in the last five years. Also, it is imperative to note that the firm has collaborated with other businesses such as the Theo Solutions so enter into new markets to increase its total revenue. Additionally, not all the strategies are based on the long-term plans of the company developed in the past. The reason for the above can be supported by the fact that firm still supplies products that were first developed when the company was established (Hill, Jones, & Schilling, 2014). The sale of such commodities is small, and most these products are supported by the newly developed ones. It would be expected for the company to stop selling such products by either upgrading them or developing substitutes for them that will generate more revenue.


Garud, R., Gehman, J., & Kumaraswamy, A. (2011). Complexity arrangements for sustained innovation: Lessons from 3M Corporation. Organization Studies, 32(6), 737-767.

Hill, C. W., Jones, G. R., & Schilling, M. A. (2014). Strategic management: theory: an integrated approach. Cengage Learning.

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