Case | HBS Case Collection | May 1994 (Revised October 1994)

Motorola Corp.: The View from the CEO Office

by Shoshana Zuboff and Janis Lee Gogan

Abstract

Motorola, a leader in semiconductors and telecommunications, embarked on an ambitious program of renewal beginning in the early 1980s, leading to dramatic improvements in the company's quality, cycle time, and growth. Much of this progress was attributed to a major investment in workers' skills and in mechanisms that encouraged teams of employees to work on continuous improvement projects. In 1994 top management considered whether to promote a corporate-wide empowerment initiative that would encourage an unprecedented downward delegation of responsibilities. With very ambitious global growth goals, Motorola aspired to be "the finest corporation in the world," with an organization that was both more flexible and participative and dedicated to continuous improvement. The case focuses on the role of the CEO office in promoting corporate initiatives while preserving the $17 billion corporation's decentralized structure.

Keywords: Competency and Skills; Leading Change; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; Managerial Roles; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Structure; Corporate Strategy; Telecommunications Industry;

Citation:

Zuboff, Shoshana, and Janis Lee Gogan. "Motorola Corp.: The View from the CEO Office." Harvard Business School Case 494-140, May 1994. (Revised October 1994.)