Case | HBS Case Collection | August 2008 (Revised December 2010)

AMD Dresden: Copy Inexactly!

by Willy C. Shih

Abstract

The establishment and growth of AMD's Dresden, Germany manufacturing site illustrates how processes develop in an organization and how those processes get institutionalized into a unique culture. Located in the Free State of Saxony in the eastern part of Germany (the former GDR), AMD's investment in the region leverages a historic and rather unique skill base in engineering and the sciences and catalyzes the rebirth and growth of one of the largest semiconductor clusters in Europe. Contrary to conventional wisdom in the semiconductor industry, the Dresden team only copied from its home corporate locations in the United States those processes and practices that it felt would work in Germany rather than follow a "copy exactly" strategy. Dresden becomes AMD's sole worldwide manufacturing location for microprocessors, but now the company is faced with the question of whether it can successfully transplant the highly successful culture to other global locations because of favorable investment incentives.

Keywords: Geographic Location; Industry Clusters; Business Processes; Organizational Culture; Semiconductor Industry; Europe; Dresden;

Citation:

Shih, Willy C. "AMD Dresden: Copy Inexactly!" Harvard Business School Case 609-004, August 2008. (Revised December 2010.)