Case | HBS Case Collection | August 2008

Du Pont: The Birth of the Modern Multidivisional Corporation

by Richard S. Tedlow and David Ruben

Abstract

Du Pont's realization in 1921 that its "U-form" corporate structure was ill-suited to its new diversification strategy led to a pioneering new kind of organization—the "M" or multidivisional form—that has been called the most important innovation of capitalism in the 20th century. This case examines how and why this pivotal transformation took place and what its implications may be for corporations that are trying to align their structure with their strategy as they undergo rapid growth and change.

Keywords: Change Management; Innovation and Invention; Growth and Development Strategy; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Structure; Alignment; Corporate Strategy;

Citation:

Tedlow, Richard S., and David Ruben. "Du Pont: The Birth of the Modern Multidivisional Corporation." Harvard Business School Case 809-012, August 2008.