Human Resources

3M's competitive business strategy is based on innovation. 3M requires that at least 25 percent of its annual sales come from products introduced over the previous five years, a goal it often exceeds.

Specific HR programs adopted to implement this strategy include the creation of a special fund that allows employees to start new projects or follow up on ideas.

3M's "release time" program, in which workers are given time off during the day to pursue their own interests, is given credit for the creation of new products that management would not have thought of by itself.

In addition, the appraisal process at 3M encourages risk-taking. A senior manager at 3M says, "If you are threatened with dismissal after working on a project that fails, you will never try again."

1) What other types of HR policies might 3M institute to spur product innovation?
Would you like to work in this type of environment? Why or why not.

Motivating employees who are saddled with routine work has become a significant challenge for information systems (IS) managers.

In the 1970s, IS jobs were very exciting because IS managers were creating systems. Today, more and more companies are buying application programs rather than developing them in-house. This means that between 70-75 percent of systems work is now maintenance.

In addition, IS departments at many companies are still regarded as an expense rather than a strategic investment, and therefore, get little recognition for their efforts.

2) What types of job design strategies would you suggest to motivate under-appreciated IS workers?

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