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Communication Best Practices at Dell, General Electric, Microsoft, and Monsanto

Donald P. Cushman, Sarah Sanderson King, Ted J. Smith III

Publication Year: 2003

Through case studies of communication best practices at Dell, General Electric, Microsoft, and Monsanto, this book provides specific and powerful theories for leadership, marketing, and stockholder communication. Best practice limitations are also revealed in the cases of IBM, the Bumper Works, and Asea Brown and Boveri, where organizational learning, a firm’s timeline, and corporate culture made implementation difficult. Taken collectively, these case studies suggest several ways in which benchmarking can become an important research methodology and theorist tool for understanding excellence in organizational practice.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Communication Best Practices at Dell, General Electric, Microsoft, and Monsanto

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

In 1984, the University of Hawaii, East-West Center in Honolulu, and Harvard University provided research grants and/or support to begin an inquiry into the criteria high-tech firms employed in site selection. Armed with letters of introduction from Harvard University, we began interviewing the top management of high-tech firms located ...

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1. The Benchmarking of Organizational Communication Best Practices

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pp. 1-12

While leading-edge organizations have long understood and valued the benchmarking of best practices as a firm’s most important theoretical and practical learning tool (Port et al. 1992, 75; Taylor 1999, 1), the field of communication has only recently begun to pursue this strategy as an important learning tool (King and Cushman 1994, 1995, 1997). ...

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Part 1: Benchmarking Foundational Communication Processes

In Part 1 we will benchmark the world class performance of four firms: 1. The Dell Computer Corporation’s development of a world-class rapid-response communication system for interacting with all of a firm’s stakeholders. 2. The General Electric Company for developing a world-class ...

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2. Best Practices at the Dell Computer Corporation: Benchmarking a High-Speed Management Communication System

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pp. 15-30

Fraker, writing in Fortune described a new set of economic forces which were dramatically affecting organizational performance. These forces included (1) quick market saturation, (2) unexpected global competition, and (3) rapid technological breakthroughs. These forces taken collectively required a new management theory ...

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3. Best Practices at the General Electric Company: Benchmarking a World-Class Leadership Communication System

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pp. 31-60

In February 2001, General Electric was named Fortune’s “Most Admired Company” for the fifth year in a row and named the World’s Most Respected Company by the Financial Times for the fourth time (Immelt 2001, 1). Jack Welch is the CEO of GE and he is considered one of the world’s most successful leaders. In 1999 he was named ...

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4. Best Practices at the Microsoft Corporation: Benchmarking a World-Class Marketing Communication System

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pp. 61-80

The Microsoft Corporation is considered by most observers to be one of the most competitive firms in the world. In 2000, Microsoft became the most valued firm in America with $525 billion in stockholder investments. In 1999, Microsoft was selected in polls conducted by the European Financial Times as the most innovative firm ...

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5. Best Practices of the Monsanto Company: Benchmarking World-Class Annual Reports

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pp. 81-102

As every investor knows, the coming of spring is marked not only by late snow storms and early-blooming flowers, but by the sudden efflorescence of another form of hardy perennial, the corporate annual report. Produced each year by over 11,000 publicly traded American companies at an estimated cost of more than $4 billion, and distributed ...

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Part 2: Limiting Factors in Implementing Best Practices

In Part 2 we explore and illustrate three major limiting factors to implementing the benchmarking of organizational best practices: 1. organizational learning capabilities as a limiting factor in IBM’s PC unit’s attempt to implement the benchmarking of the Dell Computer firm’s best practices; ...

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6. Organizational Learning as a Limiting Factor: A Case Study of IBM’s PC Unit

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pp. 105-116

In a provocative five-year study of 500 multinational organizations, the Ernst and Young consulting group suggested that most of the firms they studied lacked the organizational learning capabilities to engage in the benchmarking of world-class performance. Even more provocative was the study’s conclusion that an organization ...

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7. Time as a Limiting Factor: A Case Study of the Danville Bumper Works

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pp. 117-120

It also requires patience, perseverance, and, more often than not, time to work through, in interactive communication, the process of adapting what has been learned to one’s own organization in order to meet the firm’s own targets and goals as well as those with whom the firm may have an alliance. When there are two firms involved, ...

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8. Culture as a Limiting Factor: A Case Study of ABB

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pp. 121-136

At the core of an organization’s integration, coordination, and control processes are its prescriptive values, rules, reward and punishment systems—its corporate culture. A culture is a complex of values which contains a vision of that culture’s ideal of excellence (Weaver 1964). A culture in this sense is an orientation system from which ...

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Part 3: The Significance of Benchmarking Backbone Communication Processes

In Part 3 we explore the significance of the backbone communication processes located in each of our four benchmarking studies undertaken in part 1. More specifically, we will explore the following: (1) The use of firm profiling by the Dell Computer Corporation to guide the content of effective interaction with a ...

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9. Backbone Communication Processes in the Benchmarking of Best Practices: The Development of Organizational Communication Theory

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pp. 139-152

An organization’s stakeholders consist of its management, workers, suppliers, investors, partners, and customers. What Jack Welch is suggesting in the above quotation is that in order to “harvest every volt of passionate energy,” “engage every mind,” and “bring excitement” to their lives, these stakeholders must be in active communication ...


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pp. 153

E-ISBN-13: 9780791486788
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791457399
Print-ISBN-10: 0791457397

Page Count: 153
Illustrations: 10 tables, 1 figure
Publication Year: 2003