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Corning Incorporated The Growth And Strategy Council Case Solution

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1663 1679 Words (7 Pages) Rebecca M. Henderson, Cate Reavis MIT Sloan Management : 08056
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Corning Incorporated is a science based corporation that was established in 1851. It deals with multiple businesses related to the glass technology and has a rich history in inventing innovative products. Corning had four broad business segments; display technologies, telecommunications, environmental technologies and life sciences (Corning Incorporated, 2017). Since its commencement, Corning had been known for its innovation, which can also be termed as Corning's core strength. It had seen 150 years of glory and has witnessed the market practices changing enormously with the advent of widespread technology. Corning's CEO Roger Ackerman (from 1962 – 2001), was the principal agent behind its successful transition from the old economy into the digital age. He didn't let corning become complacent with all it had accomplished, rather than helped it stand firm, changing and adapting with the rest of the world (Chesbrough, 2013).

Following questions are answered in this case study solution

  1. Introduction

  2. Problem Identification

  3. The Growth and Strategy Council

  4. Change in Management Structure    

  5. The Decision Making Process    

  6. Recommendations

Case Analysis for Corning Incorporated The Growth And Strategy Council Case Solution

However just a year after Ackerman left Corning, it faced a downfall; Corning’s share prices fell dramatically because of the telecom crash and it had to lay-off thousands of employees. But Houghton, the CEO at that time, focused on R&D as a measure for Corning to hold back on its legacy of innovation. By 2008, Corning resiliently recovered from the downfall, and its stock prices started rising again. Innovation was the main ingredient in Corning's struggle to get back its glory. So much so that people from other companies saw Corning Incorporated as an amazing example of innovation strategy and crisis management.

2. Problem Identification

The decision-making methodology followed by Corning’s Growth and Strategy Council (GSC) has led the employees and management in concern. The decision-making practices followed by the GSC at Corning might lead to breeding political tensions among the business units. It might also not support the core objective of having an open and honest dialogue among the attendees of GSC’s meetings (Pettigrew, 2014).

Also, the management at Corning is also concerned about GSC’s ability to prioritize the issues to be discussed in the meetings as per Corning’s strategic objectives. Since GSC was formed, it had been dealing with issues that it had prior experience with. However, as they are expanding, the GSC might encounter issues with which it didn’t have any experience, or on topics with which the GSC team is not well-versed. This may affect GSC’s ability to take quick decisions. Furthermore, with its rate of innovation, it would be hard for GSC to keep up with the opportunities coming up its way. What methods should Corning adopt to ensure the efficiency and efficacy of its GSC?

3. The Growth and Strategy Council

The Growth and Strategy Council (GSC) at Corning is a management committee and key part of Corning’s governance model, which is responsible for governing Corning’s innovation pipeline i.e. looking after its innovation projects and programs. It sorts out Corning’s current portfolio, keeps a check on the pace of current innovation projects, executes them, and invests in expanding the portfolio. The GSC has the top management on board including the COO and CTO and is led by the CEO himself. One of GSC’s key role is to make sure that there is a balance between existing businesses and developing future ventures in order to let innovation flourish at Corning.

The Growth and Strategy Council was incorporated in 2001 after a meeting to let all the business sectors be synergized in terms of regulating the resources and create a sense of urgency among all of Corning’s business divisions. Besides, another most important reason for setting up the GSC was to centralize the research spending and have a holistic view of the organization's performance. The GSC had several meetings in a month having the core GSC team, top management personnel and other concerned people attending those. The GSC meetings were of key importance and discussed key projects and issues at hand.

4. Change in Management Structure    

The change in the management structure was beneficial to Corning as it brought the C-Suite executives on board to make important decisions after discussions with the stakeholders at GSC meetings. Moreover, having a centralized research facility had resulted in a synergized bandwidth, which has led to talent and knowledge sharing among the research and business groups at Corning. Also, the job rotation phenomena at Corning has stimulated knowledge flow across different business areas (Leider, Boschman, Frings-Dresen, & Molen, 2015).

After the change in management structure, the GSC had the top management on board as the core GSC team including the COO and CTO and is led by the CEO himself. The involvement of senior management in strategic decision making paradoxes results in business growth (Smith, 2014). 

One of GSC’s key role is to make sure that there is a balance between existing businesses and developing future ventures in order to let innovation flourish at Corning. GSC has multiple meetings each month to analyze the key issues and opportunities at hand and take quick decisions regarding then if possible. This allows Corning to look for the right opportunities and tap onto those to exploit its biggest capability (i.e. having comprehensive knowledge about glass technology acquired through extensive research and development) and ensure its competitive advantage (Thompson, Peteraf, Gamble, Strickland III, & Jain, 2013).

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