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Genentech's Work Culture and Practices

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Case Details:

Case Code : HROB091
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 1976-2006
Organization : Genentech Inc.
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : USA
Industry : Pharma & Biotech

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Genentech's secret, anybody here (at Genentech) will tell you, is its culture."1

- A Fortune article, in 2006.

"The vast majority of our employees are motivated to come to work each day because they're making a difference in people's lives. Our people know that there are patients out there who benefit from what we're doing. This is a tremendous driving force for our culture and how our people think about themselves and our work."2

- Louis Lavigne, Senior Vice President and CFO of Genentech Inc., in 2004.

Genentech Recognized

In January 2006, Fortune, a prominent business magazine, published its annual list of the '100 Best Companies to Work For' in the United States. Genentech Inc. (Genentech), a major biotechnology (biotech) company, was ranked number one on the list. It was the first time that Genentech had been ranked first on the list, although it had featured on it for seven consecutive years since 1999. Genentech's Chairman and CEO, Arthur D. Levinson (Levinson), said that it was 'humbling' to be recognized by a magazine like Fortune. Talking about the culture at the company, he said, "We are a science-based company, and that is our core. But the real job satisfaction for employees is when great science becomes something that helps patients."3

Human Resource and Organization Behavior | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Human Resource and Organization Behavior, Case Studies

Apart from Fortune, Genentech had featured on the 'Best Employer' lists of other magazines like Working Mother and Science. In fact, Genentech had featured as one of the '100 Best Companies for Working Mothers' in the Working Mother magazine for fourteen consecutive years since 1992.

From the time it was set up in 1976, Genentech had nurtured a culture that provided its employees with a great deal of freedom. Employees were encouraged to derive enjoyment from their work, and to pursue projects that interested them.

Consequently, they were able to direct their skills and knowledge toward achieving Genentech's mission of "discovering, developing, manufacturing, and commercializing life-enhancing and life-saving medicines for patients with unmet medical needs," while working on projects they were passionate about.4

Genentech's Work Culture and Practices - Next Page>>

1] Betsy Morris, "Genentech: The Best Place to Work Now," Fortune, January 20, 2006.

2] "Genentech: Success and the Future of Biotechnology,", January 2004.

3] "Genentech Named Number 1 on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For,", January 9, 2006.

4] "Corporate Growth Strategy," (Accessed on December 15, 2006)


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