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Cisco's Organization Culture

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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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Case Details:


Case Code : HROB069 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Case Length : 12 Pages
Period : 1984-2005
Pub Date : 2005
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Cisco
Industry : Information Technology
Countries : USA


The case focuses on Cisco's organization culture, which many feel, was responsible for Cisco bouncing back to profit after recording losses during the tech meltdown of 2001. The case looks at Cisco's growth through the years, the drivers of Cisco culture, and the characteristics of work culture at Cisco. Incorporated in 1984, Cisco had a culture based on the principles of customer focus, transparent communication, employee empowerment, integrity, and frugality.

The work culture, which epitomized fun and fostered a spirit of employee involvement, ensured that employee turnover was way below industry norms. Continuous Learning, an element of the Cisco culture, was taken care of even through acquisition and partnerships.

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

The case also looks into the role played by the company's CEO, John Chambers, in the evolution of the Cisco culture.


How an organization can use its culture as a competitive advantage

The elements of an organizational culture

What drives organizational culture

How culture evolves in an organization

The role of the top management in the evolution of an organizational culture


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background 2
What Drives Cisco's Culture? 3
The Work Culture 5
Recruitment at Cisco 8
'Built to Last' 8
Exhibits 10

Key Words:

Cisco, Organization culture, John T. Chambers,"friends@Cisco", Internet Culture,Networking Technology, Telecommuting, Cisco Culture, Work Culture, Organizational Structure, Employee Empowerment, Employee Stock Purchase Program, Organization Learning, Strategic Alliances, Cisco Leadership Series

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