Leadership Development at IBM

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Case Details:

Case Code: HROB147
Case Length: 17 Pages
Period: 1992-2011
Organization: IBM
Pub Date: 2012
Teaching Note: Not Available
Countries: Global
Industry: Information Technology

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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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Excerpts Contd...

Leadership Foundation

Leadership Foundation, considered as the second stage of leadership development, allowed the first formal contact with the leaders at the Global Leadership Development Organization. Managers identified the leadership potential each candidate possessed and supervised a learning program, usually a work-enabled learning program or an online self learning program. "The work-enabled learning is a very important component...

Emerging Leaders

Candidates who performed exceedingly well at the Leadership Foundation were sent to the next level of leadership program called Emerging Leaders...

Basic Blue

IBM launched its first manager development program in 1999 and named it Basic Blue. On completing the Emerging leaders program, each candidate was supposed to take on his/her first management role, known as 'Basic Blue'. The Basic Blue program involved an intensive examination of the individual manager's strengths and weaknesses and involved peer-to-peer training. After participation in the Basic Blue program, there were a range of developmental programs available which could be opted for based on the needs of the individual...

Other Initiatives

According to J. Randall MacDonald, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, IBM Corporation, "The ability of an organization to look ahead and identify the skills it will need in the future, and then rapidly develop a critical mass of individuals with those skills in a cost-effective manner, will be a core competency for those companies looking to compete in the globally integrated world."...

Risk of the Insularity?

Over the decades, IBM had received several accolades for its efforts to nurture leadership development at the company. The success of IBM leadership development was its orientation toward building leadership competencies for the near future. The leadership development initiatives and the succession planning helped the company immensely in making a smooth transition when a CEO retired from his post. At IBM, leadership development was used as a tool to socialize managers on key corporate values and build a strong, coherent culture...


Exhibit I: Operational & Financial Performance of IBM for the Period 1992-2001
Exhibit II: Operational & Financial Performance of IBM for the Period 2002-2010
Exhibit III: List of IBM CEO’s Since its Inception
Exhibit IV: Top Ten Companies for Leaders- Fortune 2011, Global List
Exhibit V: Best Practices Adopted at IBM
Exhibit VI: Leadership Traits at IBM


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