Read the following case study and answer questions regarding the story: Dow Chemical’s mission is to passionately create innovation for our stakeholders at the intersection of chemistry, biology, and physics. It intends to do so by maximizing long term value per share by being the most valuable and respected science company in the world. Its strategy is to invest in a market driven portfolio of advantaged and technology enabled businesses that create value for its shareholders and customers.
As Dow Chemical expands its global presence, it needs employees who have the ability to network and develop relationships with local commercial and government leaders. To develop global leaders, Dow had been sending high potential employees to a week of leadership development classes at its Midland, Michigan headquarters. After completing the classes, employees spent the next week in one of Dow’s international locations such as Shanghai, China or Dubai.
Each of these locations had Dow regional headquaters with work environments similar to what employees had experienced at corporate headquarters. Dow’s global manager for leadership development and its vice president for human resources both recognized that the program had a major weakness. The program was missing a hands on experience that would teach participants how to understand culture context.
Exposing participants to problems within different cultural contexts helps get learners to self reflect and confer how they deal with uncertainty and change. It also helps develop leaders who can understand what needs to be done in doing business in a new culture. Dow wanted to change the program to create a learning experience that would develop leadership skills.
Dow Chemical started a leadership in action program to meet needs of local markets that were business growth areas for Dow. These included Accra, where Dow helped determine where to grow plants that could provide medicine for malaria. Dow employees have worked on a number of other projects in Ethiopia, such as identifying sustainable practices for converting solid and liquid waste into fertilizer. Dow has since also deployed the Leadership in Action program to Indonesia and Phillipines.
Questions to address in Essay *********
- Why did Dow Chemical decide to develop the “Leadership in Action” program?
- What do you think is Dow Chemical’s business strategy, and how does their Leadership program contribute to that?
- The case study states that employee surveys after the program were positive (“participants feel they have a new view of the world”).
- What other outcome data, metrics or key performance indicators would you want to measure to determine if the program was successful?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of the “Leadership in Action” program compared to more traditional leadership development programs?
If you worked for Dow Chemical, would you want to participate? Why or why not?