Read the “Chipping Away at Intel” case below. In a paper of 750-1,000 words, address the following questions that relate to why organizations change.
- Of the environmental pressures for change (fashion, mandated, geopolitical, market decline, hyper competition, reputation and credibility), which one(s) was/were experienced by Intel, and what facts from the case support your choice(s)?
- Of the internal pressures for change (growth, integration, collaboration, reestablishment of organizational identities, new broom, and power and political pressures), which one(s) was/were experienced at Intel, and what facts from the case support your choice(s)?
- Are there limits to the changes that can be accomplished at Intel? Why or why not?
- Describe why it is important for change managers to have a clear, personal understanding about the pressures that lead to change.
Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines. An abstract is not required.
Directly quoted source material may not exceed 10% of the paper’s content.
Due to its inherent unreliability, Wikipedia is not considered an acceptable source for use in academic writing.
Craig R. Barrett sat reflecting on the fact that he was halfway through his tenure as the fourth CEO of Intel—only another three more years to go until his mandatory retirement age would be reached. He had come into an organization that Andrew S. Grove, chairman of Intel, had shaped into a major global technology company. He had replaced Gordon E. More but retained his principle of doubling micro-processor performance every 18 months while at the same time making it progressively cheaper. In this context, what would be Barrett’s legacy?
When Barrett came in three years ago, he took some bold moves, taking Intel beyond chip making for PCs into the production of information and communication appliances as well as services related to the Internet. Trouble is, the company was now in the worst shape that it had been for many years. Of course, every technology company had been affected by September 11, 2001; the slowing economy; and the potential threat of war with Iraq. But in Intel’s case this had been compounded with problems such as product delays and shortages, recalls, overpricing, and even bugs in its systems. Analysts were predicting that by the end of the year, Intel’s share of the PC chip market would be 9 percent worse than when Barrett had taken over three years earlier.
He had ploughed money into new markets but then had to withdraw from these. For example, Intel withdrew from the production of network servers and routers after copping flak from Dell and Cisco, its biggest customers for its chips, for directly competing with them in these other markets. He also closed down iCat, which was an e-commerce service for small businesses, providing Web broad-casting of shareholder meetings, and cut back on Web-surfing applications except in Spain. In Barrett’s mind, most of these withdrawals were a direct result of the downturn in economic conditions generally. There were also weak demand and over-capacity in the semiconductor industry with some researchers expecting a 34 percent fall in global sales of chips. Moreover, long-time rival Advanced Micro Devices had produced its Athlon processor chip, which turned out to be faster than Intel’s Pentium III chip. At the same time, people seemed to be more interested in how fast their modem connection was than in the speed of their computer chip. And September 11, 2001, hadn’t helped; before this catastrophe, Intel’s shares, at $26, were down 60 percent compared to their highest over the previous year. After September 11 they fell further—by October they were only $20.
Barrett felt that in this competitive—and segmented—market, Intel needed to be reorganized to make it more nimble. It also needed to be reorganized to avoid duplication and create better coordination. For example, the network operations group and the communications unit sometimes were in competition with each other, selling similar products to the same customers. Barrett engaged in a series of reorganizations during his first three years. In 1999 he created a new wireless unit that combined new acquisitions such as DSP Communications Inc. (a chipset supplier for digital communications) with Intel’s flash memory operations. In his second year, Barrett created the Architecture Group, which combined development and manufacturing of core processors. In his third year, he reorganized the Architecture Group and created a new unit consisting of a merger of communications and networking operations. For Barrett, these reorganizations were needed to enable decentralization and delegation of decision making all designed to make the company better coordinated and more nimble.
But there was so much reorganization over these years, trying to get the structure to work, that some commentators saw it as “shuffling execs like cards in a deck.” Following the March 2001 restructuring, with up to 80 percent of the staff in the micro processing unit being given new jobs, one customer thought that people seemed to be moved around a lot without them really knowing where they were going. A former general manager saw Intel as now “dabbling in everything and overwhelming nothing.” Other commentators claimed that another problem was that chip managers were now being put in charge of new markets and products about which they knew very little a charge denied by Barrett. There were also job cuts, with 5,000 jobs lost through attrition during 2001 and more expected.
At the same time, Barrett wanted to change the culture of Intel, drawing on outside consultants to assist him in the process. He wanted to move the mindset of Intel toward better customer relations and away from a perspective of being the only real competition in the marketplace. Strategically he decided to invest in research and development into new production technologies in order to cut chip-making costs. Reflecting on his time ahead, Barrett hoped that he would be able to increase sales and pull out in front of his competitors through these investments. But the jury was still out at this point: What would be his legacy by the time he retired?
- What were the different changes at Intel over the first three years of Barrett’s tenure?
- Of the environmental pressures for change dis-cussed in this chapter—fashion, mandates geopolitical, declining markets, hyper competition, and corporate reputation which ones were experienced by Intel?
- Of the internal organizational pressures for change discussed in this chapter that are associated with organizational change—growth, integration and collaboration, reestablishment of organizational identities, new broom, and power and political pressures—which ones were experienced within Intel?
- Are there other external or internal pressures for change that you can identify?
- What overall conclusions do you draw about why Barrett made the changes he did? Which issues were dominant? Why?
- What pressures for change might face Barrett in the future? How do you arrive at this assessment?
- What advice would you give Barrett for how to cope with these change pressures?
In May 2005 Craig Barrett reached Intel’s mandatory retirement age as CEO and moved on to become chairman of the company. He was replaced as CEO by Paul Otellini. In reflecting back on his tenure as CEO, Barrett felt proud that he had managed to keep his company profitable following the 2001 IT collapse. Intel also had kept its position as a leading chip maker.
But things had not always been easy for Barrett. Intel had thought that its Itanium processor was going to be the future of the server business, but the market thought otherwise. The chip was used in high-end servers, but the market was much smaller than had originally been hoped for. He also had expanded the company’s expertise in designing chips for mobile communications. This had mixed results. The Centrino mobile technology, used for accessing wireless networks, had taken off and its flash memory business was robust, but despite a great deal of hype around communications silicon and its Manitoba processor, no mobile phone manufacturer had yet used this processor.
In 2004 in what was referred to internally as “the right-hand turn,” Barrett engaged in strategy shifts, moving toward dual core architectures rather than simply producing faster and faster chip speeds. Canceling the 4-GHz Pentium 4 symbolized this shift. At the same time, he engaged in a reorganization of the company, putting in place new business units such as the Mobility Group, focusing on mobile devices, along with a Digital Enterprise Group, a Digital Home Group, a Digital Health Group, and a Channel Products Group. The future challenge was to make sure that work was coordinated across these different groups to enable the company to deliver high quality products. Barrett knew that this was going to be a big challenge for Paul Otellini over the coming decade.
- What new pressures for change faced Barrett in the last half of his tenure?
- How did he respond to these pressures? 3. If you were Paul Otellini, coming in as the new CEO, would you change anything? Why?
- If you were Paul Otellini, coming in as the new CEO, would you change anything? Why?