RIM/Blackberry Still Struggling with Acquisitions and Employee Fears

I thought this article in today’s Wall Street Journal illustrates the challenges of integrating acquisitions as well as preserving employee morale during crises:

At the time of the acquisitions in 2010, Mr. Lazaridis insisted that both companies stay in their respective home cities of Ottawa and Malmo, Sweden, largely to allow them to continue developing their technology while avoiding the bureaucracy at RIM’s Waterloo campus, according to people familiar with the matter.

This all didn’t sit well with existing RIM employees working on other projects, according to these people. Executives would also often set staffers working on different projects to work against each other, a tactic from

RIM’s early days meant to drive creativity and productivity, but one that often led to resentment and less cooperation, according to people close to the company.

Mr. Heins has tried to remedy that internal strife since taking over by focusing on the BlackBerry 10. But it is still widely believed at the company that RIM employees who are not working on the new device are in jeopardy of losing their job, say current employees and those close to the company.

“Anyone working on [the new operating system] is safe,” said one current RIM employee. “Anyone working on legacy projects is preparing their resumes. I don’t know anyone that isn’t going to take a buyout if they offer one.”

We conducted peer-reviewed research on how leaders can preserve morale and foster innovation during crises, and let’s hope that the new leadership at RIM understands the importance of building the ROCC of Trust if it is to succeed in its goal of taking on the competition from Android and Apple smart phones.


Growth Through Greater Trust and Control

For decades, management scholars and consultants have debated whether building trust in an organization runs counter to exercising greater control over employees.  Certainly, using formal tools such as monitoring employees’ behavior and communications makes it harder to earn their trust, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all forms of control are inherently trust-inhibiting or trust-violating.

My colleagues Gavin Schwarz and Karen and I have just published a peer-reviewed book chapter on how an organization has grown to over $200 million per year in annual revenues by building greater trust and control at the same time.  If you’d like to read it, here it is.