Lincoln Electric Case Study

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This is my analysis of a Harvard Case Study prepared in 1981 of Lincoln Electric Company by Arthur Sharplin. While there are many citations throughout this essay, it is important to note that the ideas presented herein are that of Arthur D. Sharplin and James F. Lincoln. Lincoln Electric Company presents a unique, prime example of a wildly successful American manufacturing company. Starting with a basic philosophy of an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, treating employees as the Lincolns would want to be treated, John and James Lincoln built not just a company, but an impenetrable, competitive manufacturing empire where every customer, stockholder and employee are highly valued. John C. Lincoln, after a series of successes and…show more content…
Lincoln, John’s younger brother. James joined Lincoln Electric in 1907 when he had to leave Ohio State University after contracting typhus. James was determined to make Lincoln Electric strong financially. James went to the employees and asked them to elect representatives to an Advisory Board to advise the CEO twice monthly (Sharplin, 1981). This board has continued to function in this manner since. James knew that direct employee involvement would provide them with a stake in the outcome, and as such, trusted the advice of his advisory board, and through the years, would add suggestion programs, piece-rate compensation and a bonus program that is one of the cornerstones of the company’s…show more content…
Treating others as one would want to be treated permeated the culture of the company. Many never knew of James’ devotion to the teachings of Jesus, as he took it upon himself to walk the walk rather than proselytize, a quality from which many in America could learn today. “The company motto, ‘The actual is limited, the possible is immense,’ is prominently displayed but there is no display of religious slogans and there is no company chapel” (Sharplin, 1981). Fairness and equality are easily apparent qualities James exhibited, illustrated by the spartanly appearance of the management offices, and the incentive management plan reflects these qualities. Sharplin states: “As to executive perquisites, there are none – crowded, austere offices, no executive washrooms or lunchrooms and no reserved parking spaces. Even the company president pays for his own meals and eats in the cafeteria.” James F. Lincoln believed that the customer was the reason for the company’s ability to exist and that the customer should be rewarded with pricing that was indicative of reduced costs, not simply adding to the bottom line. “James Lincoln said, ‘that the customer's interests should be the first goal of industry.’”(Sharplin,

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