Transferring Innovation Across National Boundaries
In today’s ever changing competitive global market organizational redesign is often necessary. No industry/company is exempt from this change, as Minnesota Biolabs (MB) experienced firsthand the need to redesign the way it conducted operations across the 20 countries it operates in. The change undergone by MB, involved introducing a breakthrough method for testing for sepsis infection; known as Sepsis Detection Test (SDT). In lieu of utilizing live rabbits for testing, horseshoe crabs were used. SDTing involved the extraction of about 30 percent of horseshoe crab blood and once testing was completed the crabs were returned to the ocean unharmed (Zweig, 2014). MB purchased the company that developed SDT and began to utilize this form of testing. This new form of testing soon became the new standard across the United States. Given the proven success of this method, MB sought to expand this method globally into the other markets it occupies. MB- France, MB-Germany, MB-United Kingdom, and MB-Japan, were all willing to move to the new form of testing (Spector, 2013).
A trigger event is “a shift in the environment that precipitates a need for organizational change” (Spector, 2013, p.14). The onset of the 21st century saw a shift in animal right practices. Animal rights had become increasingly important. A considerable example was, “The universal declaration of animal rights presented to UNESCO in 1978 by a large number of animal protectionist leagues. Among other things, it asserts the right to life, the right not to be maltreated, and the right to be put down without suffering or anxiety when this is necessary” (Pocar, 1992). Given the amount of influence that animal rights activist group have, Minnesota Biolabs must have concluded that changes to the industry were inevitable (Brosnan & de Waal, 2013; Guither, 1998). Seeking an early competitive advantage, Minnesota Biolabs sought a new way to test for sepsis.
Minnesota Biolab’s evaluation of the direction of the animal testing industry proved correct; when a company Rhode Island found a way to test for sepsis without killing animals (Spector, 2013). The test was known as the Sepsis Detection Test (SDT) (Spector, 2013). Scientist have found that because the horseshoe crab lives in shallow water, it has developed a defense against infection (Zweig, 2014). Therefore, over 600,000 crabs, donating about thirty percent of their blood each, are captured each year to help scientist test for sepsis (Zweig, 2014).
According, to De Guinea & Webster (2013), “When trigger events are reacted to properly an organization can benefits can range from a larger market shares, increased profits to goodwill in the community”. As evident by the increased profits (less cost associated with the procurement of crabs versus rabbits, plus the elimination of corpse disposal cost) and greater market shares, one can deduce that MB’s reaction to the trigger event was right. Moreover, through this process MB underwent an organizational redesign. According to Spector (2013) organizational redesign, “the process of changing an organization’s informal design in response to the shifting dynamics in the organization’s environment. As the world became more animal rights conscience, MB shifted their practices to reflect the shifting environment.
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