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Recommended Readings: Business Strategy

 

Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch multinational with operations in some 75 countries, is one of the world’s leading transnationals. In this article, Unliver co-chairman, Floris A Maljers provides an inside look at Unilever's evolution. Through all the changes, many based on trial and error, the company has maintained two consistent practices: developing high-quality managers and linking decentralized units through the "Unileverization" of those managers.

 

Many consider Unilever's managerial recruitment and training policies to be the best in the world. The company has a strong tradition of developing local talent in its subsidiaries. At the same time, the head office also expects managers to gain experience in more than one country or product line. According to Maljers, a matrix is only as good as the people in it. It can only work if everyone in the organization accepts and supports its flexibility.