IBM: Developing global leaders

Business in the Community Ireland

Company Description:
IBM is the longest established IT multinational in Ireland. Over 3,200 are employed in Dublin, Cork and Galway. IBM has a diverse portfolio of businesses in Ireland including sales and services, hardware and software manufacturing, software development, telesales and marketing, an International Financial Services Solutions Centre and a Corporate Treasury Centre. The primary focus of our CR activities is on developing initiatives to address specific societal issues, such as the environment, community economic development, education, health, literacy, language and culture. We employ IBM’s most valuable resources, technology and talent, in order to create innovative programmes in these areas to assist communities globally.

Business Issue:
As business becomes more fully integrated on a global basis and we open up our growth markets we need global leaders who are culturally aware, who understand growth markets and the link between CR, Community Service and business strategy.

Solution Applied:
The Corporate Service Corps (CSC) is a volunteer programme, launched in 2007, which places high-potential IBMers from different countries and business units into strategic emerging markets in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America to work on core societal challenges. It provides leadership development experiences for IBMers around the world, exposing participants to the 21st Century context for business-diverse cultures, policy environments and increasing demands for social responsibility. Each assignment lasts 4 weeks as part of a 6 month programme that includes preparatory and post-assignment activities. The programme is grounded in leadership development and business strategy so that it will be sustainable.

Company Benefits:

  • Developing new emerging leaders who will bring the company forward in the 21st century.
  • Cultural intelligence and global awareness.
  • Employee retention and commitment to IBM.
  • New knowledge and skill contribution.
  • Intrapersonal growth.

Stakeholder Benefits:

  • Improvements in internal business processes.
  • A very positive personal impact as well as benefits to the community clients and their locales.
  • According to the 2009 CSC external evaluation by Prof. Chris Marquis of Harvard Business School, the benefits indicated by the partner organisations include an increased self confidence of staff, increased motivation and pride in work, a greater ability to think strategically and new and stronger partnerships forged with other private sector, non-governmental organizations and governmental agencies, as a result of their work with the CSC.

Coordinating and integrating hundreds of IBMers from 40+ countries, executing programmes in 9 target markets with networks of partners and internal IBM subject matter experts. We had to do this from scratch, there was no precedent.

Determine very early in the process your core capabilities, focus on those, and outsource everything else.

Departments Involved:
Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs.

Solution Champion:
Deirdre Kennedy, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs manager,

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