Essay by silverbulletUniversity, Master'sA, February 2003

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1) Cisco has done several things to distinguish themselves from the competition and gain a clear competitive advantage. First and foremost, John Morgridge created a positive working environment. When Lerner was demanding to be involved in day-to-day management decisions and creating constant tension because of her "disdain for managers," she was soon bought out after the IPO in 1990 (pg 2). Similarly, there was a "minimal hierarchy" within the company. Employees were treated as equals and no one was given any extra perks. Managers had a relatively small workspace compared to those of other companies and were often I the interior, while the support staff received a view (pg 3). Also, there were no reserved spaces in the parking lots and all employees flew coach on business trips. Furthermore, all employees were granted stock options upon being hired and annually thereafter (pg 3.) This promoted company pride and loyalty. Employees now had a stake in the company, which drove them to help make the company more successful.

As the company became more successful, they became worth more money.

Cisco also prided themselves on high customer satisfaction. In 1991, instead of having customer queries answered by several engineers who provided different answers to a certain problem, Cisco converted to an on-line application (pg 3). This policy was straightforward and allowed customers to become more familiar with their products. Likewise, customer satisfaction was such a high priority to Cisco that it began to tie into management compensation packages. After taking over for Morgridge, John Chambers arrived twenty minutes late to his first board meeting because he was assisting a dissatisfied customer. This was event was met with approval by the board (pg 4). It was practices like these that allowed Cisco to pull away from the competition and establish itself as a...