Flexibility as corporate philosophy
Iverson claims he never had a clear-cut corporate philosophy, although he did know that he did not want to associate Nucor Steel with the steel industry as a whole. He did not like Big Steel, with their inflexible bureaucracies and unions. Unlike Big Steel, Iverson kept Nucor relatively decentralized, allowing local managers to set the tone at their respective plants.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Kenneth Iverson, June 11, 1999. Interview I-0083. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
JM: This is side B of the first cassette of [an interview with] Mr. Iverson on the 11th of June, 1999. Let me just pose that last question again. I was asking if the day arrived when you had to stop and say, “Oh my goodness, I do have a coherent management philosophy, and I'll put a name or a label on it.”
KI: I don't know if I ever put a name or a label on it, particularly. We became more recognized as the company became successful -- as it was recognized as an innovator in the steel industry.
JM: Over time, how did you manage Nucor's reputation [and] image as against, say, big steel?
KI: [Laughs] I don't know exactly. I never had a lot of respect for the big integrated steel industries. They were inflexible. They were bureaucratic. They all had unions. They certainly weren't a cultural pack that I wanted Nucor to follow. Our philosophy really developed from the general managers. Each steel mill has a general manager. He reports directly to the corporate headquarters. He basically has a responsibility of running the business. Now of course there are some caveats with regard to treatment of people and with regard to participation in the insurance and the profit sharing, which are corporate wide. But basically he runs it, and he is the number one human relations person in that plant.