COCA-COLA: WHAT EMPLOYEES OF THE COCA-COLA COMPANY SAY ABOUT THEIR JOBS
COCA-COLA: WHAT EMPLOYEES OF THE COCA-COLA COMPANY SAY ABOUT THEIR JOBS
The Coca-Cola Company produces approximately 400 beverage brands in over 200 nations around the world. It is the world's largest non-alcoholic beverage company. In 2009, net operating revenue was just under $24 billion and operating income was $6.4 billion.
The Coca-Cola Company describes itself as “a local employer, with responsibility to enable our people to tap into their full potential; working at their innovative best and representing the diversity of the world we serve.” Encouraging performance excellence by creating meaningful and involving jobs seems to be a hallmark of Coca-Cola’s approach to employee motivation throughout its global operations. According to the company’s web site, “[e]ach employee of The Coca-Cola Company helps lead our success in the beverage industry by committing to benefit and refresh everyone who is touched by our business.” Coca-Cola’s Web site also states, “[w]hen pride, passion and drive come together, you get the professionals of The Coca-Cola Company. We’re looking for individuals who want to make a difference, develop and inspire others, drive innovative ideas and deliver results, and who live our values.”
In recruiting prospective employees, The Coca-Cola Company encourages people to “[b]ecome one of the secret ingredients that make our company so refreshing.” When the question ⎯ “What are the secret ingredients that make your job at The Coca-Cola Company so refreshing?” ⎯ was posed to a group of current employees, several responded with answers that provide insight into how jobs are designed at The Coca-Cola Company. Here is what some North American employees said, in their own words.
Hector, Supply Chain General Management:
“Professionally, I feel rewarded as there are many new challenges, which allow me to grow, learn and explore.”
Joycelyn, Brand Management:
“Based on my background, they [recruiters and managers at The Coca-Cola Company] were convinced I had the cultural understanding and sensitivity, as well as the specific marketing expertise, required to deliver against the Hispanic marketing department’s business objectives and goals.”
Mary Page, Strategic Planning:
“My job at The Coca-Cola Company is to facilitate development of the strategy of a global, Fortune 100 company. By definition, there are very few places where one can do that, and it is fascinating. I can say without a doubt ⎯ I love my job. … The bar is set high at The Coca-Cola Company. We attract the best and brightest from all over the world. I feel privileged to work with so many smart people from such diverse backgrounds. They show me many different ways of thinking about not only our business, but the world. … Having the ability, and the willingness, to learn from each local market ⎯ to scale the best ideas globally and to capture the learnings from less successful experiences ⎯ gives us a truly unique competitive advantage. … You have the opportunity to explore, learn and grow, all within the system that is Coca-Cola.”
Rebecca, Global Marketing:
“Our work makes people happy. We provide optimism through our brands, and we refresh many different people every day. The work I do gives a framework that connects people around the world. … I have had an opportunity to help the company regain its leadership position as the most respected marketing company worldwide. … My experience at The Coca-Cola Company has probably changed my life. It has helped me develop as an individual, opened my mind to cultures and perspectives and has exposed me to life-changing experiences.”
Tor, Sales Director:
“There are even broader opportunities for personal and professional growth. In this environment, I feel that it is my responsibility to take on where my passions lie. I can in fact, create my own career destiny.”
Tania, Information Technology General Management:
“We work at a real level that connects directly with billions of people around the globe each and every day. … The ideas, the markets, the portfolio of brands and approach, it’s like a small company where you can make an impact and see the difference. It’s where a little gem of an idea can and has turned into something extraordinary. The [c]ompany encourages and supports you being ‘fluid’. You can look beyond your job description to other ideas you might have. You’re not just doing a j-o-b. You have the freedom to innovate and execute your ideas. It’s really like a big and small company all in one.”
Vikram, Strategic Growth:
“I’ve been with The Coca-Cola Company for a short time and I can already see the meaningful significance that The Coca-Cola Company makes in the world. Many of our products are sold at small ‘mom and pop’ stores. The margins the owners receive on our products often impacts their ability to support their family, and gives them an opportunity to send their kids to college. … The value that we create and share is more than just providing a refreshing beverage. We truly have global impact and are making a difference.”
Alex, Strategy and Business Development:
“I joined The Coca-Cola Company because of the opportunities to work, socialize with and learn from a diverse group of talented individuals who have made wonderful results happen, and to make tangible changes to businesses that are currently facing challenges. I appreciate the variety of people and business issues I come across every day, and the impeccable support I get from country and function experts. Now I have a common topic with everyone I run into everywhere – family, friends, former colleagues, taxi drivers, immigration officers, etc, who all wear a smile when they hear what I do and are eager to share stories and ask questions relating to our company.”
From a job design perspective, how would you interpret what these employees of The Coca-Cola Company say about the secret ingredients that make their jobs so refreshing?
1. Research on lottery winners suggests that employees at Coca-Cola, despite their evident job satisfaction, are likely to quit working after a big win.
2. Tor feels “that it is my responsibility to take on where my passions lie.” It appears that Tor will take the initiative to shape his job according to those passions. What does this describe?
a. Social information processing
b. Scientific management
c. Job enlargement
d. Job crafting
3. Coca-Cola’s job designs seem to be founded on Taylor’s scientific management principles.
4. When Rebecca states, “Our work makes people happy. We provide optimism through our brands, and we refresh many different people every day. The work I do gives a framework that connects people around the world,” what job dimension is she describing?
a. Task significance
b. Task identity
5. When Hector states that he is rewarded by the many new challenges his job gives him to grow, learn, and explore, what core job dimension is he describing?
a. Knowledge of the results of the work activities
b. Experienced meaningfulness of work
c. Task significance
d. Skill variety
6. Meaningfulness has a closer link to attitudinal and behavioural outcomes than the other critical psychological states, boding well for the personal and work outcomes of Coca-Cola employees.
7. Which of the following quotes seems to refer to the core job dimension of task identity?
a. “You have the freedom to innovate and execute your ideas.”
b. “I appreciate the impeccable support I get from country and function experts.”
c. “I can see the meaningful significance that The Coca-Cola Company makes in the world.”
d. “It has helped me develop as an individual, opened my mind to cultures and perspectives and has exposed me to life-changing experiences.”
8. When Vikram talks about how the margins on Coca-Cola products sold in mom-and-pop stores impacts their ability to support their families, he is describing a core job dimension that contributes to which critical psychological state?
a. Knowledge of the actual results of work activities
b. Experienced responsibility for work outcomes
c. Experienced meaningfulness of the work
d. Internal work motivation
9. These testimonials about working at Coca-Cola were posted on the company website under the Careers section. Which job design approach explains the reasoning underlying the decision to post these testimonials so that potential future employees can read them?
a. I-deal creation
b. Job crafting concept
c. Scientific management
d. Social information processing model
10. If the Coca-Cola employees quoted had been from Scandinavia, what cultural values would they have been likely to emphasize?
a. The integration of religious and work ethic values
b. The strategic level, and collective and cooperative working arrangements
c. A high degree of worker control and good social support systems for workers
d. Technocentrism focusing on the role of engineering and technology in job design