Creating Jobs for Improved Performance: The Coca-Cola Way
1) Using the job characteristics model, analyze and discuss the work design implications of the Coca-Cola Company’s approach to creating jobs for improved performance?
The job characteristics model as proposed by Hackman and Oldham (1974) measures three main components: core job dimensions, critical psychological states arising from the interaction of the core job dimensions, and personal work outcomes. Moderating the psychological states and work outcomes is employee growth need strength which indicates the employee’s desire to develop his capacities. The model ascertains a person-to-job fit (Kulik, Oldham, & Hackman, 1987).
The Coca-Cola Company creates jobs for improved performance by improving the five core job dimensions. The company focuses on skill variety enhancement by promoting career development activities. Towards this objective, there are many company programs that help with personal career planning and career improvement. The company offers several online courses that the employees can enroll in.
To empower the employees, they are encouraged to voice out their ideas and suggestions during regular meetings, discussion forums and informal talks with their supervisors and managers. The practice increases employee accountability towards the output of the company; therefore there is an increased sense of well-being when the company performs positively. The company also has a performance management system where personal and performance assessments are regularly carried out aimed towards understanding the employees’ current effectiveness in their jobs and how to further add value to the corporation. Improving the core dimensions in the job characteristics model also increases the intellectual capacity of the organization. Assets like intellectual capacity are not reflected in the financial statements of organizations, are intangible, but contribute largely to market value of the organization (Mouritsen, Bukh, & Marr, 2004). To measure the effect of company activities on increasing the job core dimensions, the engagement of the employees are measured regularly through company surveys. The latest survey conducted in 2008 showed that employee engagement increased from 79% in 2006 to 81% in 2008 (Sustainability: The Coca-Cola Company, 2008). Therefore, at Coca-Cola, increasing the core dimensions of the job characteristics resulted in improving the psychological states of the employee and thus, work motivation and performance were greatly enhanced.
2) How can the social information processing model be applied to understanding the Coca-Cola Company’s approach to creating jobs for improved performance?
The job characteristics model and the social informaiton processing model have the same objective: to improve the employee job satisfaction through job design. The social information processing theory (SIP) focuses on the effects interpersonal relationships. This translates to the importance of the job from the point of view or opinions of other people. Thus, SIP is a communication approach in relation to the job characteristics model (Colucci & Rice, 2008). There are four basic premises that are contributed by other people in the workplace: understanding the work environment, understanding the important aspects of the work itself, how employees perceive and feel about their jobs (Nelson & Quick, 2006). Therefore the importance of interpersonal relationships in the job environment cannot be overemphasized.
SIP is instrumental in understanding Coca-Cola’s approach to creating job performance because it focuses on interpersonal relationships and communication. At Coca-Cola, communication between management and employees is very important and the company has maximized the benefits of the process. By opening the lines of communication, the company is able to solicit ideas on how to improve production efficiency and more importantly, employee satisfaction.
3) What alternative work patterns does the Coca-Cola Company offer its employees, and why does it use them?
Coca-Cola Company offers two alternative work patterns: flextime and job sharing. Flextime allows an employee to set his own work schedule. Flextime has many advantages. For employees living in highly urbanized communities where there is heavy vehicular traffic, his work schedule can be arranged around the time when traffic is low. Employees who have to attend to school or other non-work activities can work earlier or later than the regular working time. Flextime also allows an employee to work at the time when he is most productive.
Job sharing is another alternative offered by Coca-Cola in positions where this is possible like production and manufacturing. With job sharing, the employee will be able to attend to other activities that he also deems significant or necessary.
Coca-Cola is committed to providing their workers with work opportunities and conditions that make their job experience meaningful. By offering alternative work patterns, Coca-Cola shows its support for the employees’ lifestyle preferences and work/personal needs. This support by the company results in benefits for both employee and the company; by increasing employee motivation, the company performance is also enhanced.
Colucci, W., & Rice, R. E. (2008). Towards Innovations in Social Information Processing Theory Conceptualization and Specification in Light of an Evolving Job Characteristics Model. Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association. New York city.
Kulik, C. T., Oldham, G. R., & Hackman, R. J. (1987). Work Design as an Approach to Person-Job Fit. Journal of Vocational Behavior , 31, 278-296.
Mouritsen, J., Bukh, P. N., & Marr, B. (2004). Reporting on Intellectual Capital: Why, Waht and How? Measuring Business Excellence , 8 (1), 46-54.
Nelson, D. L., & Quick, J. C. (2006). Organizational Behavior: Foundation, Realities and Challenges. Mason, Ohio: Southwestern.
Sustainability: The Coca-Cola Company. (2008). Retrieved November 18, 2008, from The Coca-Cola Company: http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/citizenship/engagement.html
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