Case Analysis: John Mackey, Whole Foods Market

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Eric Smith
Christine Hill
Organizational behavior
January 24, 2013

Case Analysis: John Mackey, Whole Foods Market

1.What role, if any, does McGregor’s Theory Y play at Whole Foods? Explain. According to Kreitner and Kinicki (2013) McGregor contrasted two views on human nature by insisting that Theory Y assumes that people are more positive at work, and believed managers could accomplish more by viewing employees as such (p.9). The other outdated theory, is Theory X, which is a more negative and pessimistic assumption about workers. Given the statements from John Mackey, it is his vision to create a positive working environment and Theory Y plays somewhat of a role at Whole Foods. Although Whole Foods wants to grow into this company in which its managers only hire good, well trained people who flourish in the workplace, however; “research on employee engagement, McGregors Theory Y is still a distant vision in the workplace” (Kreitner and Kinicki 2013). There is a difference between an engaged employee and a happy employee. Happy deals more with the satisfaction and contentment on the job. Kreitner and Kinicki (2013) say that engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company (p.9). Employees basically value what it takes for a company to be successful, and are willing to do what it takes to help the business get there and stay there. To be truly engaged Whole Foods needs to keep its employees engaged and not just “feeling” heroic or happy. 2.How does Whole Foods build human and social capital?

Human capital is important for any business, because humans need to be productive and knowledgeable to be successful. John Mackey says he hires happy employees, encourages employees to flourish, and ensures that they are well trained. He is not only creating a conscious culture, but he envisions a culture of engagement through leadership. Some ways that they can increase human capital is by implementing advancements opportunities, opening better communication channels, recognition awards, and training programs. Aon Hewitt, a global leader in human development resource solutions (2012) states that, “organizations that utilize employees views, provide the opportunities feedback and communication they desire; and pave the way for improved business performance”. (p.22) Social capital is also important, and Kreitner and Kinicki (2013) say that its productive potential results from strong relationships, goodwill, trust and cooperative effort (p.15). Social capital can help the company to thrive, and Whole Foods, searches for the highest quality, least processed, most flavorful and natural in organic foods possible. They believe that this organic food in its purest state is the best tasting and most nutritious food there is. Whole Foods hires passionate people who are about healthy foods and a healthy planet. They are a self-directed team and create a respectful workplace where people are treated fairly and are highly motivated to succeed (Whole Foods Market, 2013). To stay successful, and to continue to build human and social capital, Whole Foods and other businesses need to employee highly skilled managers to deal effectively with its employees. The skills tables in our text, on page 17, are ingredients for success that can create positive lasting relations with managers and employees alike. Organizations need to effectively train their managers to constantly practice these skills. This training can be in the form of monthly or quarterly meetings to address any potential problems that may occur. 3.How does this case bring the profile of the 21st-century manager (Table 1-3) to life? Explain. John Mackey is indeed a 21st century manager and he insists that Whole Foods managers follow his conscious capitalism beliefs. As stated in our Organizational Behavior text on page 18 and 19, states that the contingency approach is important to use, because...
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