SAS Case Study
In 1976, James Goodnight, John Sall, Anthony Barr, and Jane Helwig established SAS Institute, a privately owned software company headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. SAS prides itself in creating a utopian environment for its employees by offering unique benefits such as an on site gym, cafeteria, preschool, medical care, casual dress code, private offices, and flexible work hours. These benefits have led to a less than 4% turnover rate for employees, which is well below the average for the competitive software industry. SAS believes it is providing an environment that frees its employees from outside distractions and will allow them to be as efficient and creative as possible. The focus is on teamwork where everybody is an equal and nobody is a stand out. Individuals who desire praise, promotion and status need not apply. However, when we take a closer look at the culture being generated, concerns begin to surface. The environment SAS is creating could actually be detrimental and less innovative without additional intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and by changing the egalitarian workplace. Intrinsic motivation is based solely on the interest or enjoyment of the task itself, apart from any external incentives or forces. While the current environment at SAS is designed to eliminate outside forces and allow the employee to focus on his work, this does not meet the true definition of intrinsic motivation. We learn from the article “Motivating Creativity in Organizations,” that intrinsic motivation is maximized when an employee matches skills and experience with something they truly love to do. The article suggests that managers need to hire people that have a spark or passion for their work to take full
advantage of the creative process. SAS recruits employees that have the skills and experience, but it can be argued that the spark could be missing. A spark is something usually found in top performers that excel and like to be awarded for...
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