Wholefoods Market, Do They Practice What They Preach?

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Whole Foods Market, Do they practice what they preach?
Festus Acha, Jaesang Kim, Wanda Moss, Linda Pressley, Alioune Thiam The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School
Management & Organizational Behavior
Professor Rick Milter
March 22, 2010
Whole Foods Market, Do they practice what they preach?
The purpose of this paper is to show a correlation between what is perceived about Whole Foods Market and what is factual about them. We intend to explore and investigate the following key points such as their mission statement, vision, their strategy for success, and empowerment techniques. We will look at how they motivate, compete with others, and the type of inspiration used as a whole to promote cohesiveness throughout their business. We want to feel out their communication techniques as well as the emotional intelligence of their employees. It will be an experience to observe their team leadership in action rather than by hearsay. Coaching and mentoring has to be an important function for such a global organization as well as the steps taken for decision making and problem solving. We have come to realize that change is inevitable in any business and we want to know what their plans for change are and how it will be dealt with. Lastly we take our information collectively and see just how Whole Foods holds up through our audit of their leadership. Our leadership audit of Whole Foods Market, Inc. (WFMI) was based on the following criteria: Mission & Vision Statement (Core Values)

Strategy for Success
Empowering Employees
Motivation & Inspiration
Competing without fear
Emotional Intelligence
Team Leadership Effectiveness
Coaching & Mentoring
Problem solving & decision making
Organizational Change
Overall Management
We graded them on a sliding scale of Excellence to Needs Improvement and based on the financial data and management of their competitors such as Kroger’s, Safeway, and Trader Joe’s their score was given based on overall performance in those areas. Their biggest competitor being Trader Joe’s being a privately held company it was difficult to obtain financial information to do an effective comparison. Whole Foods Market has a running history of being a family oriented company. It is also reported that upper management uses a hands off practice of allowing its employees complete autonomy in decision making regarding the operation of their stores. Based on primary information obtained through observations and interviews at multiple Whole Foods Markets throughout the Maryland area we are able to shed some validity to some of the theories currently circulating. We also have information that may show or allude to controversial information as well. During these interviews we talked with employees and the managers on duty. What we learned is what people say and what you see may not always be the same. Our secondary information was obtained through reports found through second party interviews, up to date journals and magazines such as Harvard Business Review. Vision & Mission (Core Values)

Whole Foods Market came into existence on September 12, 1980. Workers for Whole Foods Market experience this organization as a positive paternalistic organization. It is characterized by very high trust levels, complete autonomy and accompanied by very little uncertainty. Their vision statement speaks of their objectives and goals reaching beyond a food retailer. It highlights its customer satisfaction, healthy employee environment, profits, investments and stockholders always ending on a positive note. Their mission is to lead by example. Some of their core values are things such as: Ensuring they are selling the best quality all natural and or organic products available for resale. Making sure their customers are always satisfied

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