Sample Critical Thinking Paper on Organizational Culture and Change


The behavior of employees in different organizations differs because of the differences in the organizational culture, which can be defined as the set beliefs and behaviors that determines how employees and management interact and handle issues that are outside the normal business transactions (Jones, 2010, p 34). Dolan and Garcia (2002, p 67) asserted that organizationalculture is often implied and simply developedinternally within the organization over time due to the cumulative traits of previous and current employees. Just as people are in like, every organization,irrespective of its nature of business, has a unique personality, which can be attributed to its culture.

Even though it is invisible in a group of people who work together, organizational culture is a powerful tool that has a direct influence on the overall behavior of the employees in executing their job responsibilities. It consists of shared assumptions, values, as well as beliefs that directly influence how employees in the organization behave. This paper critically analyzes the organizational culture and change at the Coca Cola Company, a leading American soft drink producer.

The analysis was done based on the Belbin Team Inventory behavioral test, which assesses how individual employees actually behave when in a team environment. As explained by Taylor (2000, p 212), the Belbin assessment incorporates a 360-degree feedback from the evaluation of both observers as well as the individual by contrasting how employeessee their behaviorsand how their colleagues do.

Belbin Team Inventory

The Belbin Team Inventory is a useful tool for analyzing the organizational culture and change in a company or any other type of business that employs a considerable number of employees. The tool was developed by Meredith Belbin and is designed to provide measurement of preference of nine team roles namely plant, resource investigator, coordinator, shaper, monitor evaluator, team-worker, implementer, finisher, and lastly specialist (Parker, 2000, p 99). However, it is essential to note that the team roles proposed here are not equivalent to the personality types that are psychometric instrument therefore, cannot be used to sort employees into their respective personality types. Instead, the Belbin is developed to score employees on the level by which they express the exact behavioral traits from the nine select team roles in an organization namely the plant, resource investigator, coordinator, shaper, monitor evaluator, team-worker, implementer, finisher, and specialist.

The Belbin Team Inventory has wide application in the study and analysis of organizational culture and changes. For instance, data from this tool can be used to assess the effectiveness of a team to working together as well as in the selection of the best candidate in fulfilling specific roles in an organization. In addition, it can be used in the identification of gaps and certain overlaps in the distribution of team roles that might directly or indirectly affect the success of a team. Lastly, this tool can be used in the assessment of the overall behavioral performance of candidates for a particular job.

Background Information

The Coca Cola Company is the largest beverage company in the world, a position that it has maintained in more than a century. With its more than 3,800 different low-calorie and high-calorie beverage products, it refreshes more than one billion people across the world. Coke, is one of its most valuable and recognized brands, which is enjoyed in more than 200 countries across the globe every day. According to a 2014 statistic, the company now serves more than 1.6 billion drinks every day through its network of global distributors.

The real workers or employees of Coca Cola Company consist of associates working together towards the realization of the company’s vision: it is estimated that as at 2014, the coca cola system consisted of about 700,000 worldwide associates: together with the bottling partners, the coca cola is ranked amongst the top 10 companies with majority of employees. At the coca cola company, each associate and bottling partner brings unique talent that has collectively contributed to the established organizational culture. Even though the company thrives to create an open environment for its organizational culture that is as diverse as the market it serves, most employees tends to merge their overall behaviors towards the goals outlined in the company’s vision.

Team Roles and Effectiveness

A review of empirical studies indicates that many cultural frameworks have been developed for enhancing the organizational effectiveness. Cabrera and Bonache (1999, p 109) asserted that in organizations culture is diverse. In addition, it is often treated as a complicated phenomenon that keeps on changing from different practices, assumptions, beliefs as well as perceptions. However, this aspect is rarely evidenced in the coca cola company because their organizational culture has greatly remained stable over the past years, being influenced by common factors of success, growth, and community development.

There are four cultural traits established at the Coca Cola Company that have directly played great roles in their organizational effectiveness namely involvement, consistency, adaptability and lastly mission: new employees joining the company, by natural adaptation and influence, steadily learn, adopt and practice these aspects of the company’s culture. Here, the cultural traits of adaptability are commonly used in the prediction sales growth and profitability level.

In order to enhanceeffectiveness, the coca cola company thrives to encourage total member involvement of employees in almost all levels of business execution. This actually requires the engagement an active investment on human capital development in order to ensure that they have appropriate skills that would enable them to be involved. The Coca Cola Company develops its employees through regular skills training, seminars, and talks. Secondly, itbuildsthe effectiveness of its organizational culture through a solid foundation of explicit rules that guides its operations and member interactions: the managers, the executives, and other employees are dedicated to their assigned tasks and establish a positive relationship. They do this with a mindset of owning a portion of the company that everybody wants to be involved in the decision-making.

Consistency is a key characteristic of organizational culture at the Coca Cola Company. It is a key element of a company with strong and effective organizational culture. Through enhanced consistency, the company has been able to achieve high level of organization and coordination. The overall organizational culture at the coca cola company is embedded in a combination of core principles and skills for effective communication and interaction between leaders, followers, and amongst the employees themselves. Consistency is actually the powerful foundation of stability of the organizational culture at the Coca Cola Company: consistency has enabled the new and existing employees to achieve high level of conformity to the already established organizational culture.

Adaptability is another element of organizational culture that is associated with ability to embrace change. As illustrated by Brown (2001, p 68), highlyintegratedorganizationssuch as the Coca Cola Company are usually resistant to new changes especially in the organizational structure be it internal or external. However, the company remains adaptable and its adaptability is driven by customer needs as well as lessons from past mistakes and experiences. Because of its high level of integration, the coca cola company is not in a continuous system of change in the organizational culture and structure: in essence, the overall culture, structure, and organization of the Coca Cola Company have remained relatively unchanged for many years.

The organizational culture at the Coca Cola Company describes the particular norms and values cherished and practiced by the company in dealing with a wide range of both internal as well as external workers. According to the Denison (2011, p 121), the overall organizational culture at the Coca Cola Company is based on empowering and enhancing its employees: through this culture, the company considers its employees as the most valuable asset it has. Positively empowering employees has contributed greatly to the success of the Coca Cola Company over the past years.

The company clearly understands that motivated employees is the natural driving engine that keeps the organization moving forward in success. A traditional practice at the Coca Cola Company is to organize its employees into teams carrying out specific operations towards the realization of the company’s goals and vision. By organizing them into teams, the employees start feeling valuable working within their specific teams where they get opportunity to contribute different ideas to the company’s operation thus becoming more innovative.

With respect to the Belbin Team Inventory, this organizational culture well established at the coca cola company playsignificant roles in enhancing a team role known as plant. As explained by Schein (2010, p 201), plants are very creative and unorthodox whose main role in the organization is the generation of new ideas. At the Coca Cola Company, plants are found everywhere within each team generating innovative ideas thus uplifting the company’s operations. In essence, through collaborative teams, the coca coal company has established an organizational culture that promotes freethinking and innovation.

By this strategy, the Coca Cola Company has directly created a friendly and innovative organizational culture that promotes good work ethics and employee interrelations. This has made it possible for the coca cola company to depend completely on its workforce for enhancing and maintaining its global presence and brand reputation. In addition, this culture has played a significant role in the production of task-oriented employees who pursue the company objectives, goals with vigor and energy – this class of employees are called shaper, and they are the face of the company. Shapers are highly focused on the task given to them and they are driven by tremendous desire to achieve the specific goals.

Because the Coca Cola Company develops shapers, winning is the desire of every employee who works here. Most activities of the company revolve around marketing and distribution of the product and this makes it a suitable place for shapers. The company has established a culture whereby every employee is a shaper, doing all he or she can to win business on behalf of the team. Thus culture whereby every employee is a shaper thriving to achieve something actually provides the necessary drives that ensure every team is a winner and kept moving and also maintains its focus and momentum. As a result, every team thrives to improve on its activity every moment. Working within their teams, the employees find the best approaches in solving problems and marketing the company’s products.

As illustrated by O’Reilly, Chatman and Caldwell (2011, p 88), trust is another essential element of organizational culture that has been strongly cultivated at the Coca Cola Company – the company has successfully established trust as part of its organizational culture. The company perceives trust as an important element of everyday relationship both at work and away from work. Just as customers put their trust on the company in providing quality goods, the same way the company put trust on its employees for meeting the customer needs. In the same way, the bottling subordinates put their trust on the coca cola company for providing quality concentrates. In addition, at the coca cola company, the employees trust that their voices will be heard and their contributions to the business valued and appreciated.

The coca cola company has also inculcated a culture of open and free communication both within and outside workplace. The company has successfully maintained this culture by providing a good number of communication channels such as monthly leadership team meetings, sessions for workers’ team briefs, weekly departmental meetings as we as regular regional consultative meetings.It is also essential to note the company encourages free and open communication by engaging its employees and associates in frequent dialogue and forums. When open communication is encouraged, the company is able to effectively solicit and leverage innovative ideas for the betterment of its growth impetus and productivity. Free and open communication provides the company with useful information: they also act as platforms for increasing awareness as well as promoting their business strategy.


Organizational culture is an essential consideration for the success and long-term growth of a company. It determines how the employees relate with each other as well as the customersboth internally and externally. The Coca Cola Company has established a positive organizational culture that directly foster employee involvement and participation in all aspects of decision-making and business operations. Coca Cola’s organizational culture does not match any other company’s practices. The company has created a friendly and innovative organizational culture that promotes good work ethics and employee interrelations thus enabling it to depend completely on its workforce for enhancing and maintaining its global presence and brand reputation.

In summary, teamwork and employee welfare should be the obligation of every organizational culture. The Coca Cola Company has achieved this by incorporating effective teams that works towards the realization of the company’s objectives, goals, and ambitions. Just like in machines, teamwork is the oil that keeps the company moving and running smoothly. The beneficial effects of teams cannot go unnoticed and unappreciated in a multinational company such as the Coca Cola. As explained by Homburg and Pflesser (2000, p 97), teamwork ought to be the center of the organizational culture at any company in order to enhance and promote success, growth, and long-term existence in the market.The organizational culture should be inculcated within four traits of effectiveness namely involvement, consistency, adaptability and lastly mission.

Belbin Team Inventory was used to study the organizational culture and change at the Coca Cola Company. It suggests that by understanding the roles of particular individuals within a team, the company can develop its strengths and effectively manage the weaknessof its team members as well as improve the contribution of every employee to the company (Schein, 2009, p 111).



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