Perhaps one of the best-known companies in the United States is the Kellogg Company. For more than a century, it has been the country’s largest producer of ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. It has been providing the consumers with a wide variety of food products such as Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies and Nutri-Grain Cereal bars.

The Culture of Kellogg’s Company

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Customs and Norms

The long-lasting success of the Kellogg’s Company is largely explained by the motivation of workers within all functions and work roles in different areas. These include manufacturing section, finance, sales and marketing, human resource and information technology (Mattern 2011, p. 26). The firm shows commitment to its business processes by making friendly working environment. This guarantees personal development and commitment of workers because the staff has a sense of belonging.

Goals and Measurement

The firm is dedicated to providing the top-quality breakfast foods. Driven by the motto “Bringing Our Best to You”, Kellogg’s is also working hard to protect the environment, provide employees with a safe workplace and serve the society (Boone & Kurtz 2009, p.259). On top of making their products available in the market, the firm educates the public about its products. The company developed the Kellogg Global Nutrient Criteria: these are a set of guidelines that establishes which products should be marketed to children who are most vulnerable to adverting. The management in Kellogg’s recognises that their success in the market depends on continually earning the trust of their consumers. Thus, it means that the firm should meet their evolving needs for nutritious and enjoyable foods that are manufactured and marketed responsibly (Boone & Kurtz 2009, p. 259). In order to achieve this goal, the firm is constantly researching nutritious options, reformulating recipes and evaluating their positive influence on the health of their consumers.

Physical Organisational Environment

Kellogg’s is also concerned with the environment. The company has set goals to reduce its energy and water use, greenhouse gas emissions and waste by 15 to 20 percent by the year 2015. In addition, the firm is exploring the ways of encouraging and supporting good agricultural practices around the world. One of the responsibilities of senior management is oversight of environmental sustainability. This means that accountability starts at the top of the company (Boone & Kurtz 2009, p. 259). Improved internal communication allows employee to share best practices throughout the company.

Rules and Policies

Kellogg’s Company has a Global Code of Ethics that applies to both its employees and suppliers. Employees receive K Value training as part of their career development. Its employees can also participate in the Feeling Gr-r-reat wellness program (Boone & Kurtz 2009, p. 259). The company continues to nurture diversity and ensure that all its employees are safe and have a chance to develop in their careers. Kellogg’s also monitors working conditions at suppliers’ facilities worldwide. It also recognises its role in the communities in which it operates and sells its food products. It is a founding member of the Global Food Banking Network and support organisations such as United Way. It provides large amounts of food to hunger-prevention and disaster relief organisation. In particular, the company has donated more than $40 million in cash and $120 million in food products to various organisations (Boone & Kurtz 2009, p. 259).
The working policy in Kellogg’s Company lies in motivation as the driving force. The management has developed motivational factors to ensure every member is motivated to achieve his or her tasks. For instance, Fit for Life initiative allows the employees within Kellogg’s Company to access fitness centres and annual free health checks. It participates in the Summer Hours programme from May to September to allow the employees to adjust working hours to balance their work with their family duties and personal commitments.

Rewards and Recognition

The success of Kellogg’s has been remarkable. It works within ethical framework and as such it was mentioned in the Ethisphere’s list of top ethical companies. Ethisphere’s list contains ideas that are pooled together to research and promote the best practices in ethics and corporate responsibility. Meanwhile the position of the company to make profits is not at stake. It was also placed in the top 100 of the Best Companies to Work For in the Sunday Times.

Ceremonies and Events

On a monthly basis, the company holds an event to recognise individuals that have worked following the K-Values. The winners receive a number of awards ranging from cash prizes, shopping vouchers to holiday benefits. The WK Kellogg Values Award programme provides special recognition for what employees do and reward them according to their performance.


The Kellogg’s sales team meets every Friday morning to share the weekly business events. Most importantly information flows in a two-way direction in order to empower the workforce. On top of all this, it has a large open lobby area that acts as an informal ground for briefings and presentations. The Kellogg’s suggestion box scheme helps generate ideas and improve productivity. In this way, many ideas have been forwarded contributing to its success.

Management Behaviour

The management recognises that the company has to use sales specialists because the complexities of the selling process require greater capabilities than a general sales person has. The sales force structure is both efficient and effective. It also considers being first with the corporate strategy and manageability of the structure. The management also defines sales force reporting relationship to allow for accountability. Most importantly, it ensures that the sales force structure adapts to evolving business needs. These efforts enable the company to understand how the sales teams should access their consumers. Secondly, it is able to estimate the resources required to execute the sales process in different customer segments. The managerial behaviour behind the success of Kellogg’s company is related to the fact that it makes decisions related to sales based on the analysis of opportunities and impact of sales coverage. In this regard, it considers risk and uncertainties inherent to the business environment.

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Learning and Development

Prior to employing people, the evaluation and selection process includes behavioural interviews and ability tests that check the behaviour of the candidate. The recruitment team looks for the personal characteristics that lead to job success, understanding that focusing on experience alone is not appropriate (Kotler 2010, p. 209). In addition, training and coaching programs focus on critical competencies that require executing its processes successfully. Training programs are effective due to the fact that they have a great impact on critical competencies and yet they are still efficient. They minimise the time that salespeople spend away from customers by using a mix classroom, on-the-job training and self-taught learning methods (Kotler 2010, p.209).
The company blends classroom training with continuous reinforcement of learning through coaching, information support and performance management processes. Particularly, when the business environment is changing, the company encourages salespeople to be responsible for their own learning (Kotler 2010, p. 209). As a result, it provides a mechanism for sharing knowledge with others. The company also provides study leave as part of staff development.

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Organisational Structure

Organisational structure specifies the company’s formal reporting relationships, control, procedures, authority and decision-making processes. In Kellogg’s, appropriate timing of structural changes happens when top-level managers recognise that a current organisational structure no longer provides the coordination and direction needed for implementing the strategies of a firm successfully (Hitt, Ireland & Hoskisson 2005). For example, the structural change at Kellogg’s allows it to keep its market share leadership over General Mills. It also increases profitability and associated value creation for shareholders. Performance incentives are also aligned with business units. This helped establish more realistic goals (Hitt, Ireland & Hoskisson 2005, p.28).

2.0 The contribution of a motivated workforce to the success of an organisation Motivation is vital to all organisations.

The difference between highly effective organisations and less effective ones often lies in the motivation of their workers. It is based on this idea that the management of Kellogg’s has developed motivational factors to its work situations. Motivation is the set of forces that causes people to engage in specific behaviours. From the manager’s viewpoint, the objective is to motivate people to behave in ways that follow the organisation’s best interests. Managers strive to motivate people to perform at high levels because job performances depend on motivation in addition to environment and ability (Griffin & Moorhead 2011, p. 83). Motivation enables the employees to do the job well. In other words, if motivation is deficient the managers face a more complex situation for tasks to be done effectively. On the other hand, managers improve the motivation levels among their employees by developing motivational factors that will help them satisfy their desires such as career breaks to attend personal commitments.

The motivated behaviour of employees provides tremendous benefits to their organisations. First, effectively motivating the employees to do their jobs is almost equivalent to half of the job being already done. The probability of getting work done on time within budget and with desired quality increases significantly when working with motivated people (Ghuman 2010, p.352). A highly motivated workforce from the lower level to the top has a positive impact on the productivity and performance of the organisation following global standards. In addition, a motivated employee has a drive to work well and is easy to work with. He or she knows the job to be performed and is well prepared to do it. This makes it easier to direct their energy towards achieving goals efficiently. Therefore, individuals with higher levels of motivation have lower levels of absenteeism. In this case, the employee turnover can be reduced to some extent because the workers have the motivation to perform their tasks (Ghuman 2010, p. 352). Moreover, motivated employees are likely to work without supervision. Similarly, motivated behaviour serves as the basis for self-satisfaction and enables the individual to improve self-esteem. In summary, the organisations with motivated employees find it relatively easier to introduce a change compared to companies where employees are primarily demotivated (Ghuman 2010, p. 353).

3.0 Various Motivation Theories

Motivation is divided in two different types, namely: intrinsic and extrinsic. On one hand, intrinsic motivation means that people engage in an activity for its own sake, for instance, when a person is pursuing activities for personal development (Ghuman 2010, p. 353). On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is used by a third party such the executives to motivate employees with both tangible and intangible rewards. These include promotions, payments, praise and public commendations. In addition, there are various motivational theories that can be used in Kellogg’s to improve and maintain motivation levels among its employees. They include: Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, McGregor’s Theory X and Theory T and Clayton P. Alderfer’s ERG theory (Ghuman 2010, p. 353).

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Fundamentally, this theory states that human needs follow a five-level hierarchy. That is from the lowest to the highest. When a particular level of needs of an employee is satisfied, it ceases to be a motivator. In this situation, a manager has to move to the higher level for keeping that particular employee motivated (Ghuman 2010, p. 353). The different levels of needs in this theory are briefly described below Physiological Needs: These are the basic needs of an individual that ensure his/her existence and sustenance of life such as food, water and shelter. The underlying principle is that satisfying these needs is essential to motivate individuals enabling them to attain the organisational goals (Ghuman 2010, p353). If the needs in this level are not satisfied, providing solutions for higher levels is bound to fail.

Security and Safety Needs: After meeting the basic needs, people want to ensure that their lives are safe both in present and the future. The needs in this level arise due to fear of losing job and not gaining capability (Weihrich & Koontz 2000, p.231). According to Maslow, if the needs in these two levels are not satisfied, other needs are of no use to a person.

However, once these basic needs are satisfied they no longer serve as a motivating factor.

  • Social Needs (Affiliation and Acceptance): When the security needs of an individual are met, they start feeling the desire to be social. When this individual is recognised and accepted by others, then this need will be satisfied (Weihrich & Koontz 2000, p.231).
  • Esteem Needs: When an individual is able to associate with others as desired, he or she will develop the desire to be respected and highly valued by others (Montana & Charnov 2008, p. 333). It is satisfied by attaining a position of power, prestige in society and achieving something worthy.
  • Need for Self Actualisation: This is the highest need that represents the desire of an individual to have the freedom to do what he or she wants to do (Montana & Charnov 2008, p. 333). It characterises the desire of an individual to maximise their capabilities and potential that leads to the fulfilment of a lifetime dream.

However, the Maslow theory is criticised on the following grounds:

  • First, the needs cannot be listed in a hierarchy. Different people may have different orders, for example self-actualisation may be a prime need before attaining social needs (Robbins & Judge 2012, p. 137).
  • Second, there are cases when there is no cause-effect relationship between behaviour and needs. A particular need may lead to different behaviour among different people. Moreover, needs are not the only determinants.
  • There are other causes like perception and expectations (Robbins & Judge 2012, p. 137). Lastly, it is not true that once a need has been satisfied it cannot emerge again.

McGregor’s Theory and Theory Y

Douglas suggests that managers have two different sets of perception about the nature of people and how they perceive their work in an organisation setting. These assumptions are manifested in the manager’s approach and behaviour in relation to their employees. They also significantly influence the manner in which managers motivate their subordinates and the tools that they apply to achieve it (Ghuman 2010, p. 353). These assumptions are categorised in two groups termed as Theory X and Theory Y. Theory X is realistic in the sense that it represents negative assumption of managers with respect to human nature and the attitude of the employees towards work. Those who stand for Theory X believe that average human beings have an inherent dislike for work and will like to avoid it whenever possible. Secondly, people tend to avoid responsibility and are less ambitious, being mainly concerned with their security and therefore they prefer being given directions (Miller, 2014 p.40). Thirdly, most of the employees are self-centred and therefore they must be closely directed, controlled and even threatened with a punishment so as to make them meet their expectations. In addition most of them are gullible and have little intelligence needed to solve organisational problems. A significant number is also resistant to change.

The disadvantages of Theory X are that managers who believe in it practice an authoritarian managerial style.

Their communication mode is mostly one-way and has a tight control over the company. The management approach to motivation relies on coercion, implicit threats and tight control (Ghuman 2010, p. 356).On the other hand, Theory Y represents a totally different approach to motivation. Managers working on the basis of this theory have relatively positive beliefs about their employees and their attitudes. The advantages of applying Theory Y in the Kellogg’s Company include: it enables the managers to believe that individuals at their workplace perceive physical and mental effort while working is a natural activity. In this case, the objectives of the organisation can be achieved even without implementing external control or threats. The notion is that individuals can exercise self-direction towards the goals which they are committed to achieve (Ghuman, 2010 p.356). In addition, the degree to which individuals are committed towards organisational objectives is in proportion to the size of the rewards associated with them. Lastly, the operation of Theory Y creates a perception that the intellectual potential of average human being is only being partly utilised in the present day organisational setting.

Further, the assumptions of Theory Y create an opportunity to align personal goals with those of the organisation by using the employee’s own need for fulfilment as a motivator. In Kellogg’s Company, goals and continuous improvement are achieved by empowering teams and giving them responsibilities (Ghuman 2010, p. 357). Perhaps, the major benefit is that Theory Y is permissive and seeks harmony in the hope that in return employees will cooperate when asked. Managers who have adopted this theory are liberal and have a development-oriented managerial style. They welcome suggestions from their juniors and give rewards to the best performing team members to motivate them (Ghuman 2010, p. 357). They believe in the power of team work and are mindful of their staff’s welfare. In summary, better outcomes could be gained by the use of Theory Y rather than Theory X.

ERG Theory

Clayton based the ERG theory on three sets of needs that can be used to improve motivation among individuals. These are: Existence, Relatedness and Growth. ERG theory shares a similarity with Maslow’s one (Ghuman 2010, p. 357). The need for existence is related to physiological and safety needs, while relatedness equals to social needs. Lastly, the need for growth is similar to esteem and self-actualisation. Additionally, the main difference between the two is that Alderfer did not see any hierarchy in the three sets of needs he proposed (Ghuman 2010, p. 357).

Alderfer goes beyond Maslow to add on safety needs. The first order needs can be considered critical in the context of limited and scarce resources. At this stage, there is a tendency for an individual to focus on material desire such as increased wages, salaries and other types of monetary rewards (Chilton & Bloodgood 2013, p. 179). In addition, the concept of relatedness refers to trust and relationship between colleagues. When a person satisfies his or her needs, they start sharing knowledge such as thoughts and ideas. At this stage, sharing occurs at the basic level and is largely based on rules of reciprocity. Further, growth needs refer to the highest level of human needs and involve major psychological needs. Growth needs also reflect how a person will use their full potential (Chilton & Bloodgood 2013, p. 179). When this need is satisfied, sharing of knowledge occurs which is based on self-actualisation without being influenced by material rewards.

From the supporting side, in the ERG theory one set of needs may be a motivational factor for one person, while it may be entirely different for another even though they share a similar background (Ghuman 2010, p. 357). In addition, different sets of needs can motivate the same individual in more than one context and during different periods. An individual may even be motivated by different sets of needs at the same time. The application of ERG Theory in Kellogg’s is criticised on the grounds that when needs at higher level are frustrated, people tend to regress to the satisfaction of lower-level needs (Ghuman 2010, p. 357). Secondly, it is not always the case that the satisfaction of needs will directly or indirectly influence the work performance intention of employees at different levels from low ranking staff to top managers in an organisation.

Conclusively, Kellogg’s Company is one of the best companies in the world. Over the years it has been successful which is largely attributed to high motivation levels among the employees. Motivation plays an important role in determining behaviours that will help the company achieve its goals. In this case, there are various motivational theories that the Kellogg’s management can adopt in order to ensure that the employees remain motivated.

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