Motivation And Social Responsibility Of The Free Market

Motivation And Social Responsibility Of The Free Market

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There are more factors that affect job satisfaction and motivate employees to work for a particular company than the salary and benefits paid for their services. According to Hackman & Oldman's Job Characteristics Model, jobs should contain various characteristics in order to be a motivating job and to contribute to employee or job satisfaction. These characteristics are: skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. Along with this job's characteristics a motivating job should be structured in a way it allows for employee personal realization and goal achievement. This structure is presented in the Employee Satisfaction Model, which clearly depicts the determinants of job satisfaction versus the consequences of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
One company that seems to follow these models to the maximum extent is the Vermont based enterprise, Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., makers of super-premium ice cream. Ben & Jerry's has become legendary for its commitment to corporate responsibility and enjoys a superb reputation as one of the best places to work for in North America.
Just as Ben & Jerry's three-part mission statement clearly denotes their company's commitment to environment-friendly manufacturing practices, career growth opportunities for its employees, and social responsibility, their corporate practices by themselves seem to be extremely focused on honoring their mission statement employing, consciously or not, the characteristics for a motivating job outlined in Hackman & Oldman's Job Characteristics Model and the determinants of job satisfaction explained by the Employees Satisfaction Model.
First, lets take Hackman & Oldman's Job Characteristics Model and apply it to Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. Skill variety, according to Hackman and Oldman is "the ability to use several different skills to one's job." According to the Wall Street Journal "Ben & Jerry's recently created a "Get Connected" program to encourage employees to interact with and learn more about their customers." (Wall Street Journal) They can answer customer letters, attend customer focus groups, or visit stores as sales representative or delivery personnel. Some even volunteer to give tours of the factory. This type of activities not only utilizes a vast amount of employees' different skills but even promote a sense of pride among the employees on their contribution to the success of the organization. Ben & Jerry's has also developed the Ben and Jerry's Foundation whose sole mission is to make the world a better place.

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Their published mission statement says that they accomplish this by "empowering Ben & Jerry's employees to use available resources to support and encourage organizations that are working towards eliminating the underlying causes of environmental and social problems." (Ben & Jerry's)
Task identity is described as "the degree to which a job involves the completion of an entire piece of work from start to finish." At Ben & Jerry's employees have the ability to see for themselves the result of their efforts not only by being part of numerous organizational activities but because the clarity which the company's goals are portrayed.
Task significance which according to Hackman & Oldman's model is "the perceivable impact on the lives of other people" cannot be any more emphasized by Ben & Jerry's mission statement and the way they express how they are working to minimize the negative impact on the environment caused by the unavoidable production waste, their methods of combating environmental degradation, and their support for family farms and rural communities. (Ben & Jerry's)
Autonomy which is described as the freedom the job holder has to decide how the job will be done can be found in Ben & Jerry's encouragement to employees to engage as volunteers in social and organizational activities. This may not be the case in their primary jobs but still flexible enough to promote the sense of job autonomy among the employees.
Feedback is the last characteristic of a motivating job outlined on Hackman & Oldman's model and is one that is not missed at Ben & Jerry's. Not only do the employees get feedback from their employer about their job effectiveness, but they also receive it from their customers since they are so involved in their lives.
Ben & Jerry's not only complies with all the characteristics mentioned in Hackman & Oldman's model for a motivating job but the experienced psychological states and the work outcomes too. Ben and Jerry's employees clearly are proud of their company and their contribution to the success of this one. In fact "It isn't unusual for them to walk into a grocery store and reconfigure a display of Ben & Jerry's ice cream if it's mixed up." (Wall Street Journal)
As for the Employee Satisfaction Model and Ben & Jerry's; this company bases its management in economic justice, social responsibility, employee membership, and overall employee satisfaction. Ben & Jerry's employs motivational methods like giving their employees small perks such as three free pints of ice cream per day, and encourage games and conquests that not only produce intangible benefits to the company such as free advertisements and innovative ideas but make the enterprise a fun place to work.

Reference List

Wall Street Journal: Learn the Qualities That Make Employers Great, Ronald J. Alsop. Retrieved on July 31, 2006. http://www.collegejournal.com/jobhunting/searchstrategies/20040407-alsop.html?refresh=on

Ben and Jerry's Inc. http://www.benjerry.com/our_company/our_mission/

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory Tour. Retrieved on July 31, 2006. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/VTWATbenjerry.html
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