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Edward Jones: Values and Goals

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Edward Jones: Values and Goals


A fourteen year veteran of Edward Jones counted one of the perks of her job as reading client "thank you" notes penned when children went to college, or when retirements were launched a little bit early (Wolfe, 22 Feb 2002). This veteran could have counted many other types of perks such as salary, career advancement, etc., but she did not. She stated the intangible, intrinsic benefits like “thank you” notes and personal greetings. Many other employees stated similar things like “all we do is help people obtain goals”, clients are just as likely to come in to tell of good news or show off their new car as they are to sign business paperwork, and “everyone is focused around a single mission” (Wolfe, 22 Feb 2002). Without a doubt, these are the exact reasons why Edward Jones was named first in Fortune Magazine's 2002 rankings for Best Company in America. This essay analyzes the reasons why these employees made Edward Jones the number one company in 2002. It will also discuss exactly how Edward Jones motivated its workers through its strict key values and organizational goals.


A belief is a certainty about the truth of something, but a value is a belief (or set of related beliefs) to which we attach moral significance (Bowman, 2002). It is blatantly obvious that Edward Jones not only believes in, but practices strict moral values. These values have been the keys for the continued business success since World War II. From its conception to today, Edward Jones believes in “Serving the serious, long-term individual investor” (Wolfe, 22 Feb 2002). This was especially evident in the mid 1990’s when Edward Jones not only refused to jump on the �dot com’ bandwagon, but actually sent out letters advising the opposite to its customers (Wolfe, 22 Feb 2002). Edward Jones’ as an entity took the middle of the road �tortoise’ versus the speculative �rabbit’ approach to investing every time; which lead the company to outperform 14 of the top 15 U.S. brokerages. Employees and customers alike observed what a value driven company with a keen strategy this was, a strategy that acted like permanent glue in Edward Jones’ professional relationships. The key values of conservatism and service of the steadfast investor are just scratching the surface of what makes Edward Jones a truly fascinating company.


Looking from the outside in, there are some distinct reasons why Edward Jones kept its employees finely motivated. Using the Job Characteristics Model as a template to analyze how it was done, it is apparent that Edward Jones harnessed for its employees job meaningfulness, responsibility, and demonstrated knowledge of results; which ultimately guided top-notch work outcomes (Louis, Notes on the Job Characteristics Model). Analyzing the �job characteristics’ section of the model, it is evident that Edward Jones mastered the concept of autonomy. Evidence presented itself when Jones’ employees were encouraged to grow roots and stay in one branch office without having to relocate in order to advance careers. This autonomy allowed for another characteristic to prevail, task significance. Through their autonomy, the individual branches reached out to connect with their clientele and clearly were able to perceive the impact that their business transactions had on other people (Louis, Notes on the Job Characteristics Model). The stated autonomy and task significance lead the company to experience positive psychological states.


Wolfe wrote of nothing but positive morale, outcomes, intrinsic employee rewards, and customer satisfaction. These outcomes manifested themselves from solid core job dimensions where the employees experienced meaningfulness of their work and therefore took total responsibility for all work outcomes (Louis, Notes on the Job Characteristics Model). The manifestation of the employees taking responsibility for their work outcomes occurred for the simple reason that they were all given autonomy to carry out the operational goal of the organization. Lifted above all other core job dimensions found in the Job Characteristics Model was their individual knowledge of results. This was evident from the continual positive feedback and interpersonal communications that the company received. As a direct outcome of their obvious working knowledge of results,

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