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Motivation and Social Responsibility of the Free Market

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Motivation and Social Responsibility of the Free Market

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. 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

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