Application of the Traditional Change Model
The Coca-Cola Company was hit with the lawsuit in 1999 under the leadership of the CEO, Investor. He did not even start the implementation of the first stage of the change model, i.e., unfreezing. He did not recognize the importance of change despite reports of racial inadequacies within the organization. The unfreezing stage began after the Investor as it was deemed necessary after the lawsuit.
Through efforts of CEOs, Daft and Isdell, Carl Ware, and some mandates from the court, the company went through a period of great change. Currently, Kent is maintaining the refreezing stage by making sure the changes are implemented into everyday operations. But he is also tasked with the challenge to initiate more unfreezing because as said by Daft, more work is still needed. He was right in stating that diversity forms a basic element of business and should not be considered as the end of the change process.
The Leadership Styles of the CEOs
The CEOs mentioned in this case had different leadership styles in accomplishing the strategic objectives and managing the employees. Investor was the type of leader that focused solely on the company’s ability to accomplish goals, even at the expense of the employees’ needs. The problems of diversity erupted because he chose to ignore reports of racism.
Daft came at a time when there was an apparent need for change. In stark contrast to Investor, he was a delegator and desired to reposition the organization in terms of building the brand and acting responsibly in the global business relations. Though he did re-appoint Carl Ware to a high-value position and made efforts to extend health benefits to same-sex domestic partners, Daft was still more focused on accomplishing strategic goals than on a more inclusive and diverse environment.
It wasn’t until Isdell took over that the company made real strides toward an inclusive workplace. Isdell put forward a “Manifesto for Growth” which was the outline for new diversity initiatives company-wide. It allowed him to focus on strategic goals while also making big moves toward equality for employees.
Coca-Cola’s next CEO, Kent, oversaw a company that addresses diversity, both in its consumers and its workforce, as an integral part of its social and economic success. The management’s ability to balance employees’ needs with accomplishing strategic goals is key to the current success.
As per Parker’s triangle, there is an increase in emotions in the form of an upside-down triangle. It can be used to explain the large number of minority employees joining the class action lawsuit. They had already gone through the level of emotions and remained lingering, without their needs addressed, at the higher rungs of the triangle. When an employee resorted to filing the lawsuit, a large number of former and current employees joined in as they were already frustrated. The triangle can also explain the failure of the company to manage diversity because, from the very first level of difference, the company chose to ignore the rising up of the employees through the emotional levels to a dangerous point. If the company had addressed this issue at that time, they would have successfully prevented the lawsuit.
Diversity and Threats to Coca Cola’s Diversity Management
Today, the company is an example of a diverse business. In fact, diversity forms an important part of its core values. It has recognized that its workplace, marketplace, suppliers, and community should be as diverse as their products. They have created several teams, such as the Global Diversity & Workplace Fairness team, with the goals of furthering the initiatives set forth in its strategic diversity plan. The company has also taken several initiatives to support the business owned by women and minorities and have introduced several scholarships and education programs to enhance diversity.
However, there are some potential threats to their progress in diversity management. With its global expansion, it may enter markets that are emerging and offer a workforce that is not as progressive. The company may also run into supply or demand chains not meeting the diversity standards. It would pose the question of whether to exit from such markets or to enforce their own supply and demand chain values. Hence, diversity management would become more difficult with expansion into developing markets.