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Ben and Jerry - Group 12

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overview Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield opened an ice-cream parlor in Burlington.

Primary goal was to make & sell super-premium ice-cream.

The parlor grew to a $45 million company 150 employees in just 10 years.


It had an unique culture with emphasis on fun, charity & goodwill towards fellow workers up and down the line.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield


Has Ben & Jerry forced to grow ? The company doubled its size each year between 1978 & 1986.

Growth was maintained for its survival.

Market for super premium ice-cream was maturing in 1980s.

There was a host of new competitors.

In 1985, for the establishment of new factory with greater capacity to meet the demands.

Is Ben & Jerrys original culture hindering the organizational effectiveness ?

Organisational culture :

The organization began as more than just a profitmaking venture.

Gave emphasis on fun, charity & goodwill towards fellow workers up & down the line.

Managers wore jeans & T-shirts.

No executive was allowed to earn more than 5 times what the lowest paid employee made.

They provided free therapy sessions to the employees.

Continued. Monthly holiday for staff meetings.

Decentralization or horizontal communication in companys decision making process.

Donation of 7.5% of companys income to the society development.

Handicapped were also hired for employment.

Lack in Organizational effectiveness Managers started wearing tie.

Centralization took place one way comm. down the line took place

Departments started duplicating work

Policy of 5:1 ratio of salary got failed

Managers complained about making 60-70% higher salary at other places

Policy of 5:1 ratio made the recruiting difficult.

Can Ben & Jerrys maintain their original culture and at the same time, continue to grow ?

Yes, Ben & Jerry can continue to grow by maintaining their original culture. It can be achieved if only they maintain :

Flexible task definition

Decentralized control

Lateral communication

Low formalization

What type of structure did Ben & Jerrys have in its early years ? Today ? What factors brought about this change ?

Ben & jerrys early structure:-

Organic Structure:

Flexible task definition

Ben & Jerrys todays structure :-

Mechanistic structure:Low flexibility


Rigid task allocation

Centralization control

One way ( vertical ) communication

High Formalization regulations )





Factors involved in change Survival of the company

Existence of new competitors in the market

High demand for ice-creams which lead to high production.

Growth rate slowed to 40% in 1987-1988.

Company had to retain its position on the super market shelves.

If you were a management consultant, what advice would you give Ben ?

Recommendations :A joyful work environment where people could work hard & have fun at the same time.

Employees making


role in decision

Org. must be more than a profit making venture

Donation for social welfare

Steps to fulfill the vision: Decentralization ( horizontal communication )

Flexibility of doing work

Employee centric

Maximization of shareholders value



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