The Coca-Cola Company: Leading Change


Companies require implementing change to remain successful in inconstant social, economic, and political settings. The Coca-Cola Company, a corporation that deals with the manufacturing, retailing, and marketing of non-alcoholic beverages, has gained a high reputation across the globe. Apart from its famous Coca-Cola brand, the corporation sells other numerous products in more than 200 nations around the world (About Coca-Cola journey 2016). Recently, the corporation has found it necessary to make changes both in its products and business practices in line with the anticipations of customers and variations in the external environment. After analysing the responses from over 300 project managers regarding what they would do differently if offered such an opportunity and views from customers on the changes they would prefer on the existing products, the company decided to introduce two new brands. The tastes and preferences of consumers necessitated the development of Coca-Cola Zero and Diet Coke. The company has developed a culture of reacting to the changing consumer inclinations effectively as a way of ensuring continued success through customer satisfaction.

With most customers becoming health cognisant and ready to spend on healthy products, the Coca-Cola Company has sought to manufacture juices and a variety of energy drinks. The necessity for change in the corporation is generated by internal and external aspects. External factors include new laws by the government, political pressure, market situations, and economic conditions. Internal aspects include employee interests, availability of resources, feelings of workers, and policies reached by executives. The two main change theories employed by the corporation are the ADKAR model and Lewin’s model. The ADKAR model has five elements, which encompass Awareness of what needs to be changed, Desire to commence the modification process, Knowledge of the required implementation, Ability to inculcate the needed behaviours and expertise, and Reinforcement needed to uphold transformation. Under Lewin’s model, transformation takes place in three stages that include unfreeze, change, and freeze (Arnold 2015). The unfreezing stage entails weakening the prevailing situation, the change phase involves initiating the required transformations, and the freezing segment ensures that modifications made become deep-rooted.

Two Elements

The two major elements of the organisational change process within the Coca-Cola Company are resistance and communication. When the idea of change came up, some managers opposed it because they felt that it would reduce their powers and lead to the delegation of significant authority to subordinates. The threat of supremacy was the main basis of resistance to the proposed change. With the development of the two new products, Coca-Cola Zero and Diet Coke, some groups and departments within the company were to be made more powerful. This made the managers fear losing their organisational authority. Economic factors also caused resistance among some employees as they felt that the corporation was out to decrease their salaries and other privileges that they used to obtain before the realisation of change (Dekhil, Jridi & Farhat 2017). This was a way of the company catering to the cost of producing and marketing the new products. The risk of losing reputation and prestige resulted in the majority of employees opposing the introduction of the new products. They felt that if customers dislike the products, it will ruin the positive reputation that the corporation has strived to build for decades. This made employees greatly dissatisfied with the intended initiatives.

The management had to mull over the most effective communication process of convincing employees and managers who were opposed to the intended change. They felt that effective communication would excite them and cause them to support the required transformations. When workers got information about the imminent change, some of them started spreading rumours. Therefore, the management sought to make everything clear as an approach to cultivating an ambience of certainty that would improve employees’ morale. This was realised through a thorough explanation of the way the decision was reached, the problem that the Coca-Cola Company was attempting to resolve, all alternatives that had been considered, and benefits to the employees. Effective communication was also meant to demonstrate the management’s enthusiasm for transformations (Arnold 2015). In a case where the management would not have appeared fully dedicated to the intended modifications, workers at all levels would have been hesitant to support the proposed change. Since the management was dedicated to becoming professional at every stage of the process, questions posed by employees were responded to confidently in a bid to win their support. The change team also ensured effective communication throughout the transformation process. This was meant to keep modification-averse workers informed along the way.

Critically Evaluate

The Coca-Cola Company has experienced numerous external and internal changes since its inception. For instance, during the Second World War, the corporation managed to uphold its success at that difficult moment and ventured into numerous new markets, which resulted in the expansion of its sales and the discovery of additional niches. The company also implemented an acquisition policy in the course of the Asian financial crisis; it is during this period that the Coca-Cola Company adopted bottling, tea, and coffee enterprises in Malaysia and Korea (Dekhil, Jridi & Farhat 2017). Effective communication was successful in eliminating resistance to change and won the support of employees in implementing the recently proposed transformations. The introduction of Coca-Cola Zero and Diet Coke improved the sales and reputation of the company across the globe. The new products have now been preferred by a high number of customers in its markets worldwide. Change management practices at the Coca-Cola Company are geared toward intrinsic principles and motivation of workers through their successful engagement. Managing change and internal branding processes have inculcated ideal conduct in workers. This aligns operations of the corporation internationally and enhances efficiency in all its markets.

Through organisational change, the Coca-Cola Company has initiated a meticulously incorporated system of communication while centring on the creation of brand relations with workers and managers. This enhances the corporation’s success because an integrated structure has resulted in employees engaging completely in the set values, which have become their intrinsic portion at a personal level. The change perspectives and practices that the Coca-Cola Company should master to prevent failure and guarantee the possibility of success going forward include valuing the contribution of all employees and building ability in engagement. Employee involvement surveys should be carried out two times each year for all stakeholders to underscore areas where improvements are needed early enough. The corporation should also hinge the success of its operations on the commitment of workers to quality (Arnold 2015). The management should discover the significance of employee motivation to the success of the corporation. To continue having tremendous results, the management should start an employee motivation program that rewards workers based on their performance, improvement, and contributions. This will make employees feel treasured and develop a sense of ownership and accountability, which will ensure their dedication to the company’s continued excellence.

Reference List

About Coca-Cola journey 2016, The Coca-Cola Company, Web.

Arnold, P 2015, ‘Evidence and leading indicators of change success’, Strategic Direction, vol. 31, no. 10, pp. 1-5.

Dekhil, F, Jridi, H & Farhat, H 2017, ‘Effect of religiosity on the decision to participate in a boycott: the moderating effect of brand loyalty–the case of Coca-Cola’, Journal of Islamic Marketing, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 309-328.

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