Culture and Diversity

Culture and Diversity


The subject matter of this human resource management paper is the workplace culture and diversity of the Coca-Cola Company. It explores the company’s internal and external strategies to manage its international business environment through handling workforce culture and diversity. The research also shows how the Coca-Cola Company copes with the challenges of working with employees from diverse backgrounds, thereby answering the question whether workplace culture and diversity contributed to the success of the Coca-Cola Company. It incorporates the Deal and Kennedy model to encourage managers to support employees by rewarding those that demonstrate corporate responsibility. Diversity is a topic that covers various human qualities and attributes. Hence, this paper is limited to the organisational behaviour towards an individual and the implementation of the multiculturalism model to help solve diversity issues.

Keywords: Culture, diversity, structure, norms, values, management, workforce, organisation, and responsibility





Culture and Diversity within the Coca-Cola Company


The Coca-Cola Company is a globally known manufacturer, distributor, and marketer of beverages such as non-alcoholic concentrates, sparkling and still drinks, and syrups. According to ‘The Coca-Cola Company’ (2015), the company has a license for over 500 brands comprising light and diet beverages, energy and sports drinks, water, tea, coffee, as well as juices and juice drinks. It is present in over 200 countries with its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia having about 130,600 employees by the end of 2013 (‘The Coca-Cola Company’ 2015). The company has grown to be the world’s most identifiable brand and more or less doubled its market share in the market of soft drink beverages (‘The Coca-Cola Company’ 2015). Also, when talking about diversity, the Coca-Cola Company is grounded on the Coca-Cola brand itself and its people. Furthermore, diversity is a vital part of the company since it defines how it operates and how it is perceived. This paper aims at examining the human resource practices of the Coca-Cola Company that help foster the culture and diversity within the enterprise.

Organisational Culture of the Coca-Cola Company

Organisational culture is an organisation’s integrated set of beliefs, norms, traditions, symbols, and values that determine how employees work and act. According to the Deal and Kennedy model, organisational values have the potential for influencing people’s actions so that the issue of costs should be of paramount importance to managers. Furthermore, enhancing and shaping them can be a manager’s most important job (Chaklader & Gautam 2013). Thus, Deal and Kennedy believe that for employees to exhibit the desire to follow corporate principles, the management has to reward those that demonstrate concern and contribute to profitability with pay raises, bonuses, or recognition.


The success of the Coca-Cola Company is dependent on the recognised brand, marketing, availability, quality, and innovation. Its structure is on the global level, and it is comprised of flexible adjustment features that help it comply with the peculiarities of its regional markets. Its structure is grounded on both its internal and external factors, including their bottling subordinates. The company is known for the Coca-Cola system whereby it produces concentrates and syrups and sells them only to the bottling companies that have the authorisation to create, distribute, and market the products to the final customers. In fact, this kind of external relationship displays the company's key strength since it exhibits an excellent association with its bottling subordinates whereby they work hand in hand to make certain products are in conformity with requirements and services provided are of high quality. Conversely, more often than not, an organisational structure is designed with the purpose of meeting its goals. In this case, it should accommodate idea sharing and flexible decision-making as well as proper management control within the organisation.

The Coca-Cola Company, as a global multinational organisation, has a flexible structure. It is giving its undivided attention to its products, marketing, and distribution as well as encouraging teamwork in all its breakthroughs. For instance, the company assembles a team of employees to analyse and discuss all the available possibilities to make its new product successful. The team contains marketing experts that conduct a series of examinations on the results of the marketing research of the new product and research into food technologies as well as feasibility of the new product (Chaklader & Gautam 2013). Alternatively, financial experts are expected to analyse financial implications of the new product.

Norms and Values

An organisation should also have an organisational culture that describes its standards and values. The Coca-Cola Company has the culture of motivating and empowering its employees, thereby considering them as one of its most valuable assets. Evidently, a company that motivates staff always offers the best services to its consumers because a motivated workforce is considered the engine that drives business. Such labour force helps an organisation make progress since they feel like part of the team and strive to achieve the best. The Coca-Cola Company organises its employees into groups that perform the operations of the organisation. This organisational culture empowers employees to contribute various ideas regarding any proposed activities that enable them to be innovative and feel valuable within the company.

Through this strategy, the Coca-Cola Company builds a social and creative culture that allows it to have faith in its workforce to create and maintain an excellent brand reputation globally (Kumar, Teichman & Timpernagel 2012). What is more, by empowering and motivating its employees, the Coca-Cola Company establishes trust as part of its lifestyle and culture. Confidence is a very crucial component in every relationship, and the Coca-Cola consumers put their complete trust in the organisation to supply them with high-quality products with considerable attention to their needs (Walsh & Dowding 2012). Additionally, the bottling subordinates trust the organisation and know that the company operates within the Coca-Cola system. Ultimately, the employees also have faith in the company and know that the organisation values their ideas and contributions and considers them when making decisions.

 The Coca-Cola Company enjoys the culture of open communication through various communication channels ('The Coca-Cola Company' 2015). This slogan is a means of sustaining their culture since the company provides various communication channels such as workers team sessions, monthly leadership team meetings, and weekly departmental team meetings. There are also consultative groups in each region with a European Council representative. Most importantly, surveys are frequently conducted in all departments to enable employees to communicate their suggestions and complaints.

Diversity within the Coca-Cola Company

The diversity concept is grounded on the acceptance and respect of an individual, regardless of their ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, age, gender, race, marital status, income, religious belief, and geographic location among others (Wilder 2015). Businesses can incorporate diversity without undergoing significant changes in the company. It can include recruiting people from various backgrounds and infusing diversity into advertisement practices. According to the multiculturalism model, organisations should incorporate behaviours and beliefs that respect diverse groups in the organisation or society, acknowledging their socio-cultural differences and encouraging their continued contribution within a cultural context that empowers everyone within the organisation and community (Wilder 2015). It is evident that diversity means much more than race and gender, while there is an increased number of women in the workforce.

To begin with, the Coca-Cola Company has a global diversity mission that has won recognition as the leading company in diversity, fairness, and inclusion in all areas of the business, including the workplace and the workforce (Connley, Wilder & Fraser 2016). Diversity is the core of the Coca-Cola business since it is aimed at creating a work environment that offers equal job opportunities as well as equitable access to information. The Coca-Cola Company is a global organisation that embraces the world as being multicultural and shows its diversity in the marketplace as well as the workplace with the sole intent to advance its diversity journey. However, the journey has been challenging particularly in the workplace where there are a lot of misconceptions and myths that make it difficult for managers to handle diversity.

Moreover, the Coca-Cola Company has been working on various strategies to improve diversity within the organisation. The company is striving to make it possible for employees to balance their work life and private life ('The Coca-Cola Company' 2015). The company tries to guide its workers to combine the private and work life for a better performance. The company uses this strategy without excluding women as well as disabled employees, putting the company in a position where it always seeks the best possible solution for the challenge (Cui et al. 2015). Also, countries have different history and culture forcing the Coca-Cola Company to take into consideration every region's culture that it operates in when designing its structure. Thereafter, it ensures the acceptance of cultural differences so as to gain a competitive advantage over other local companies. Thus, the company also spends a lot of its efforts to manage diversity. The Coca-Cola Company uses a considerable sum of money to educate its workers on mentoring programs as well as diversity training (Karnani 2014).

The Coca-Cola Company has implemented diversity measures to help combat diversity challenges. With the aim of advancing its workplace journey to diversity, the Coca-Cola Company established diversity training and education programs to help in minimising lawsuits and conflicts (Curtis 2014). Various training programs support workers to handle diversity-related issues and strengthen their abilities to respect and value individual differences.

The Coca-Cola Company organised various mentoring groups to serve as a tool to tackle diversity challenges to enhance diversity and also to guide employees as they perform their daily activities at work and at home (Connley, Wilder & Fraser 2016). As noted by 'The Coca-Cola Company' (2015), Coca-Cola organised mentoring and outreach groups such as the Coca-Cola LGBTA to foster a working environment that involves all workers. Furthermore, it promotes free sharing of ideas and enables the LGBT employees to feel comfortable and ultimately contribute to the success of the company. Another group is “the Coca-Cola Business Resource Groups for women and African-Americans” that aim to inspire, engage, and develop women employees as well as African-American workers in the organisation and establish a reputation as valuable workers (Dobbin & Kalev 2016). 

Conclusion and Recommendation

The Coca-Cola Company is an organisation that enjoys an organisational culture and nurtures employee involvement in almost all aspects of the enterprise. The only time employee participation is not allowed is during decision-making. However, decision-making practices of the company are different from the other practices of the organisation because during decision-making, it operates on decentralised practices whereby only the management is involved. Moreover, the company can work on enhancing its decision-making tactics by frequently involving the directors in the process to enable them to incorporate the given suggestions in decision-making practices.

Additionally, the Coca-Cola Company needs to include the open door policy in their decision-making practices and allow employees to volunteer their opinions to their assigned directors on various ways of solving problems. This free training would enable the decision board to think beyond the possible solutions and widen their options when making decisions. However, the Coca-Cola Company does its best to identify with communities from all walks of life using a proper language. Furthermore, the company advertises itself in the most noticeable way that enables people to connect with its quality. Coca-Cola is indeed fulfilling its worldwide role, namely representation of happiness by believing in its products and ensuring compliance with its system of values that defines its organisational culture.

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