The social mission of Whole Foods is "Whole Foods, Whole Planet, Whole People". It achieves this social mission by supporting the communities and encouraging their local involvement (Marquis, Besharov, & Thomason, 2011).
The challenges of embracing growth along with maintaining their social mission
In most cases, it is usually difficult for a firm to embrace growth as it maintains its social mission. In the case of Whole Foods, it has recently abandoned its social mission and resolved to economic growth. One of the challenges faced by the company is the increasing resistance on industrial organic (Marquis, Besharov, & Thomason, 2011). The employees and the customers believe that the firm is straying away from its social mission since it has become too big. Previously, the company said that it will involve the locals in its operations. Unfortunately, this has not been the case since it currently uses large-scale suppliers and ignores the locals. Furthermore, the company's contribution to the increase of industrial organic farms has made it difficult for Whole Foods to achieve its social mission. The other challenge of embracing growth and maintaining social mission is being involved in acquisitions. Whole Foods acquired Wild Oats which was a company that was financially struggling. Therefore, the firm use most of its finances in training the employees who worked and Wild Oats and even laid off about 100 of its employees.
How does Whole Foods achieve both social mission and rapid growth? What is Whole Foods growth strategy? And how does it manage this tension?
Whole Foods achieve rapid growth and social mission by involving all the stakeholders in the organization in its operations. Involving all the stakeholders in the organizations makes the decision-making process easy and through it, the organization can know the areas which it needs to correct. The company has also achieved the social mission and rapid growth by creating an enjoyable, productive, and positive working environment which makes the employees feel motivated. The growth strategy of Whole Foods is pursuing goals from Plato's philosophical ideas including the beautiful, true, good, and heroic. This strategy can help a firm to get profit through the best route without putting it as the main strategy. According to Cheretis and Mujtaba (2014), Whole Food achieves this growth strategy by creating values and serving its customers well in encouraging long term loyalty and frequent visits. Moreover, the organization manages this tension through the adoption of synergy. The synergy exists through the introduction of a new paradigm called conscious capitalism. It entails acknowledging all the stakeholders in the firm.
John Mackey as a leader
As a leader, John Mackey can be described as a straight-talking maverick. He is honest and frank in what he wants to do in the company and let the employees know. Furthermore, all the stakeholders of Whole Foods can easily understand him since he is an independent-minded individual. Moreover, Mackey is a visionary leader. He had a clear direction of the business from the start. After starting the business, he went ahead and expended the business and even opened more stores to reach several customers. In enhancing a successful business, it is essential to have a leader who aligns the business towards its vision. For over 25 years that Whole Foods has existed, Mackey has been able to align all the company's stakeholders to achieve the company's objectives. He also encouraged the employees to take the firm's ownership, vision, and operations. The mission was achieved by making people feel part of a community as he placed them in teams.
Has Whole Foods changed society for the better? Explain why or why not
Whole Foods has changed society for the better. It changed the living standards of the members of communities where it had stores since the team members were paid about 20 hours annually for community service. The strategy was an indication that Whole Foods cared for its local communities and employees where it operated. Furthermore, donating 5% of its after-tax profit brought several changes in the society where Whole Foods operated that resulted in the establishment of several social amenities (Marquis, Besharov, & Thomason, 2011). Also, Harris (2006) argues that Whole Food's slogan of "Whole Foods, Whole Planet, Whole People" makes it be regarded as a progressive trade setter for green lifestyle revolution in the life of Americans. It is an indication that the company has impacted people in different ways.
Whole Foods' Future Strategy
The future strategy of Whole Foods is ensuring that the system of conscious capitalism works in all stores. The strategy will be effective for the organization since it acknowledges the interdependencies that exist among main stakeholder groups including communities, natural environment, investors, customers, suppliers, and employees. This future strategy will work towards having motivated investors resulting in profit and sales growth besides being community responsive by enhancing corporate citizenship and giving back to the community. However, partnering with Amazon in delivering meal kits might not enable the company to achieve its social mission (Cusumano, 2017). The reason is that the two organizations have different objectives.
Cheretis, D., & Mujtaba, B. G. (2014). Maximizing long-term value and conscious capitalism at Whole Foods. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 79(3), 4.
Cusumano, M. A. (2017). Amazon and whole foods: follow the strategy (and the money). Communications of the ACM, 60(10), 24-26. DOI: 10.1145/3132722.
Harris, M. T. (2006). Welcome to 'whole-mart': Rotten apples in the social responsibility industry. Dissent, 53(1), 61-66.
Marquis, C., Besharov, M., & Thomason, B. (2011). Whole foods: Balancing social mission and growth. Harvard Business School Organizational Behavior Unit Case, (410-023).
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