Workplace Democracy the Issue of Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

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Although this technology was touted as a way to improve customer service, many employees believed that it demonstrated that top level employees were distrustful of lower level employees. In the end the technology was still implemented, however there is anomousity that exist at the company as a result.

In spite of this scandal and others the company has been able to foster some aspects of workplace democracy through the development of community standards and teamwork. The company attempts to ensure that workers feel that they are members of the ebay family and their suggestions are heard and changes are implemented as a result. However, it appears that in some ways workplace democracy at Ebay has been more difficult as the company has expanded quickly and drastically.

Starbucks

Starbucks is a name that has become synonymous with coffee. Indeed this company began in Seattle, Washington and has grown to a worldwide corporation and the largest coffee franchise in the world. Starbucks has long been recognized for the way that it treats employees. In particular the company's ability to provide health benefits to fulltime as well as part time employees was and still is almost unheard of in the food service industry.

Workplace democracy can be seen at every level of the organization. The company encourages participation and is able to accomplish participation through specific actions. These actions can be seen in the orientation of new employees. During orientation not only are new employees taught how to make Starbuck's drinks and various other regulations but they are also taught that Starbucks ability to operate is dependent upon teamwork and cooperation. In fact, Starbucks' employees are referred to as partners. The company's website reports that their ability to accomplish what we set out to do is based primarily on the people we hire - we call each other "partners." We are always focused on our people. We provide opportunities to develop your skills, further your career, and achieve your goals. At Starbucks, you'll find a commitment to excellence among our partners; an emphasis on respect in how we treat our customers and each other; and a dedication to social responsibility.We look for people who are adaptable, self-motivated, passionate, creative team players (Career Center)."

The company is able to implement workplace democracy through a benefits package that is designed to meet the needs of each employee (The Starbucks Experience, 2005). This benefits package is referred to as "Your Special Blend" and it allows the employees to participate in deciding the types of benefits that they will receive. This benefits packages includes Healthcare benefits (Medical, Prescription drugs, vision and dental, Management bonus plan, adoption assistance plan; referral programs; domestic partner benefits, retirement plan; discount on Starbucks products and all employees receive a pound of coffee each week (The Starbucks Experience, 2005).

The company is also dedicated to employee advancement and offers education and training programs (The Starbucks Experience, 2005). These programs cover such topics as Business Communication, and learning to lead. These programs serve the purpose of building the confidence of workers and improving the overall workplace environment, thus ensuring that the goals of the company are met (The Starbucks Experience, 2005).

The implementation of workplace democracy into the overall strategy of the company means that Starbucks values diversity and the opinions of the partners. The company asserts that At Starbucks, diversity is an essential component of the way we do business. We believe so strongly in embracing diversity that it is the second guiding principle in our Mission Statement. We strive to create a diverse workplace in which every partner's voice is heard and in which all our partners will succeed while learning from one another. We believe that building understanding, respect, and appreciation for different people contributes to our growth and to the growth of our partners (The Starbucks Experience, 2005).

Overall Starbucks strategy of insuring that its "partners" are satisfied with their careers and with the benefits available to them allows the company to foster a climate of workplace democracy. In other words because employees are valued and viewed as vital to the success of the company, they are willing work hard to meet organizational goals and the goals of the individual stores. In addition, they feel free and encouraged to share their opinions. They also have the confidence to know that their opinions will be heard and change will come as a result. Building this type of confidence in its "partners" has allowed Starbucks to become the large and successful company it is today.

Nike

Nike has long been a leader in the world of sports apparel. According to the company's website it is headquarted in Beaverton, Oregon. The Pacific Northwest is also where Nike began and it now has offices in countries around the world. The company currently employs 23,000 people. The company's employees are significant to Nike's mission of "bringing inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world (About Nike)."

Workplace democracy is a vital part of bringing this mission into fruition. Along with benefits such as healthcare, life insurance and retirement plans, Nike has stringent codes of conduct to which employees must adhere. These codes of conduct put boundaries in place and allow employees the freedom of reporting when these regulations are broken. These codes of conduct came as a direct result that Nike dealt with in the past concerning Child and sweatshop labor conditions at factories abroad. Under the new codes of conduct employees have an obligation as a part of the Nike team to report violations. This ensures that Nike can go forward with the goals that it has of inspiring athletes through the company's apparel and footwear line.

In addition, workplace democracy is fostered through an ongoing commitment to the community and community service projects. Actually community service and charitable contributions are so important to Nike and its employees that Nike employees are active in the community. In addition, Nike asserts that They would likely be active regardless of where they worked. Many were active long before they began working for Nike - in some cases, it's why we hired them - and we've generally been very lucky to have so many giving people working for us. But we also take many steps to encourage our employees to be involved in the world around them...If a U.S. based employee contributes to a qualified non-profit organization, we match the contribution, dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000 per employee per year. When a U.S. based employee volunteers for a qualified non-profit organization, we donate $10 for every qualifying hour of volunteer work. (In fiscal year 2005, Nike's matching contributions totaled more than $2.8 million in the U.S.)...In Europe, employee activism is encouraged through our Sport4ACause Fund. When employees engage in charitable sporting events, Nike matches the funds they raise. In the UK, our "EXTRA TIME" program gives employees six days per year for volunteer activities (Employee Involvement).

Indeed Nike has long been able to employ a strategy of workplace democracy through benefit plans and community responsibility. Nike's strategy of workplace democracy encompasses the idea that employees that serve the community will also be effective in serving the needs of the company. There is a premise that serving the community empowers the company to better serve the needs of consumers. Thus employees that participate in community service have a better understanding of the needs of the consumers which can be translated into new and innovative products.

Jetblue

At a time when many Airline carries are scrambling to stay afloat, Jetblue has been able to maintain stability as a low cost provider of air transportation. Indeed a significant factor in their ability to do so is the workplace environment that the company has created. Employment at Jetblue is based on five principles including Integrity, safety, caring, fun and passion (Culture).

The company understands that workplace democracy encompasses not only fluid communication at all levels but benefits that make employees secure in the present and in the future. Current benefits include medical, dental and vision insurance. Full time crewmembers receive medical insurance that allows them to see any doctor that they desire and they do not need a referral to see a specialist. In addition the part-time crewmembers are granted a traditional indemnity medical plan. The dental insurance is provided to all crewmembers and includes orthodontic services. The vision insurance is voluntary and allows for an exam and lenses every 12 months.

Jetblue also has group legal, which allows those who participate access to lawyers that can assists them with various legal matters including bankruptcy, living trusts and wills, estate planning and purchase.

Sale or refinancing of your home. In addition, other benefits offered by Jetblue include flexible spending, life insurance, disability insurance, home and automobile insurance, paid time off and discount programs.

For long-term security the company offers benefits such as a 401 (k) investment plan. Under this plan Jetblue matches the first 3% that an employee saves dollar for dollar. In addition, the company has…

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