Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Pioneer of Organizational Creativity

As one of the most innovative organizations in the world, the Coca-Cola Company “strives to refresh the world, inspire moments of optimism and happiness, create value and make a difference”. Through creative leadership, product innovation, inventive business processes, and encouraging consumer participation, Coca-Cola has become an agent of change for communities, by utilizing their resources to make an impact on the global environment.

According to Richard Florida, a company’s most vital asset is its creative capital, or a team of creative employees capable of discovering new technologies and ways to solve problems, increase efficiency, and power economic growth (125). Coca-Cola prides itself on creating an environment for its employees that fosters exploration, creativity, professional growth, and interpersonal relationships. Florida highlights the fact that organizations should stray away from which traits make individuals creative and instead “[unlock] the social and management contexts in which creativity is most effectively nurtured, harnessed, and mobilized” (126). Similarly, Heifitz focuses on leadership as an activity, and encourages the “unhinging of leadership” from personality traits in order to be able to assess the many ways in which individuals exercise leadership behavior.

Employees are constantly provided opportunities to grow with the organization and are rewarded for doing so. Coca-Cola offers a unique experience to employees known as the Coca-Cola University (CCU). CCU is a virtual global community where employees engage in learning and capability training in order to establish a foundation and align employee efforts with broader organizational goals. This is just one example of how Coca-Cola aids in product innovation and business processes. The company has acknowledged the importance of their employees and will provide the necessary resources and tools to harness creativity.

The most creative and profitable aspect of Coca-Cola is their brand. Coke is one of the few brands that inspires and promotes happiness, a company that has proven to be an American symbol and a representative of American innovation around the world. The company has over 500 brands and can be found in more than 200 countries. In order to keep an international presence, the company has had to adapt to local cultures and business processes to ensure that their product is accepted by consumers. This creative adaptation has benefited not only the organization but the communities it serves as well. The company is in a unique position to contribute to the economic vitality of even the most remote communities around the world(

Finally, it is the involvement of the consumers and customers in the creative process that has led to organizational success. According to Florida & Goodnight, organizations should “engage customers as creative partners so that the [organization] can deliver superior products” (126). Coca-cola does just this by helping their customers maintain and grow their businesses.

It is transformative and creative brands that bring about change and prosperity to communities. Brands like this are shaped by innovative processes and creating a unique environment for employees to work to their potential.

“After all, it’s the combined talents, skills, knowledge, experience and passion of our people that make us who we are”

More information about The Coca-Cola Company:

The Pepsi Refresh Project

Are corporations oblgated to give back to society? Are those that choose to give back and profit from a charitable campaign in the wrong?

Instead of spending $20 million for their annual Super Bowl ad campaign, PepsiCo decided to spend funds on a social marketing campaign called the Pepsi Refresh Project. Now, the Pepsi Refresh Project is making headlines around the globe. Pepsi is giving away millions of dollars each month (totaling $20 million at the end of the year) to fund refreshing ideas that change the world. The ideas with the most votes at the end of each month will receive grants ranging from 5k, 25k, 50k and 250k. There are several categories that include: health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods, and education (

Pepsi has received ample amounts of positive press covering their new innovative campaign. Their profits are also on the rise. While this campaign is noteworthy, is it just a marketing ploy to gain profit? Or does Pepsi believe in corporate responsibility and giving back to society?

Selznick discusses responsible leadership. He says the leader and the organization’s values must merge. The main task of a leader is to avoid opportunism and utopianism. The price for opportunism is that you start to trade off your values for the short-term gains. It also starts to define the character of the organization. In Pepsi’s case, I do not think they are trading short-term gains for values. A $20 million dollar campaign is no small mission. I would like to think that Pepsi has outstanding values in their organization. The public certainly thinks so after the Refresh Campaign launched. Do you think Pepsi is opportunistic?

Barnard is another theorist that believes in executive responsibility. He believes in order to get everyone rallied around a certain goal, it requires a moral task and a creative process. Barnard continues by saying there are “moral aspects of cooperation…..cooperation is a creative process carried out by organization as a whole, with leadership as the ‘indispensable fulminator....moral creativeness is the ability to create or provide moral basis for problem solution to others; to generate enthusiasm and conviction, which make cohesiveness and cooperation possible.” I believe Pepsi had creative cooperation when carrying this campaign out. It was ground-breaking. For a social media campaign to be this successful, an organization has to rally.

Goodpaster also has similar beliefs as Barnard and Selznick.

Friedman has opposing views to Barnard, Selznick and Goodpaster. He says that companies should not be involved with social issues, and if an organization does want to be involved in “corporate responsibility” the only exception is profit. One must have a split between their company and values.

In an article written by Scott Moir, Moir states, “As long as a corporation is trying to make the world a better place one area code at a time, I think that's a pretty good start!” Moir goes on to name four benefits of corporate social responsibility from an Internet public relations and marketing perspective.

In my opinion, I think Pespi is doing a wonderful thing. Not only are they helping hundreds of organizations and people, they are giving individuals a voice and a platform. Pepsi is granting $20 million dollars over the next year. I think they deserve all the free publicity and positive moral they can get. There is no way of knowing Pepsi’s motives behind the campaign – profit or giving back. But giving this much -- does is even matter? What do you think?

Additional Sources:


2. Moir, Scott. 19 Feb 2010.“Pepsi Refresh Project- Corporate Social Responsibility a Priority in 2010?”