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Burke Litwin Causal Model: Transactional Variables

In this segment of our ongoing case, you will be identifying key transformation or throughput processes and looking at the relationships between them. To do this you will be drawing on the Burke-Litwin Causal Model. Thus, you will need to read the article referenced on the background information page.

The Burke-Litwin is a complicated model and is, perhaps, too big for an analysis of this size. For this reason, you are going to limit your analysis to those transactional variables identified in the article. A diagram of these variables and how they interact are shown in Figure 3 on page 531. A discussion of the seven variables starts with Structure on page 532 and ends with Motivation on page 533. But you should read the paper from the beginning through the middle of page 534.

Burke, W.W. & Litwin, G.H. (1992) A causal model of organizational performance and change. Journal of Management, 18(3), 523-545

The seven transactional variables are:

Structure (Burke-Litwin describes structure as the arrangement of the functions, people responsibilities, authorities, communication and interactions in a way that supports the organization's mission, goals and strategy. Identify the organizational structure of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and comment on how well it fits - or not - with the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters strategy , as described in module 2. Be sure to specify the structure by type: matrix, team based, functional or product departmentation, organic/mechanistic, etc..)

Tasks and Skills (Unique or core competencies)
Management practices (e.g. participative or centralized decision making)
Systems and Policies (information systems, financial, marketing, production, human resources, etc.)
Work unit climate
Individual needs and goals

Figure 3 on page 531 shows that the Individual and Organizational Performance is influenced by the Motivation factor. And, the Motivation factor interacts with three factors: Task and Skills, Individual Needs and Values, and Work Unit Climate. It also shows other interactions.

Case 4 Assignment: Make a Case that the amount of Motivation in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has a direct effect on the Performance. In Case 3, you made a case for the Performance of your organization. In Case 4, you need to show that the Motivation in your company is a primary factor in generating this performance. In order to make this case, you need to generate some backing evidence and data.

Case Expectations: In order to make your case you need to:

Identify and briefly discuss each of the throughput variables in your company.
Based on Figure 3 (page 531) explain how these variables interact.
Determine how these interactions generate the amount of Motivation in the company.
Make a Case for your proposition on how Motivation affects the company's Performance.

Solution Preview

Identify and briefly discuss each of the throughput variables in your company.

The Green Mountain Coffee has a functional departmentalized structure. There are six functions used for this purpose at Green Mountain Coffee. These are sales and marketing, operations, human resources, finance, information systems, and social responsibility. Those jobs that are specialized have a direct chain of command that links them to the CEO. The structure at Green Mountain Coffee is however one of the variables at Green Mountain Coffee. The structure enables the management practice of close collaboration with each other. Further, the work unit climate at Green Mountain Coffee is such that there is close communication with the other parts of the organization. This collaboration gives Green Mountain Coffee a decision making edge. Tasks and individual skills are taped by the company and the involvement of employees from different functions motivates the employees. The system policies of locating the decision making closest to the market, creates a work climate of coordination and communication. The Green Mountain Coffee has the system of sending its employees to the coffee growing areas to see how coffee beans are grown. This action of the company satisfies individual needs and values. The individuals actually see coffee being grown and this becomes an important motivation for them.

Structure of Green Mountain Coffee is a functional divisional structure, however, there are no rigid hierarchies and cross functional involvement of people in Green Mountain Coffee is encouraged. There are four layers between the salesperson and the CEO. Even though Green Mountain Coffee is a flat organization, the layers help make better decisions. Managerial practices at Green Mountain Coffee are related to its structure. Managers use the data and information at their disposal and make high quality decisions. The systems and policies that facilitate work bring about a balance between the social responsibility and the growth objectives of Green Mountain ...

Solution Summary

This solution shows that motivation in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is a primary factor in generating performance. organizational structure is evaluated and functional areas and decision making are discusses in regards to the company's competitive edge. Communication, company policies, rewards and performance evaluations are also discussed. This solution is 1100 words and includes ten online references.