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Initech and Coffee Bean Case Case Study

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Updated: Jul 9th, 2019

The two cases namely Initech and Coffee Bean describe two contrasting working environments that are defined by different leadership practices. Based on the leadership practices employed by Initech, as revealed through the interview conducted with Peter Gibbons, one of the company employees is demoralizing to the workers. Therefore, it has resulted to decreased productivity among the workers.

On the other hand, the leadership system that the Coffee Bean management uses boosts the morale of the workers. Therefore, it increases their productivity while steadily reducing their turnover at the same time. This paper aims at analyzing the management and leadership practices as described in the contrasting cases of Initech and Coffee by evaluating how each case affects the productivity of the workers.

The only source of motivation for the workers at Initech, as revealed by Peter, is the fear of being hassled by numerous bosses or even losing of job. The working environment is such that success is gauged by looking at how one looks busy rather than the actual work that is performed, as well as how perfectly it is done (Hughes et al., 2005, p. 378). Workers in this scenario just appear at work for formality.

They only strive to achieve what is required of them. Workers tur8nover in environments such as Initech is very high, as a worker will move as soon as he or she gets another job in a situation that is more encouraging. For instance, a worker such as Peter will not hesitate to move elsewhere if the chance presents itself. As he claims, while questioned by the efficiency experts, he is not lazy but simply unmotivated.

Management systems that do not encourage dialogue between the workers and the managers or leaders are simply tyrannical and oppressive (Zalenik, 1997, p. 71). The worker does not feel free, as there is always a feeling that the management is against him or her. This happens to be the case at Initech where questioning the authorities is considered a taboo.

Innovation and creativity are limited in these situations, as the workers simply prefer to keep any useful information to themselves rather than voicing it. In most cases, managers who restrain their workers do so for fear of being corrected or by simply being ignorant. The organizations end up losing a lot when it comes to ideas that should have otherwise been contributed by the workers.

On the other hand, the case of Coffee Bean provides an organizational environment that would have facilitated the maximum performance of people such as Peter Gibbons. The environment is very encouraging to both clients and the workers. Therefore, this makes everyday encounters motivating.

The management at Coffee Bean has realized the importance of leadership practices that aim at motivating the workers, which is contrary to the Initech approach. Workers at Initech get their incentives in the form of threats while the efforts of the workers at Coffee Bean are well appreciated.

The FISH management training employed at Coffee Bean, which emphasizes fun at the workplace, is very effective since it makes the work experience interesting and liberal to the workers (Hughes et al. 2005, p. 379). The workers at Coffee Bean face every day with renewed vitality and energy, which is positively reflected in their productivity.

By contrasting the two cases, it is evident that motivation of workers is important if organizational efficiency is to be achieved. Simple things such as the creation of the theme days where things are done in a given order are very effective in making the experiences of workers fun, therefore, boosting their productivity.

As proved through the 12 percent increase in average check in one of the Coffee bean stores, however, trivial an effort to boost the morale of the workers might appear on the onset, there are always results that end up benefitting the entire organization (Hughes et al. 2005, p. 379).

It is obvious that overall productivity is going down at Initech considering that even when a worker works hard, the efforts are not recognized. Instead, when the worker does something in the wrong way, he only attracts the attention of management in the form of endless warnings. There are no incentives aimed at motivating workers at Initech even when the company performs better following the efforts of a given worker.

The leadership practices of Initech have a Golem effect in that the expectations that the management has on the employees result to a decrease in productivity. For instance, the management has no doubt that the worker Peter Gibbons is a lazy worker.

Therefore, he underperforms according to their expectations, not because he is lazy, but simply because the work environment, as created by the management, influences him to do so. The prior information that the managements, such as that of Initech, has on workers such as Peter is misinformed in the first place.

There is no any amount of truth attached to it (Inamori, & Analoui, 2010, p.309). The work policies at Initech might be against any form of discriminatory acts on any employee. However, based on the expectations that have been misinformed, the management usually finds itself doing so.

For instance, whenever Peter Gibbons does a wrong thing, eight different people come to confront him about it. This gives the impression that the management is sure that Peter cannot do a single thing right: he needs to be hassled constantly to make him improve. These expectations, therefore, have the Golem effect on him. As a result, the company suffers based on his poor performance.

The expectations that the management at the different coffee store of Coffee Bean has on their workers produce the Pygmalion effect. The workers’ productivity is improved because of the expectations that the management has on the individual workers. The work environment at Coffee Bean is such that every worker feels that a lot is expected from him or her, and that he/she has the capacity to work out anything successfully.

This assumption may be wrong since it is possible that some of the workers may be lazier in relation to others considering that their capabilities cannot be leveled (Inamori, & Analoui, 2010, p.312). Yet, without straining, workers at Coffee Bean feel indebted by the expectations that the management has on them. Therefore, they take it as a challenge upon themselves.

For a company such as Initech to perform well and attain efficiency, the management should introduce leadership practices such as those employed at Coffee Bean. This is because, with worker motivation lacking, productivity is decreased. The company ends up losing a lot in terms of profits.

The work environment should be such that there are “…effective channels of interaction and communication between the management and workers” (Hughes et al. 2005, p. 379) to ensure that the most-felt issues among the workers are addressed satisfactorily.

Workers should also be given incentives based upon “their contribution to the success of the organization” (Inamori, & Analoui, 2010, p.309) rather than being noticed when they do something in the wrong way.


Hughes, R., Ginnett, R., & Curphy, G. (2005). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience (7th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Inamori, T., & Analoui, F. (2010). Beyond Pygmalion effect: The role of managerial perception. Journal of Management Development, 29(1), 306-321.

Zalenik, A. (1997). Managers and leaders: Are they different? Harvard Business Review, 55(5), 67-78.

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