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December 27, 2012

Morning Star Tomato Processing Plant Has No Managers, Very High Level of Employee Independence

First I thought this would probably be some kind of niche hippy-dippy outfit, but the company turns out to be the biggest tomato processor in the world, processing 40% of California's processed-tomato crop. (That is, tomatoes not bound for sale as whole tomatoes but as sauce or salsa or whatever.)

It's a pretty interesting approach to management which seems to work.

Employees decide how their skill sets can best help Morning Star succeed and then develop their own lists of roles and responsibilities in collaboration with their colleagues. If Morning Star employees want to purchase new equipment, they don't ask managers for permission. Rather, they discuss potential purchases with colleagues who will be affected by the purchase and, if others with expertise support the decision, they simply buy what they need. There is no R&D department at Morning Star. There are, however, strong incentives for every employee to innovate. Workers who successfully innovate don't receive new titles. They earn the respect of their colleagues in addition to financial compensation.

Some of this sounds like exaggeration: Obviously there are some bosses. Someone, after all, looks at your productivity and decides to give you a raise (or fire you).

Still, interesting.



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posted by Ace at 04:23 PM

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