Creating an effective organisational structure
A Coca-Cola Great Britain case study

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Page 5: Structure and culture

Structuring an organisation is not only about organising internal relationships, it also involves external ones. The Coca-Cola Company has built well-structured relationships with a range of external groups including bottling partners.

People often assume that The Coca-Cola Company bottles and distributes its own beverages. For the most part, it does not. The Company's primary business consists of manufacturing and selling beverage concentrates and syrups - as well as some finished beverages - to bottling and canning operations and other distributors.

The concentrates and syrups are generally sold to bottling partners, which are authorised to manufacture, distribute and sell branded products. The business system consisting of The Coca-Cola Company and bottling partners is referred to as 'the Coca-Cola system'.

The relationship The Coca-Cola Company has with its bottlers worldwide is a key source of strength. The Company works together with them to ensure that concentrates and syrups are made into finished beverages that are produced and distributed to consumers around the globe with unmatched quality and service.

Every organisation has not only a structure but also a culture. 'Culture' describes the typical way an organisation does things, including patterns of behaviour and relationships.

Important aspects of culture at Coca-Cola Great Britain (which reflect the culture of The Coca-Cola Company as a whole) are an emphasis on teamwork, and empowerment. Coca-Cola Great Britain sees its employees as its most important asset.

Motivated employees provide the engine that drives the Company's growth. Organising people into teams (e.g. marketing, sales or product teams) encourages people to feel valued. Within a team they are encouraged to contribute ideas and to be innovative. If they feel that something could be done better they are encouraged to voice that opinion.

By creating a friendly, innovative culture, Coca-Cola Great Britain is able to depend on a high quality workforce that helps it to maintain brand leadership in Great Britain and in every other market in which it operates. Trust is at the heart of every relationship, whether it be:

  • customers' and consumers' trust that the Company will provide the highest level of service and attention to their needs
  • bottling partners' trust that the Company is operating in the best interests of the Coca-Cola system
  • employees' trust that their contribution is being valued in an open culture.

Open communication channels provide the means to support a culture based on relationships. Coca-Cola has a number of communication channels, including:

  • monthly leadership team meeting (involving function heads)
  • weekly department team meetings
  • monthly employee team briefing sessions
  • consultative employee groups for each region (with representatives meeting in a European Council)
  • surveys to monitor employee views and feelings.

Coca-Cola Great Britain | Creating an effective organisational structure