Mcdonalds Organisational Culture Case Study

Saele, C. (2007). Linking organisational culture and values with a firm's performance: a case study from the NZ airline industry. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Business, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.

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The purpose of this research has been two fold. Firstly to conduct a cultural assessment of a New Zealand airline (referred to as “Pukeko Air Ltd.” for confidentiality reasons) in order to identify the perceived current and future preferred organisational culture and organisational values present in this organisation. Secondly to assess how selected organisational members associated the present and future cultural and values profile with organisational performance. A hybrid research methodology was employed, where data was collected in two stages; one quantitative and the other qualitative. First, a quantitative survey questionnaire was distributed to all employees, effectively combining Cameron and Quinn’s (1999) Organisational Culture Assessment Instrument, and McDonald and Gandz’ (1992, p. 69) “Shared values for the modern business corporation”. Second, the results and outcome of the survey formed the basis for six qualitative interviews with senior management staff. The interview questions sought management’s interpretation of survey findings, and in particular the relationship between the current and future cultures and values and associations with organisational performance. The findings from the research show a relatively close alignment between the current and preferred future organisational culture. This signifies that the organisation is in a good situation for the future. Moreover, the research project sought senior staff members’ perceptions of organisational culture’s role in performance. The findings suggest performance is somewhat affected by culture and values, and that these elements helps determining what sort of airline the organisation wants to become, as well as reducing impact of external factors affecting the company. The study indicates not only what type of culture and which values are deemed conducive to success from a management point of view, but also highlights the perceived importance of commitment and ownership in creating a strong culture in this New Zealand Airline.

airline industry, organisational culture, organisational values, organisational performance

ANZSRC Field of Research:
Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services (350000)

Burchell, Noel; Peel, Simon

Copyright Holder:
Cato Saele

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Client:McDonald’s Australia
Aim:Get new McDonald’s employees ready to work on their first day
Solution:An online induction program, using interactive digital media
Results:30,000 new users per year are now ready to work at McDonalds on day one.



McDonald’s Australia has over 880 restaurants across Australia, with around 90,000 people employed in the restaurants and management offices. With more than one million people coming through their restaurants every day, McDonalds count on their Crew Members to make the experience special for their customers.

The Challenge

With over 90,000 employees in hundreds of restaurants around Australia, the program demanded a single tool to communicate with, engage and train the entire organisation. It was also important to appeal to a young audience, whilst maintaining the McDonald’s tone and feel.

The Business Opportunity

With a large pool of mostly Gen Z and Y Crew Members joining McDonalds Australia each year, McDonald’s sought to re-imagine their existing online induction programme so that it would communicate essential ‘ready-to-work’ knowledge, prepare employee in a short (1 hour) timeframe, and engage with the young workforce. To help meet these objectives, McDonald’s partnered with Workstar to create the Welcome to the Team learning module, designed to:

  • Provide an orientation for new McDonald’s Crew Members. This orientation is designed to ensure that the new Crew Member is ready to work on their first day on the job. Including understanding critical policies, requirements around safety and hygiene, and the McDonald’s culture and dedication to their customers.
  • Appeal to a young audience through a high level of engagement while maintaining a flavour of the McDonalds experience.

The Solution

  • As the induction is one of the first experiences of a new employee and to attain the desired level of employee engagement, Workstar proposed a rich, higher end module.
  • After consulting with the McDonald’s Training team, Workstar developed a ‘stage’ metaphor as the basis for presenting content in the induction course which ties in with their customer service focus. Furthermore, the stage theme gains the learner’s attention due to the perception of depth with the elements on the stage.
  • Rewarding learners and encouraging discovery
    In the ‘Welcome to Our Team’ course, Crew Members could collect five parts of a customer’s order by completing key learning interactions. At the end of the module all of the items could then be presented to a customer. Each part of the order would be a food item but more importantly would reinforce a key learning point
  • Contextualisation of information
    Crew Members are motivated to pay attention in the course if they know it will help them perform better. To achieve this Workstar looked for all opportunities to contextualise the information in the course so Crew Members can see direct examples of the theory in action. For example, when talking about the Meal Policy we would not only provide the summary of the policy but also show a common scenario in relation to this
  • Personalised Avatar to connect the new employee to McDonalds
    Workstar created the ability for the new Crew Member to upload their photo and create their own personal avatar that placed them personally in each scenario. This strategy throws the Crew Member into a real life scenario where they are challenged to think through some of the issues similar to what they’ll face at work. This type of approach connects the Crew Member to McDonald’s and their team before setting foot in the restaurant for their first shift. This strategy also allowed for the flexibility to place the learner in the customer’s shoes to focus more on their experiences as a customer and their expectations around cleanliness and service.


“The module provides a consistent, engaging message that aligns all new Crew to our core business values whilst introducing the new Crew to our fun and dynamic organisation culture.” - Ana Curdija, National Training and HR Design Consultant, McDonalds Australia



The Results

    • 30,000 new users per year ready to work on day one
    • Won industry learning award: LearnX Best Learning Program - Induction - Gold, 2013



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