Collaborative Communication: Organization Structure of McDonalds

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Thesis: Combined efforts and contributions of different individuals and groups can be utilized to achieve a particular objective trough collaborative communication.

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This essay starts by identifying a product oriented company that has ever been in a situation that required collaboration, assesses the success or failure of this process as a result of the nature of the organization , evaluates the ability or inability of the company to promote collaborative communication and ends with a summary and conclusion.

The famous product oriented food service organization, McDonalds Restaurants developed from a sole eatery in San Bernardino, California, in 1948. In 1991, McDonald's restaurants totaled to 12400 across 59 countries (Camarinha-Matos & Afsarmanesh, 2005). The organization generates revenue of $40billion from the sales from all its restaurants worldwide. McDonalds has expanded its operations to over 200 countries on six continents where it operates more than 31,000 restaurants (Boyle, & Kochinda, 2004). With its unique infrastructure and expertise in restaurant performance, property, retailing and marketing, the company can enjoy tremendous benefits associated with scale and a firm financial status.

McDonalds is a bureaucratic organization that is headed by Donald Easterbrook as the president. It has managers who report to the president. They are; accounting manager, marketing manager, director of operations and lastly the human resources manager (Beyerlein, Freedman, McGee, et al. 2003). These managers report directly to the President on any matters and issues concerning their respective departments. Below the manager are supervisors who are in charge of supervising the work done by the junior staff. These managers are the advertising supervisors, sales supervisors, note takers supervisors and finally the copiers supervisors. Both the advertising and sales supervisors report directly to the marketing manager while note takers and copiers supervisors report directly to the operations manager (Boyle, & Kochinda, 2004). There are junior staffs under the supervisors who include the sales staff, note takers and the copiers. The sales staff reports to the sales supervisor, note takers to the note takers supervisors and the copiers to the copiers supervisors.

During the late 1980s, criticism of McDonald's environmental policies began to arise more so concerning the companys polystyrene clamshell canisters. The company replaced chlorofluorocarbons that were used in manufacturing containers with much weaker hydrochlorofluorocarbons in 1987 (Boyle, & Kochinda, 2004). It was after facing massive criticisms that the usage of chlorofluorocarbons was a contributing factor to ozone layer diminution. In 1989, McDonald started facing environmental walkouts ranging from rallies, letters and customers sending back their polystyrene containers to the organization.

In 1989, the company was approached by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to analyze waste-related environmental issues, but it did not give in. Considering that the youth who are long time loyal customers to the company were requesting for environmentally friendly practices, McDonald's began a strategy to recycle these polystyrene containers. Several states in the US wanted a total ban on these packaging containers, and this made McDonald's welcome the EDF help and formed a joint task force with them. The task helped the company develop a strategy claiming that it was committed to safeguard environment for future benefits and that all business heads should also be environmental heads (Boyle, & Kochinda, 2004). McDonald's restaurants annually review all packaging materials and food production to outline any source reduction as a way to reduce wastes. The company realized that for them to succeed in their waste reduction aims they have to collaborate with their suppliers. To advance collaboration, the company developed a yearly environmental convention aimed at training suppliers and issuing annual supplier analysis and evaluations (Beyerlein, Freedman, McGee,et al. 2003).

The organization structure of McDonald's restaurant may appear simple, but it is complicated considering that it has its operations in over 200 countries in six continents. This complex nature of the organization inhibited the collaborative communication between the company and its suppliers (Beyerlein, Freedman, McGee, et al. 2003). Although there is an annual supplier meeting, the dispersion of departments across the world makes it difficult for verbal communication to be possible because of the distance between the parties concerned. To ensure effective collaborative communications, the company came up with a strategy enhancing written and non-verbal types of communication through issuing of annual supplier reviews, analysis and also ensuring that brochures containing this information are available at the company's outlets all over the world (Beyerlein, Freedman, McGee, et al. 2003)

McDonalds organization can promote collaborative communication as it can be seen from its structure. The company focuses on achieving higher results as well as promotes personal accountability. For example, managers and supervisors in this company are solely accountable for the running of their respective departments. The company considers its collaboration with EDF as a way to achieve solid waste reduction. There are rules and regulation that govern this company as the employees are guided by McDonalds leadership policies and principles. However, the company has an inability to promote collaborative communication since its departments are not flexible enough to allow effective collaborative communication (Boyle, & Kochinda, 2004).

From my survey I have learned that collaborative communication is inevitable for large organization because they are a part of the larger community. For this communication to be effective in an organization, there should be individual accountability, the organization should be flexible enough, collaboration should be view as a way to succeed and lastly, guiding principles should be in place.

In conclusion, one can say that collaboration uses the contributions of the involved to complete a particular task through collaborative communication. McDonalds restaurants were involved in collaboration, and they managed to communicate collaboratively to solve environmental issues.


Beyerlein, M. M., Freedman, S., McGee, C., & Moran, L. (2003). The ten principles of collaborative organizations. Journal of Organizational Excellence, 22(2), 51-63.

Boyle, D. K., & Kochinda, C. (2004). Enhancing collaborative communication of nurse and physician leadership in two intensive care units. Journal of Nursing Administration, 34(2), 60-70.

Camarinha-Matos, L. M., & Afsarmanesh, H. (2005). Collaborative networks: a new scientific discipline. Journal of intelligent manufacturing, 16(4-5), 439-452.

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