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DDB Case Study

DDB Case Study

DDB industries is clearly an unusual example of business approach. Non-standard ways of creating working area, setting goals and achieving them makes ВВD stand out against most companies of its sphere, not to mention companies from less creative types of business.

It is not an easy task to analyse DDB’s approach in human motivation in terms of certain theories (for a theory is often a strict set of views and ideas, while a working process is rather a living organism that is highly flexible). Still, let us take a look at David c McClelland’s motivational needs theory and try to see how DDB’s top management uses this theories concepts in motivation employees. McClelland’s idea of motivation consisted of three main drivers: the need for power, achievement, and affiliation – each influencing different types of employees in a different way. By hiring “recruiting and retaining high-potential individuals”, the DDB management automatically receives workers with a need for achievement. While setting self-managed teams that work on certain projects, they achieve the “affiliation” factor, and the team leaders that are chosen by the team satisfy their need for power. In fact, all group members have an opportunity to work on several projects and have an opportunity for Job enlargement, job enrichment, job rotation and other motivational tools – the things most workers from other industries may only dream of. The idea of sharing the income by dividing a “pot of money” according to each member’s contribution is another motivation that manages the level of motivation and responsibility among the members of the working units.

As for the process motivation theories, we may apply the goal-setting theory, for it is clear that the DDB employees “the goals that matter most: earnings per share and assets under management”. DDB establishes corporate-level goals and translates these into goals for the team – the employees, thus, are aware of what they are doing, why do they do it and the clear goal-statement related with earnings per share stimulate the understanding of purpose and possible reinforcements (e.g. personal earnings depend upon the company’s earnings).

The goal-setting approach gives team leaders another opportunity to train communication and motivation skills: through “describing the project in an enthusiastic manner so that others will want to join the team” and stimulate high working performance afterwards.

If we take a look at DDB as a type of a learning organization, it would be quite clear that it is a good example for the description of the concept.
The core disciplines in building the learning organization according to the author of “The Fifth Discipline”, Peter Senge, are: personal mastery, mental models, team learning, shared vision, and systems thinking.

The concept of the five disciplines important for a learning organization are embodied in DDB’s approach in the following way: first, they hire high-potential individuals, whose personal mastery and mental models (simply put: individual learning and outlook) are formed and often shared: they have confidence in their ideas, can articulate and sell them to others, have respect for others, and a drive to succeed. The teams learning takes place in the working process, when each individual brings personal element, knowledge and experience into the development of shared vision. According to Senge, team learning also “builds on personal mastery, for talented teams are made up of talented individuals”.

The ability to participate in different projects (in “ad-hoc” teams), while belonging to a certain “base” team, provides DDB employees with an opportunity of develop a team vision and practice (the core of the learning process), as they do the common tasks together as a single unit. The shared vision is another crucial element of Senge’s theory and it is something a learning organization cannot do without.

The DDB management communicates commonly shared goals to its employees, thus developing a shared corporate vision on the daily tasks and strategic aims.

Certainly, there is no perfect learning organization in terms of appreciating individual way of thinking, needs of the empoyees and ways they interact and learn with one another. But the most successful organizations are embracing the ideas of the organizational development in order to meet the challenges of the new era of global market, where the values of an individual are getting more attention, and human resources are highly appreciated – and DDB is certainly among them.

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