Sample Case Study of Coca Cola Company

Strategic Management for Engineers and Technologists: A Case Study of Coca Cola Company


Leaders and executive management are bombarded with continuous challenges of how they will tackle and meet the expectations enshrined to their duties. In most cases, they are expected to make tough decisions that impact the entire organization and its operations. Strategic leadership is defined as the leader’s ability to influence other members in the organization to willingly make day-to-day decisions that enhance productivity towards achieving the company’s objectives (Elenkov 2005). It involves employing techniques that can align with diverse workgroups so that they can implement positive changes.

Strategic leadership requires a leader who can steer the entire team towards a direction that ensures the success and growth of the company. In an organization, technologists and engineers are very important due to their nature of work (Finkelstein 2009). They ensure that the systems are running, and they handle any breakdown in town to avoid inconveniencing the company. They also embrace any technical changes to ensure the company stays abreast in accomplishing its mission. Therefore, their presence and work is paramount to the organization; hence, they require precise leadership to delegate their duties effectively. This paper highlights the strategic leadership of engineers and technologists in relation to the Coca Cola Company.

Coca Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company is a multinational manufacturer of soft drink beverages that operates in various countries in the entire world. The company was established in 1889 and it has managed to provide the world with refreshments. It was reported in 2005 that the organization sold its products to around 200 countries in the world (Patscheke 2011). In 2013, the company accrued approximately $46.854 billion in terms of revenue. It is clear that it serves a large market share; hence, consumer satisfaction is the company’s top priority. In order to achieve this, the company conducts extensive research and development to keep up with the technological advancement. Information technology has helped the company to garner the largest market share in the world in relation to soft drink and refreshments. Ed Steinke, the company’s CIO, says that coca cola is broadening the IT department to employ an array of roles in strategic leadership. The Global Director of Productivity and Operation Excellence express his regards towards the tech team for being in the frontline in ensuring productivity.

An appraisal of internal and external environment of Coca Cola Company 

Internal Appraisal

An organization ought to determine its product and marketing strategy’s viability. In order to obtain a clear picture of the progress of the organization, the management has to conduct an internal company appraisal. This involves an evaluation of the internal factors of production that enhance the organization operations. Appraising incorporates documenting performance via observation, recalling, evaluating, written communication, judgment, and analysis of data. Strategic leadership requires a complete analysis that unearths how employees work and coordinate with each other. Coca Cola Company appraises its employees annually in order to understand the quality of work per person (Finkelstein 2009). They scrutinize the employees internally as geared towards achieving the organizational goals. It employs the following techniques during the internal appraisal.

  1. Quality of work

There are over 454 facilities, 55, 000 vehicles, and 2.5 million vending machines that include beverage dispensers and coolers among others (Waddell 2011). There are over 200 countries that host the Coca Cola Company and they have either a plant or a bottling company. All these machineries involved require close attention and regular maintenance to ensure their performance. This implies that the technological team and the engineers involved should be up and running to ensure the systems are running.

  1. Quantity of work

The quantity of work refers to the amount of work an individual technologist handles regardless of the volume. The company is cumbersome due to the demanding nature of work involved. The human resource provides that employees should report at 8 a.m. and leave by 4 p.m., but the engineers’ work is demanding; hence, they work all round the clock (Elenkov, 2005). The leaders should ensure that the team is competent, neat, and accurate to handle a large amount of work.

  1. Team work

A collaborative working environment is always effective and enhances productivity. An internal appraisal observes how members of the staff are working with each other and the flow of information among the departments. The supervisor or the leader passes instructions, which are conveyed to the subordinates. Teamwork is portrayed by how they react and respond to those instructions contributing to group performance to realize the set goals and objectives.

  1. Job knowledge

In some instances, employees have passed through the education system but they lack the requisite knowledge to handle their tasks. They might be possessing exquisite academic qualifications, but they are unable to apply them in the field (Moye 2012). Coca Cola Company is aware of this situation; hence, it involves job knowledge in its internal appraisal. Job knowledge refers to the application of the appropriate level of technical and procedural knowledge in the specific field. This results in an employee handling his/her tasks under minimal supervision.

External Appraisal

Coca Cola Company is a multinational company that operates on a global arena. The external environment is paramount in ensuring strategic leadership among the technologists. The company uses the following strategic objectives in order to understand its external environment.

  1. Strengthening brand portfolio

The Coca Cola Company CIO asserts that the Information Technology and marketing are intertwined in the organization (Patscheke 2011). Sales promotion success can be attributed to the effectiveness of technology applied according to the company’s CIO. Since coca cola operates in an array of countries, having a strong brand image implies that the marketing strategy is effective. It shows that the IT department is up to the task of ensuring recognition in the outside environment.

  1. Efficiency in its Operations

The company operates in over 200 countries with more than 454 facilities. The effectiveness of the operations undertaken in these regions is attributed to the technology applied and its efficacy. The smooth operations experienced in various branches shows that the tech team is working efficiently.

  1. Continuing to build customer relationship

A customer rapport is an important factor in ensuring that the organization is working towards its mission and vision statements. The company realizes its customer relationship through the feedback they give and customer loyalty (Kania 2011). Feedback is channeled through the avenues availed by the IT team in the organization. The company’s websites, social and networking sites among others are all enabled by the tech team. Therefore, profuse feedback can be used to conduct an external appraisal.

PESTEL analysis


There has been hue and cry regarding the quality of coca cola products in the People’s Republic Of China. In 2013, the government created a ministry to regulate the quality of food and drugs where coca cola was expected to evaluate its factory conditions before continuing supplying its products to the country.


During the recession in 2001, the company took adequate measures of acquiring low cost loans to fund the following year. This was after analyzing the economic trend to avoid high taxations in 2002.


People in the western world are geared towards enhancing a healthy lifestyle. Coca cola drinks have been banished as one of the products containing chemicals. As a result, the came up with products such as coke zero which are sugar free to keep up with the social factors.


This is notable in their new advertising methods and packaging designs where they are putting a person’s name on their pack.

The company has opened new factories due to the efficiency of technology.


Five porter analysis

Potential competitors Substitute products Bargaining power of buyers Bargaining power of suppliers Rivalry among existing firms
The entry is relatively low; hence, there is medium to no pressure in consumer switching The pressure is high with many substitutes such as juice and other carbonated sodas like Pepsi. The pressure is low since there are no individual buyers but bulk orders from companies like Wal-Mart Raw materials of coca cola are only carbonated water and phosphoric acid, which are mainly used to make sodas. Therefore, the supplies consider coca cola as part of their largest customer Sodas such as Pepsi and Dr. Pepper are likely to bring high pressure due to their unique flavors and knowledge of the market.


Strategic Leadership in the Coca Cola Company

Coca Cola Company has a well-defined leadership strategy that is used to develop the employees. The most integral aspect of strategic leadership is that the entire organization should uphold a collective clear vision, and a capacity to control the set leadership challenges. A strategy aims at achieving both short-term and long-term benefits that are aimed at enhancing productivity. Actually, Rowe et al., (2009) assert that strategic leadership involves short-term stability and long-term viability. In light of this, Coca Cola Company has a four-level leadership strategy.

  1. Developing Individuals

The organization believes that each individual should be able to grow from the inner self and gain social identity. An employee joins the company with the potential of evolving to growth and maturity. The firm does not only provide a working environment, but also a place to enact societal impact. The company refers to this growth as the inside-out development among individuals. It engages the values, beliefs, identity, emotions, intuitions, imagination, and leadership logic. The management aims at providing a mindset of each individual in the context of the firm and the society. Coca cola aims at developing an individual who can use his/her technical and leadership skills in steering the organization or the community (Waddell 2011). In case of a leadership vacuum, the already developed individuals are ready to assume those roles. The institution has a program that nurtures young people from the age of 18 years in emphasizing on maturing their character to embrace them for future leadership.

  1. Developing Groups and Teams

High-performing teams actualize things and ensure that tasks are done. Leadership among various departments or groups needs to spell out how they will be developed. All groups across board should be blended together to ensure smooth working environment. It incorporates the process of bridging the horizontal, vertical, demographic, geographical, and stakeholder boundaries. This enables all the teams to work together; for example, the coca cola company has initiatives, such as DEKA that propagates for trust and mutual respect among all employees (Elenkov 2005).

  1. Developing the Organization

This strategy simply refers to the act of promoting an interdependent leadership activity. It also defines the culture that is set in the organization and the norms of leadership. Coca cola makes policies that are sensitive to the society, employee, and customer requirements. Therefore, leadership decision is based on all stakeholders’ opinions.

  1. Developing Network

This involves the relationship with other organizations that partners with the company. They include the advertisers, sponsors, and competitors among others. Network of organizations propagates that the goals are aligned to each other, and solve problems and challenges. The structure of leadership in network of organizations should be collaborative in order to make a collective impact (Mackey 2013). For instance, there is a need for continuous communication, sharing of information, reinforcing activities, and sharing measurement systems. Engineers should work closely with other partners in order to exchange important information that is required in their area of operation. They should embrace ethical worldview, sustainability, and focus on future scenarios in the internal environment. In the external environment, they should correlate with the backbone organizations, such as the FIFA World Cup, which is one of the Coca Cola Company advertisers. Similarly, there are set global standards that the technology team should meet in order to enhance strategic leadership.


The most important thing in strategic leadership that coca cola technologists should embrace is collaborative inquiry. Isdell (2011) says that the design and operation of leadership solutions is collective work. Evaluation and learning from mistakes should be overboard practicing a lot of patience. Another aspect of strategic leadership is imaging as a group. One leader should ensure the entire group has the same image in order to brainstorm and affect the idea. Thirdly, the organization should prioritize the community matters. The organization needs the society and vice versa, society issues directly affect the organization. Therefore, strategic leadership involves making policies that have positive impacts to the society.

Global warming and environmental degradation is a current global challenge that is ailing the entire world. The technological team should be fully focused on enhancing sustainability in their area of work. The coca cola company is working towards managing the environment and avoiding degradation. Strategic leadership has enhanced coca cola in making positive mark towards achieving their objectives. For example, it launched an initiative in 2010 aimed at doubling supply and revenue without doubling infrastructure or costs involved. As for now, the company has opened a least 8,000 supply chains and front-line employees (Asif 2014). This can be attributed to the efficacy of strategic leadership initiated by Gartner in 2008. As a result, the company has become number 9 in supply chain top ranks. The technology team cannot be overlooked in this progress as it has helped in production, distribution, marketing, and availing feedback. Therefore, strategic management for engineers and technologist is essential to the organization


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