McDonalds’ Leadership and Management

Keywords: mcdonalds leadership strategy, mcdonalds management analysis

When McDonalds opened its doors for business, a new trend of fast food emerged in California, back in 1954. Ray Kroc laid the foundation of what is now one of the world’s leading food retailers. McDonalds has more than 32,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries serving more than 60 million people every day. Catering to such a large customer base and extending its roots in other countries was not an easy task, strong values and effective management were the prerequisites required to make the company where it stands today.

Since its inception, McDonalds has been actively engaged in innovating and building strong customer relations. From a chain of few restaurants to franchisees and drive thru restaurants, McDonalds has lived up to its promise of maintain convenience for its customers. Highlighting the key success areas, McDonalds label the ‘experience’ as the major determinant (Long, 2006). The core part of their business is QSC & V. QSC & V stand for quality, service, cleanliness and values. Emphasis on these factors with effective implementation through four management functions is what constitutes the major ingredients for McDonald’s success.

Functions of Management

Management is creative problem solving with the desired result of using organizational resources in a way that accomplishes its mission and objectives. These results are obtained by four management functions to which we turn next in context with the McDonalds.

Planning is the ongoing process of developing the business’ mission and objectives and determining how they will be accomplished. McDonalds shares its ideas through its well developed vision. This vision statement serves as the binding glue between the employees worldwide. They all aim to serve their customers by giving them the best quality products at their convenience. This vision statement clearly indicates the future of the organization. At McDonalds every employee knows where they are heading towards and what their individual contribution. The vision acts as the binding force which gives the employees a sense of purpose and commitment. The second aspect of planning is to have a clear defined mission. McDonald’s mission statement is ‘to be our customer’s favorite place and way to eat (Dentch, 2009)’. This mission defines their business and their place in the life of its customers.

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Planning at McDonalds identify the goals and objectives and develop their strategies and tasks to accomplish these goals. Planning at McDonalds is aligned with the changes in the external environment; it also faced many challenges like local taste of people, cultural values, and traditions of specific area in which they want to enter. The planning process maintained the core values at all franchisees, however the local demands were taken into account to indulge in their culture completely. Strategies were modified to suit the needs of the area in which they entered. This was reflected in the operations as well as the resource utilization.

One aspect that highlights McDonalds effective planning is how they manage their supply chains. Timely delivery and quality raw materials were the result of establishing good relations with the supply chain partners.

As a result of this strategic planning, McDonalds went into the business of a 24/7 restaurants. This was to match the demands of the all types of customers and to boost the profits by extending the store hours. This was accompanied with introducing breakfast at McDonalds which further added to the menu. McDonalds was now offering all three meals of the day along and was thinking along the lines of adding snacks to the menu. With clearly defined purpose of the business, embedded values that dictate the vision and emphasis on the role of planning, McDonalds is able to achieve sustainable profits.

Organizing is establishing the internal organizational structure of the organization. The focus is on division, coordination, and control of tasks and the flow of information within the organization. It is in this function that managers distribute authority to job holders. in today’s society it is important that management considers the employees and customers as the most important asset of the organization. Having a rigid structure undermines the creativity of the employees, thus the culture of empowerment and delegation is what currently prevails in the competitive environment. McDonalds uses the collaborative management approach which connects all the global franchisees worldwide under the umbrella of single company name (Long, 2006). Management encourages the practice of working and assisting with each other’s franchisees to deliver the best to their customers by coping up with external challenges and representing a collaborative responsible culture. In order to ensure consistent quality, the standards are uniform for all franchises.

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Thus a centralized structure prevails in terms of training programs, supplies and operations. The formal structure at McDonalds divides the organization in the departments and every individual knows his tasks well at which he needs to be specialized. However, these standard procedures do not give rise to bureaucratic rigidity in the organization; each employee is committed to achieve their goals. The organizational structure chosen supports the performance and is aligned with the strategy of the restaurant of providing consistent quality and great service experience.

Leadership at McDonalds, the CEO is seen as the focal point from which the leadership emerges. Jim skinner, the current CEO of McDonalds has been entertained with this title for the past thirty five years (Dentch, 2009). Skinner is said to be an excellent leader with charismatic and transformational leader. He has said to revitalize the organization and introduced a new fast food business with his new vision.

The turnaround at McDonalds can be fully attributed to his creative and innovative leadership. He was one of those who introduced ‘plan to win’ initiative that emphasized the significance of store operations. Having a diverse background and expertise, he adapted strategies to keep his employees motivated and committed. Under his leadership, he places great importance on customer satisfaction; customers come before his employees and restaurants. He promotes creativity but does not let his employees focus the primary motive of his organization. He believes in finding the talent therefore he assigns different tasks to his employees and the best one is awarded and granted with more responsibility. Skinner places importance on values and ethics.

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When McDonalds was blamed for obesity, he did not hide behind passing on the blame; instead he took actions to positively handle the situation. Thus he can be seen as a moral leader who makes McDonalds a better place for both employees and customers.

Controlling at McDonalds is the amalgam of motivated workers and the clear policies which keep them right on the track. The line manager is in charge of keeping the employees working according to the standards. At a broader perspective, every franchise must follow quality standards and abide by the strict supplier policies (Long, 2006). This is to ensure that the brands name is not in danger by irresponsible activities at individual franchise level. McDonalds Corporation believes in training its employees at Hamburger University. This is to ensure that employees are clear about the benchmark and how they modify any shortcomings in their performance to meet these standards.

Flexible work schedule, fun loving culture, training and a healthy work life balance is what keeps the employees motivated. Though McDonalds is known for its tight control and bureaucratic structure, it in no way inhibits employee productivity or commitment to the organization.


McDonalds is a global fast food chain known for its quality food and great customer experience. Through strict and clear policies and under the charismatic leadership of Skinner, McDonalds have been able to build a reputable image in the minds of its consumers. Actively responding to the changing needs of its customers, it has been able to maintain its brand essence along with rising profits. A perfect blend of the four management functions namely, planning, organizing, leading and controlling has been the key driver behind McDonald’s success.

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