Organizational Culture and Hum Development

Organizational Culture and Human Resources’ Training and
Development – A study about the McDonald’s Hamburger University
Morais, T., Lopes, P. & Jordão, F.
Psychology Center, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, University of Porto,
This study is a conceptual paper about the relationship between Organizational Culture and Human Resources’ Training and Development in McDonald’s. Based on information about this organization
found in articles, web sites and other media content, and having in consideration the conceptions of some experts in Organizational Psychology, we tried to know this organization’s culture focusing on its
shared values, taking also into consideration the influence of different countries’ national culture. We also explored the importance that McDonald’s gives to training and development, so that we could
understand the dynamic between these two main themes. We could understand that it’s possible to find always the same restaurant in different parts of the world because of the mutual influence between
Organizational Culture and Human Resource’s Training and Development that exists in this organization. The creation of the Hamburger
University is a prime example of the power that the organizational
culture has in McDonald’s training, and the last one is also recognized as a major factor for the full ownership and identification
of their Human Resources with McDonald’s Culture. We could conclude
that the Training given at Hamburger University is a way of developing this organization’s culture.
McDonald’s is known worldwide as a leader in the fast food industry. There are over 30 000
restaurants in more than 120 countries and it is known that this enormous expansion has an
important franchising system supporting it. It became an interesting subject for the authors to
understand how the McDonald’s standardization could be so successfully extended to the most
different parts of the world. The brand’s standardization that the franchisee receives is one of its
advantages, but this is also a problem when the organization wants to expand globally.
Reaching a balance is particularly challenging in far-away countries, that are culturally different.
For this reason, it becomes relevant to understand how this particular franchise can be adapted
to the new cultural environment without loosing its image and its familiar layout (Risner, 2001).
Organizational culture is a main subject in every organization’s life, as it constrains the human
resources’ practices and these should take the first one into consideration, as a way of not being
ineffective. On the other hand, the human resources’ practices can create, shape or make the
organizational culture stronger (Nunes & Vala, 2007).
Having McDonalds as our Organizational focus, we tried to understand how the
Organizational Culture is, how the Human Resource’s Training and Development can be defined
and what’s the relationship between them.
McDonald’s Organizational Culture and
Development, so that we can find a solid
standardization of this organization in so
many parts of the world?
Training and
We collected an extensive information about the McDonald’s, found in scientific articles,
web pages and other media content such as videos. Based also on theories about
Organizational Culture and Human Resources’ Training and Development we joined all the
data together and we’ve developed a way of looking into the McDonald’s phenomena.
We analyzed the information collected about McDonald’s having in mind the theoretical conceptions mentioned before.
1. Which are McDonald’s Organizational Values?
In what concerns to Organizational Culture, we found that the work in McDonald’s is
globally uniform and standardized and is also guided through some rules with the goal to
keep 4 main values.
3. How do we find McDonald’s successfully instaled all over the world?
There exists a constant adaptation to the different cultures where McDonald’s is established
that allows its development in countries such as India, Sweden, Mexico or China.
Think globally, act locally
Kosher Food
Developed by Lou Groen, a McDonald’s franchisee, with the goal of
ending with the low number of clients on Fridays. This restaurant
was located in a catholic community.
Was created for the first time in Oporto in 1994 and had an
enormous success. It was then exported to other countries.
We can find this specific kind of food on this company’s restaurants
in Israel, only served and frequented by Muslims in Meca.
McDonald’s in
Specifically thinking about the Polish’s habits, the restaurants in
Poland have two different menus that have different products: one
from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and other from 10:30 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Maharaja Mac
A sandwich composed of two mutton pies created for McDonald’s
restaurants in India where a portion of the population, for religious
reasons, does not eat beef.
In New Zealand.
Kiwi Burgers
Founded in 1961 specially to train
the McDonald’s franchisees and
Today there are 7 Universities all
over the world.
Importance of the founder’s philosophy in the Organizational Culture
In what concerns to Human Resources’ Training and Development, we consider the Hamburger
University as a prime example of what is done in McDonald’s in this organizational field.
Values that were
defined by Ray Kroc in
the 50s and still define
Organizational Culture
If I had a brick for every time I’ve repeated the
phrase Quality, Service, Cleanliness and
Value, I think I’d probably be able to bridge the
Atlantic Ocean with them (Ray Kroc)
2. How is Human Resources’ Training and Development at McDonald’s?
Besides all the standardized processes that
characterize McDonald’s, it also respects the
idiosyncrasies of each place and tries to adapt to
the costumer’s needs.
Hamburguer U. is the center of excellence that
ensures that the standards of quality, service
value and cleanliness are maintainded here and
around the world.
(Diana Thomas, H.U.)
Training in:
Making and serving of an hamburger
Food preparation
Equipment maintenance
Quality control
Advertisement and community relations
Dealing with customers, crews and unions
Kroc’s founding principles
The Hamburger University is a way to communicate and develop the organizational values that
were defined years ago by Ray Kroc. The history of McDonald’s, his founder ‘s principles, are
subjects that are upholded during the training sessions. Despite he has passed away, he stills lives
in Hamburger University.
McDonald’s success can be explained by the strong and mutual relationship that exists between
Organizational Culture and Human Resources’ Training and Development. The power of the
brand, the unique feelings and knowledge that we associate to this organization can be
explained by this solid structure of Organizational Culture. McDonald’s is the same place for us
over the years and in every country that we go. We believe that the Ray Kroc’s foundations and
the four values that he defended so many times are one of the reasons that explain this
success. The Training and Development work as an essential way to communicate this Culture
through all the restaurants and worldwide.
H. U.
Human Resources’
Training and
The Hamburger University is a major example that in McDonald’s training works as a mean to
transmit essential aspects of this organization’s culture. Also, the way training is carried out is a
manifestation of this same culture. For example, in 2000 the Hamburger University changed its
learning patterns by including more interactive classes, keeping up with the changes that were
occurring in the organizational culture.
Human Resources’ Training and Development, together with an Organizational Culture of
Quality, Service, Convenience and Value allows McDonald’s to have success in the different
cultures where it is developed. They establish their own culture (with the standardized products,
for example) but they also adapt to those new cultures (creating new products).
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Nunes, F. & Vala. J. (2007). Cultura Organizacional e Gestão de Recursos Humanos. In Caetano, A. & Vala, J. (Org.s) Gestão de Recursos Humanos. Contextos, Processos e Técnicas (3ª Ed.).
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Risner, M. (2001). Successful fast-food franchising in Brazil and the role of culture: four cases. A thesis presented to the graduate school of the university of Florida in partial fulfilment of the
requirements for the degree of master of arts, University of Florida;