FAB Sweets Case Study

FAB Sweets Case Study

Case 4 FAB Sweets Limited
Soîorc Case prepared by N. Kemp, C. Clegg, T. Wall, Case Studies in Organizational Behaviour, ed. C. Clegg, N. Kemp, & K. Legge, London: Harper &: Row, 1985,

Organisational setting
FAB Sweets Limited is a manufacturer of highquality sweets . The company is a medium-sized, family-owned, partially unionised and highly successful confectionery producer in the north of England. The case study is set within a single department in the factory where acute problems were experienced. (Excerpt)

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Case questions
1. Why is turnover often considered a motivation problem?

2. How would you analyse the department problem using expectancy theory?

Expectancy theory is categorised as a process theory of motivation, and it assumes that employees want authentic expectations.[1] The problem in the HB department could be attributed mainly to the failure by the management to apply Expectancy Theory appropriately. Based on the analysis of production and packaging sections, the relationship between performance and outcomes cannot influence work motivation, hence the reason for continued resentment and conflicts in the department.

The application of Expectancy Theory in a particular context is usually based on its major variables: Expectancy, Instrumentality and Valence. Expectancy is a belief that increase effort will increase performance.[2] Instrumentality aspects are built on the cornerstone that performing in a particular way at a certain level will be rewarded. In other words, it assumes that great performance should be rewarded. Valence is either negative or positive results that an individual places on the outcomes.[3] The HB department supervisors and factory manager failed to observe Expectancy Theory to get rid of the critical problem affecting the employees’ motivation.  Although employees embraced efforts and increased the performance, they were not motivated. The management did not consider that effort, performance and motivation should be integrated if indeed, individual motivation should be achieved.[4]. 

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The atmosphere and climate in the HB department do not favour the thriving of personal motivation. Despite employee efforts and outstanding performance, they are working under huge pressure, a condition that demotivates rather than motivating them. Employees rarely associate their efforts with the performance because their expectations are not being met. For example, the workers in the production department complain that they are bored by repetitive tasks, and their efforts are not being rewarded.[5] This means that the skills that they acquired during training could die unused because they might never perform any task in the department. The management also denied the worker’s request to work fewer hours in the afternoon because they were tired. These situations presented the lack of expectation among the workers because they did not have right to time, they did not utilise their on-job training acquired skills fully, and they did not get the essential supervisors’ support, especially in addressing employee personal problems.

The instrumentally and valence elements are unachievable dreams in the HB department. Despite performing well, the employee is not rewarded. This is demonstrated by the workers in the production room who claims that despite their hard work, which consists of extra use of physical energy compared to other tasks, they are not offered a financial reward.[6]  It is an indication that workers could not understand and link their performance to specific outcomes.[7]  There is no transparency on the performance-based reward since it only qualifies to the person who can complete all jobs in the department. However, the supervisor assigns repetitive tasks to employees to speed up the process. The employees do not trust their supervisors in deciding their performance-linked rewards. This is well illustrated by workers’ believe that management and supervisors do not value production employees. On the other hand, the supervisor feels the “trouble-makers” should be fired. The valence element in the HB scenario is the negative one. Despite employees working hard and under pressure, the outcomes are more work, and even during the slack period, they are not appreciated. Instead, they are given worse jobs in other departments.

3. How would you solve the motivation problem? Be specific.


Kemp, N, C Clegg, and T Wall. 1985. Case Studies in Organisational Behaviour. London: Harper &: Row.

Mathibe, Isaac. 2008. “Expectancy Theory and its implications for employee motivation.” Academic Leadership: The Online Journal 6 (3): 1-16. https://scholars.fhsu.edu/alj/vol6/iss3/8.

Robbins, Judge, Edward, Sandiford, Fitzgerald, and Hunt. 2020. Organisational Behaviour. Melbourne, Australia: Pearson.

Vroom, Victor. 1964. Work and motivation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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