SABMiller's Human Capital Proposition - Institutionalizing a Performance Culture

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Case Details:

Case Code : HROB085
Case Length : 15 Pages
Period : 2001-2006
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : SABMiller Plc.
Industry : Beverage
Countries : South Africa, USA, Europe

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts Contd...

Reshaping Culture at MBC

AShortly after the acquisition of MBC in 2002, Graham Mackay, the CEO of SABMiller said, "Substantial work is being undertaken to enhance the performance culture within Miller in line with our practices." SABMiller pointed out that mobilizing and invigorating the organization and its people to instill a performance culture at MBC was one of the four components of the turnaround plan, the other three being - building brands and shaping the portfolio, getting sales and distribution right, and cutting costs and raising productivity. The company believed that creating an intense performance culture at MBC was critical to reversing the downward trend in Miller Lite's sales in the short term.

Human Resource and Organization Behavior | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Human Resource and Organization Behavior, Case Studies

This would also create an environment for sustained growth at MBC in the longer term. The culture had been reshaped by restructuring MBC and bringing in new performance management processes, setting clearer goals, and better training and development of its people.

Fred's Pub

According to Adami, bringing about a change in culture involved engaging the hearts and minds of all the employees. It had to go beyond business and touch the employees on a personal level giving the employees a feeling that whatever they were doing makes a difference. One of the first things Adami did was to build a pub, 'Fred's Pub', named after the company's founder Miller, in MBC's Milwaukee headquarters. He was criticized for this move by some people in the company.

This "out of the box" move was undertaken in order to instill a sense of pride in the employees and also break down the hierarchical barriers. "We work for a brewing company.

We need to be proud of what we stand for, of what we do as a company. We need to be knowledgeable about what it is that we do," explained Adami, "We need to have a more open, engaging, challenging culture, and that's what we're working toward. I think people must not be afraid to talk up. People must feel confident enough to engage in debate and that makes them feel part of what's going on. It's also about enabling change. People talk about the fact that people resist change. They don't resist change. They resist being changed. Change is a constant. It's not a variable. It's really about how you enable change to happen, and it's got to be an environment to enable change."...


Over the years SABMiller had focused on building its people's capability. For the future, the company wanted to decrease its high dependence on recruiting, developing, and exporting South African talent. The company said that its people strategy for the future would focus on embracing global talent, particularly people with top-line capabilities. The company hoped to leverage its global talent pool through SPR. There would also be a focus on developing its global talent pool with training and management development programs...


Exhibit I: SABMiller's Seven-Year Financial Summary
Exhibit II: Financial Summary of MBC
Exhibit III: SABMiller's Employee Value Proposition
Exhibit IV: Where Leadership Fits in at SABMiller


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