Lattice Structure:Analyzing Organizational Structure at Morning Star Company 

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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Do you ever feel like your boss has too much control over you in the workplace and doesn’t allow you to self-manage enough? Then the Morning Star Company would be the perfect fit for you. The Morning Star Company is a 700-million-dollar tomato processing company based in California. The company was founded with a core philosophy surrounding self-management and freedom. This company does applicant screening to make sure that their employees are fit for the job and then trains them on how to adapt to the self-managing working environment.

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Instead of having a formal boss, employees tend to check or rather manage each other. Each employee is required to write a personal mission statement every year that states how they plan to contribute to the company.

They also have to negotiate a CLOU agreement, otherwise known as a Colleague Letter of Understanding, with other employees that rely upon or are affected by their work. If two employees disagree or have a dispute about the CLOU agreement, they will meet and negotiate in order to try and come to an agreement. If that doesn’t work, the two employees must seek an outside perspective from another employee who will act as a median. If the third party can’t solve the dispute or if one of the other employees still doesn’t agree, then the dispute will be heard by a committee of six other employees. If the two employees still can’t come to terms with the CLOU agreement, only then will the president step in and make a decision. This is very different from your traditional, bureaucratically structured company, where you would have a boss or manager telling you what to do.

1) How would working for the Morning Star be different from working for a traditional, bureaucratic company? What would be the most negative and positive aspects of the experience?

Working for the Morning Star Company would be completely different from working for a traditional, bureaucratically structured company because Morning Star uses a completely different structure. Morning Star is a lattice-structured company which means that instead of having a boss or a manager managing employees and telling them what to do, they form subteams of employees to manage each other and tackle the objectives of the company. In this type of structured company, employees are also required to get the training, resources, and cooperation they need to complete an objective that would otherwise be done by a manager in a normal, traditionally structured business. So, employees do take on more responsibility in trade for the freedom of being self-managed.

This leads to the negative and positive impacts of a lattice-structured company. Some advantage of this structure is that it creates job enrichment and job empowerment for its employees. It allows them to have more freedom, self-manage, and complete tasks using the job management style that best suits them. Some negatives would be the possible lack of communication between employees or within the subteam, whereas, in a traditionally structured company, everybody would be forced to be on the same page. The lack of authority can be both positive and negative. However, Morning Star has created a system that tries to overcome that problem.

2) Do you think the lattice structure is best for Morning Star? Can you identify another structure that might be more appropriate for the company’s culture of empowerment and self-management?

Considering that the Morning Star Company is a 700-million-dollar company, I’d say the lattice structure is a good fit for the company. Could they become more efficient and maybe more profitable if they changed their structure? Possibly. Although, if they changed their structure, it would contradict the very philosophy they founded and built the company around, which is self-management. The company could switch to a decentralized team-based structure which is practically, or very close to, a lattice structure. They could also switch over to the more monotonous, traditional functional structure. This structure could possibly make them more efficient and profitable, but they would most likely lose employees as this is the very structure their employees were trying to get away from. The idea of being able to self-manage and not have to report to a manager or a boss is what makes Morning Star stand out to job seekers over other companies.

3) Where do you think this type of lattice structure would be ineffective? What would make this type of structure inappropriate or difficult to implement?

The lattice structure would be ineffective in a business that has departments or facilities globally or across regions. These types of companies would lean more towards a team-based structure if they wanted to keep intact the idea of self-management within the company. In order for these kinds of companies to have a complete lattice structure would only cause chaos within the company and would overall hurt the company. The lattice structure would also fail in any business that has a need for a strong sense of authority or management. It wouldn’t only be ineffective, but it would also be difficult to implement the lattice structure into any business that has multiple facilities or a need for a strong sense of authority.

In conclusion, the lattice structure has its downsides and upsides, just like any other business structure. The lattice structure is a great way to make an organization or a business stand out to job seekers that are looking for something other than the traditional, bureaucratically structured workplace. It gives its members more freedom than most other structures allow/requires them to be self-managing. Now the only question is, is the lattice structure right for your business or organization?

Work Cited

  1. Griffin, Ricky W., and Gregory Moorhead. Organizational Behavior: Managing People and Organizations. South-Western Cengage Learning, 2014.
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Lattice Structure:Analyzing Organizational Structure at Morning Star Company . (2023, Mar 20). Retrieved from