Morning Star is an American company specialized in tomato processing founded in 1970.  The company employs around 600 people in the low season and 4600 during the harvest.  Self-management practices have been adopted since it was founded. 


Research Summary


This research, profiling Morning Star, was carried out by Marina Martínez López and supervised by Professor Ana Moreno Romero at Grupo de Investigación en Organizaciones Sostenibles ETSII–UPM. Masters Thesis: Analysis of new organizational models and trends in self-management. Full Thesis.


Scheme of self-management Mixed: Network of individual contracts  Value Chain Long
Type of previous organization Founded with self-management principles
Keys to success
  • Founding principles of the company and its form of organization summarized in a document: Principles of colleagues.
  • Operation in self-managed teams.
  • Definition of the functions of each employee on an annual basis in the CLOU: Colleague Letter of Understanding. Each employee specifies the set of functions or roles to which he commits for the following year. For each function, a series of concrete and measurable objectives are defined. High formalization of labour interactions between individuals, in an industry with low margins and where continuous improvement in processes is important.
  • Network of commitments weaves a very resilient reticular structure.
  • Professional development marked by the assumption of a greater number of complex roles.
  • The employees are obligated to do something if they identify an opportunity or a problem within the company, even outside their area of expertise.
  • Performance evaluation based on the commitments acquired in the CLOU and its degree of compliance, as well as performance analysis as a team based on self-criticism and feedback.
  • Self-established salaries, feedback from a committee but final decision of the employee about their own remuneration.
  • Very formalized and confidential process for the resolution of conflicts.
  • Long recruitment process, 10-12 interviews with a strong fit component with the self-management model: make sure to incorporate employees that fit the way the company works.


Obstacles or inconveniences identified by organizations



 Disadvantages perceived making the case
  • Excessive formalization of roles and functions reduce flexibility of the structure.
  • Salary recognition of the different value contributions.


 CEO´s roles
  • Chris Rufer, founder, CEO and sole shareholder of Morning Star promoted the self-managed operating model and seeks continuous improvement of the system. It fulfils the three roles of the CEO of Laloux.
 Wholeness  No  Evolutionary Purpose  No


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