Started as Crew (A): Jan Fields and McDonald’s

Case Solution

Pat Werhane, Jenny Mead
Darden School of Business ()

McDonald’s Corporation, the giant of the fast food industry, has received criticism and even ridicule over the years. The company’s image suffered when the public perceived its work as a dead end, unqualified and uninspiring. The term “McJob” was coined by an author in 1991 and was slang for a low-paying job that required few skills and offered few opportunities for advancement. But, in many ways, McDonald’s Corporation defied the norms by using a combination of strategy promotion benchmarking programs and employee training to build a rich pool of human capital. The company was very committed to its employees, who “started as a team” and received appropriate training at their own university in Hamburg. This case tells the story of Jan Fields, who started making French fries at McDonald’s and was executive vice president and chief operating officer at McDonald’s USA 20 years later.

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