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Redgate Case Study

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Introduction to People, Organisations and Management (MOD004220)

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  1. Introduction

Redgate is a specialist software development company based in Cambridge that was founded in 1999.  Redgate, which has a unique philosophy, sets out to create ‘ingeniously simple tools’ that solve day to day technical problems. A unique company, in which it is differentiated to other companies through its effective workplace culture and its attitude to employee motivation.

This report will analyse the organisational culture at Redgate and how it challenges employees to develop both professionally and personally. In addition, the report will discuss the motivation of the company’s employees and how the generous benefits package contributes to achieving high staff morale and healthy relationships. The company has featured annually in the Sunday Times Best 100 companies to work for, since 2008.

Since the birth of the company, the founders had adopted a philosophy which would play a huge part in the company’s overall success. The founders of company believed in building a company culture that represented their moral values and who they are as people. (Neil Davidson & Simon Galbraith, 2013)

In the words of its founders, “We make products that solve complex problems. Our tools are technically challenging to create but really intuitive to use – a philosophy we call "ingeniously simple". (Neil Davidson & Simon Galbraith, 2013)

A clear understanding of how the business has become so successful through an effective organisational culture and the high level of employee motivation, can be obtained by exploring, in detail, these areas in relation to the company.

2. Analysis

2.1. Culture

Organisational culture can be defined as “the beliefs and behaviours that determine how a company’s management interact and handle outside business transactions” (investopedia, 2015) Culture develops organically over time from the traits of the employees that the organisation employs. Culture is often reflected in its dress code, business hours, office setup, employee benefits and many other aspects of operation. (investopedia, 2015)

Since the birth of the company, Redgate have always adopted a unique approach to organisational culture, and stride to maintain their original informal culture by using a number of tools and initiatives.

Organisation culture at Redgate can be analysed by applying a number of theories, one of which is Schein’s three levels of culture model.

(, n.d.)[pic 2]

To begin, the first level of Schein’s theory is related to factors within the organisation that can be observed and measured. According to Buchanan and Huczynski, ‘it refers to the visible things a culture produces. It includes both physical objects and behaviour patterns’. (Andrzej Hucynski, David Buchachan, 2013, p. 114)

Moving on, the second level of Schein’s model relates to the values of the organisation in question. Values relate to the beliefs of the organisation and how they believe work should be completed and how to manage situations. This could relate to the relaxed working environment which has been created at Redgate, including the fact that there is no dress code and working hours are very flexible.

A useful resource for finding this information is the company’s website. Redgate’s website contains a large amount of useful information relating to their culture and values. A page named ‘We created a great culture. You can contribute to it’ reflects an extended mission statement and reflects the company’s values. It states, We discovered a long time ago at Redgate that if we created a relaxed, informal working environment and gave people all the resources they needed, they responded by doing great work.(Redgate, 2015)

The final layer of Schein’s model relates to the basic assumptions of the culture. They are described as ‘the shared but unspoken assumptions about the best way to do things in a company and relate to the nature of reality and the organisation’s relationship to its environment’ (Andrzej Hucynski, David Buchachan, 2013, p. 120)

Assumptions cannot necessarily be defined, however it is evident that Redgate are intent on hiring the right staff in order to make a positive contribution to their culture that they have created.

Cultures usually form organically from the basis of the philosophy of the organisation’s founder and their selection process. The figure below demonstrates this theory that culture is developed through recruitment and socialisation.

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(Robbins and Judge, 2012, p. 557)

2.2. Motivation

Motivation can be defined as “internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal.” (, 2015) A number of theories in relation to employee motivation have evolved over time. This report sets out to analyse these theories in relation to Redgate.

The unique philosophy at Redgate revolves around the strategy of high employee empowerment. In the words of their annual Book of Redgate, it states that “constant oversight and the threat of punishment are incompatible with great, fulfilling work. We believe in creating appropriate constraints and then giving people the freedom to excel.” (Redgate Ltd, 2012) 

This is a great example of avoiding extrinsic motivation, which occurs when someone engages in an activity in order to receive a reward, or avoid punishment. Research carried out by the well-known psychologist Frederick Herzberg suggested that motivation comes directly from the work itself and not from the extrinsic rewards of doing the work.  His research also found that while the absence of certain extrinsic factors, such as an appropriate salary and good working conditions contributed to job dissatisfaction, they did not necessarily increase job satisfaction in the long run. His research showed that the main motivators included achievement, recognition, meaningful work, responsibility and growth; which are clear examples of intrinsic motivators. (, 2011)



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