Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2013 (Revised June 2016)

The Morning Star Company: Self-Management at Work

by Francesca Gino, Bradley R. Staats, Brian J. Hall and Tiffany Y. Chang


Morning Star, a collection of affiliated companies, had grown steadily since 1970 when Chris Rufer, president and founder, started the business hauling tomatoes to processing plants in a truck. The company's main products continued to be tomato-based, including a 40% share in the tomato paste and diced tomato market in 2013. Different from traditional manufacturing companies, Morning Star relied on self-management to execute the work in any part of the organization. The company was built on individual freedom, with the expectation that employees would take responsibility for holding their peers accountable and address performance failures directly.

The case explores how the company can establish a compensation model that fairly compensates employees for their performance and provides a broad incentive to hold others accountable, while being consistent with self-management. This case includes color exhibits.

Keywords: Business or Company Management; Motivation and Incentives; Working Conditions; Plant-Based Agribusiness; Food; Management Practices and Processes; Compensation and Benefits; Manufacturing Industry; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry;


Gino, Francesca, Bradley R. Staats, Brian J. Hall, and Tiffany Y. Chang. "The Morning Star Company: Self-Management at Work." Harvard Business School Case 914-013, September 2013. (Revised June 2016.)