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Posted: November 9th, 2023

Gusto 54: Creating a Culture of Ownership and Accountability

Course: Organization Behavior and Management
Assignment Individual Case Analysis:
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to
 describe the three key elements of motivation,  explain the difference among the most prevalent theories of motivation,  demonstrate how theories of motivation are used to develop organizational
reward systems, and
 apply theories of motivation to themselves to better understand their own
personal motivations. Description:
This assignment requires students to analyse a case relevant to the conditions being
experienced in the restaurant industry as it pertains to connecting organizational
culture, diversity, values, attitudes, motivation, accountability, and talent management. Requir ed Materials:
Konrad, A & Birbrager, L (2020). Gusto 54: Creating a Culture of Ownership and
Accountability. Ivey
1. Thoroughly read the case. It is recommended that you read 2-3 times. 2. Prepare a 5-page report (12-point font, double spaced not including the title
page or reference page), that addresses the following questions:
1. As of January 2020, what is Gusto 54’s competitive advantage? If
COVID-19 had never happened, would you have believed that the group
would be able to maintain this advantage? Why or why not?
2. How would you define Gusto 54’s culture as of January 2020? Does
your definition vary throughout the case?
3. What role does values, attitudes, and diversity play at Gusto 54? Do
you consider the values, attitudes, and diversity to be a strength or weakness at
Gusto 54?
4. Do you agree or disagree with the steps that Gusto 54 took to build its “people-first”culture? Why or why not? What are the key challenges facing
Gusto 54 in January 2020 (before awareness of the upcoming COVID-19
5. If COVID-19 had never happened, which challenge would have been
Gusto 54’s largest barrier to continued growth? How would you suggest the
group tackle this challenge?
Individual Case Assignment will be marked in its entirety out of 100. The following
rubric indicates the criteria students are to adhere to, and their relative weights to the
assignment overall.
Activity/Competencies Demonstr ated
% of
Gr ade
Content (60% )
a. Described the background of the company (Note: This section should set the
context for the analysis) 15
b. Clearly stated the issues Gusto 54 might face in the future if Covid-19 had
never happened. (Note: what specifically is the decision to be made within the
context of the case. Ensure you specifically differentiate between the problem
and its symptoms.)
c. Demonstrated a thorough analysis, addressing each of the guiding questions
asked of you and supported by academic as well as other sources (Note: The
analysis should be in response to the posed case questions and should
incorporate assigned readings, the case and external sources.)
d. Presented suggestions to Gusto 54 for their future (Note: Ensure your
recommendations are supported by evidence from readings and research). 10
Communication (25% )
a. Effective use of the English language (spelling, grammar, paragraph
structure, etc.) 10
b. Information organized intelligently and holistically (i.e., not simply answers
to questions) 10
c. Strength of introduction and conclusion. 5
Attention to Detail (15% )
a. APA Formatting (title, headings, and references) 10
b. Quality of research sources and citations 5

Gusto 54: Creating a Culture of Ownership and Accountability

This report provides an analysis of the Gusto 54 case study focusing on the company’s culture, values, diversity, motivation, and challenges. Gusto 54 had established an innovative people-first culture emphasizing empowerment, accountability and diversity. However, maintaining this competitive advantage as the company grew posed risks that required proactive management.
Background of Gusto 54
Founded in 2010, Gusto 54 had grown to seven locations in the Toronto area serving modern Italian cuisine by January 2020 (Konrad & Birbrager, 2020). The founders focused on building an empowering and diverse culture from the start. Employees were called “members” to emphasize ownership, and were involved in decision-making through committees (Konrad & Birbrager, 2020). This approach attracted top talent in a competitive industry and drove Gusto 54’s success.
Future Challenges Without COVID-19
If not for the pandemic, Gusto 54’s main challenge would have been scaling its unique culture effectively across new locations and teams during continued expansion. Research shows maintaining culture cohesively as a company grows more diverse requires clear communication of values and leadership development (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2016). Additional training on cultural expectations and regular audits could help align diverse members as Gusto 54 expanded. Unchecked, cultural inconsistencies between locations may have eroded Gusto 54’s competitive advantage over time.
Analysis of Guiding Questions
Gusto 54’s competitive advantage in January 2020 was its innovative people-first culture that attracted talent. However, constantly adapting this culture and business model would have been needed to maintain advantage against competitors in the challenging restaurant industry (Birkinshaw et al., 2008). Gusto 54’s culture emphasized empowerment, diversity and accountability, but balancing these priorities across a larger organization would become increasingly difficult without diligent management. Values, attitudes and diversity were central to Gusto 54’s identity and generally strengths, but ensuring all groups felt respected and included required ongoing efforts as the workforce grew (Ely & Thomas, 2020). Gusto 54’s initial steps to build its culture seemed appropriate, but scaling it successfully would pose the largest future barrier without COVID-19.
Recommendations for Gusto 54
To tackle scaling culture effectively, I recommend Gusto 54 establish regional leadership teams to oversee cultural alignment locally, formally codify core values and behaviors, and conduct cultural audits annually involving employee surveys and focus groups. This provides structure to communicate values cohesively across locations while empowering regional autonomy. Leadership training on cultural management should also be implemented. Together, these strategies can help Gusto 54 proactively manage cultural consistency to maintain its competitive advantage amid challenges of growth in the competitive restaurant industry.
Gusto 54 demonstrated an innovative people-first culture is possible and drives success. However, constantly adapting this culture and business model will be needed to overcome challenges in scaling during expansion necessary to maintain competitive advantage long-term in the restaurant industry. With proactive strategies to align values and behaviors across diverse, growing teams, Gusto 54 can realize its vision of empowering members while tackling its largest future barrier of cultural consistency during growth.
Alvesson, M., & Sveningsson, S. (2016). Changing organizational culture: Cultural change work in progress. Routledge.
Birkinshaw, J., Hamel, G., & Mol, M. J. (2008). Management innovation. Academy of management Review, 33(4), 825-845.
Ely, R. J., & Thomas, D. A. (2020). Getting serious about diversity: Enough already with the business case. Harvard Business Review, 98(6), 114-121.
Konrad, A & Birbrager, L (2020). Gusto 54: Creating a Culture of Ownership and Accountability. Ivey Publishing.

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