A Case Study: How Steel Giant Nucor Maintains and Retains Employees

A Case Study: How Steel Giant Nucor Maintains and Retains Employees

Nucor has used the power of rewards in order to motivate their employees to work better. Reward Power is the capability to offer something of value, or as a positive outcome, as a means of influencing the behavior of other people (Schermerhorn 325). An example of how Nucor used this power was during the year of 2008, which happened to be a very profitable year thanks to the employees and their hard work. They were rewarded with $1000 or $2000 one-time bonuses per worker for their efforts. This type of reward not only creates more happy workers, but also influences the employee to work harder not only for the same bonus, but possibly a larger or more permanent one.

The Goal Setting Theory is usually used by managers who are trying to increase motivation and productivity of their employees. Setting goals and objectives is considered very important in order to boost the rate of success in a company. Nucor goal is to keep employee satisfaction up as much as possible during tough economic times and keeping their moral up. Even though the company has taken a turn for the worst with plant productivity down 45%, they try to keep their employees busy. Since employees paychecks are directly tied with the amount they produce, paychecks have nearly been cut up to 40%. But Nucor works to supplement that by having employees do other responsibilities, such as cutting the lawn or cleaning bathrooms, so that their paychecks don’t fall to low. In order to boost morale, they work on constant and increased communication with the people who work in the plants, working with them to know their concerns.

With Job Enrichment, a manager will usually look at an employee’s position and find a way to make it more interesting and possibly more challenging. This will add to the workers daily routine and adds variety to the work they do, keeping them from being bored and have more control over their work.

Nucor has set up different and new work positions for their employees to take part in. Jobs that are usually done by contractors are now being given to their employees, so not only are they able to make a little more money, but they are able to put a little change in their work day as well. These jobs include mowing the lawn, making separate parts, and cleaning the bathrooms

When it comes to using the capacity to punish or withhold positive outcomes as a means of influencing other people, you are using Coercive Power (Schermerhorn 325). An example of this punishment could be used in the form of how their workers are paid. Their employees are paid by how much they have contributed to production, sort of like commission. So if they do not hand in a reasonable amount of work, they get paid less, like a punishment.


Schermerhorn, J. (2002). Management. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Byrnes, N. (n.d.). Pain, But No Layoffs at Nucor – BusinessWeek. Retrieved May 9, 2009, from http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_14/b4125054802295.htm

Glossary of Management Terms. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2009, from http://www.hrinz.org.nz/Site/HR_Info/glossaries/Glossary_of_Management_Term


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