Analysis of Work Environment at KPMG | Human Resource Assignment Sample

Analysis of Work Environment at KPMG



KPMG is an international network of professional firms that provide audit, tax, and advisory services to business corporations, public-sector companies, governments, and nongovernmental agencies. Rather than one large corporation, KPMG represents a collection of several professional, independent firms working under ‘KPMG International Ltd’.

This global organization operates across 144 countries and employs about 236,000 people to help their client organizations in change management, risk mitigation, and sustainable business development through their financial consultancy services (KPMG, 2022). The present essay analyzes the work environment at KPMG with the context of employee motivation as its strength and organizational ethical culture as its weakness.

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Analysis of Strength in the Context of Employee Motivation

Employee motivation is one of the strongest aspects of the KPMG work environment. The organization combines basic needs, self-actualization, and goal-setting concepts (Robbins and Judge, 2013) to motivate its employees. KPMG’s employee motivation model allows the organization to integrate the conventional strategies of extrinsic motivation like pay, benefits, and rewards (for younger or ambitious employees) with platforms for self-development, leadership, and learning (for talented employees) (Fairs, 2014) to address the needs of diverse employees across the world.

According to Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of needs, every individual is driven by 5 levels of needs with the satisfaction of each need leading to the domination of the next need (Robbins and Judge, 2013).

The rewards, benefits, and other forms of extrinsic rewards at KPMG along with fulfilling the lower order needs also offer the social esteem of working at the world’s leading organization. On the other hand, the organization also provides several job benefits like work-life balance, life-long learning, autonomy, and leadership development platforms that attract talented and young professionals.

One of the most intriguing parts of the KPMG employee motivation model is that rather than being stagnant in its approach to employee motivation, the company continues to invest in finding ways to motivate its employees. For example, KPMG’s motivational design project uses a deep dive technique to understand what motivates their clients and employees. They use empathy maps, persona grids, and journey maps to understand employees’ desires and behavior changes, using these insights to set clearer goals, and improve productivity ((Wolf and Wright, 2016).

Furthermore, the review of the sources showcases that employee motivation at KPMG is not static but changes with the change in the organization as well as the external environment. For example, the transformation of KPMG from a safe and cautious organization to a purpose-driven organization in terms of its structure and work processes was accompanied by a change in motivation strategies. The employees at a middle level were motivated and trained to become purpose-driven leaders (Quinn and Thakor, 2018).

The firm used extensive research, active communication, and experiential projects to achieve this. The organization created multiple avenues through storytelling, discussions, and creating a video series called ‘We Shape History’, to encourage its employees to think about how their jobs/roles in an organization help them change the world (Pfau, 2015).

This elaborate exercise about interlinking day-to-day job responsibilities to a higher purpose allowed employees to view their job responsibilities through the context of self-actualization created higher job engagement and inspired setting personal and professional goals. Considering that self-actualization allows individuals to achieve their potential and encourages them to develop themselves (Robbins and Judge, 2013), the efforts by KPMG to seek a higher purpose encouraged better productivity and lower turnover (Pfau, 2015). This exercise also increased the job engagement of the employees, with employees believing in the significance and higher purpose of their jobs (Pfau, 2015).

Analysis of the Weakness in the Context of Organizational Culture and Suggestions

A Series of allegations and fines for unethical conduct has emerged as one of the key weaknesses of KPMG in the last few years. KPMG was fined 3 million pounds by Financial Reporting Council, UK for its audit failures for the firm Conviviality in 2017. The organization has also been reported to be guilty of providing false audit reports and misleading information about Carillion and Regenesis to the Financial Reporting Council during the annual quality checks in 2018-2019 (Jones, 2021).

The company has also been fined for misconduct and false reporting in the sale of the company Silentnight (Jolly, 2022). The firm has also been accused of being part of events that led to the collapse of the Dubai-based private equity fund Abraaj (Kampmark, AlFarsi, Dorsey, and Kampmark, 2022). KPMG’s poor performance in terms of its stakeholder accountability and ethics can erode its organizational gains and other positive aspects of the organizational culture. Considering that a systematic culture of unethical behavior results in severe negative consequences like lawsuits, fines, and customer boycotts (Robbins and Judge, 2013) an organization needs to create a positive ethical culture.

As seen in the case of KPMG, the organization has been caught in the mesh of fines and allegations for the last few years. Overlooking the unethical aspects of organizational culture can affect employee satisfaction, loyalty, as well as client satisfaction leading to decreased productivity and increased opportunities for unethical practices (Robbins and Judge, 2013).

To address this weakness, KPMG needs to align its core processes with organizational values and strengthen its ethical climate by enforcing clear norms. Organizational culture can only become effective when there is an alignment between leadership values/behavior and organizational values/processes (Rosen, 2019). In this case, there is a gap between leadership values and organizational processes leading to unethical or non-professional practices.

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Parallelly, it is also important that all the strategies, policies, and decisions of the KPMG are anchored on the core values and principles of the organization. An explicit commitment to core ethical values will send a message to employees of the organization about the ethical priorities (Epley and Kumar, 2019) of the company.

Limitations and Conclusion

The present essay analyzed employee motivation as a strength and ethical culture as a weakness for KPMG. One of the key limitations of the present essay is that the essay was dependent on limited sources. The section on strengths predominantly uses KPMG sources for information. This might create a biased representation of the issue in question.


  • Epley, N. and Kumar, A., 2019. How to Design an Ethical Organization. [online] Harvard Business Review.
  • Fairs, D., 2014. Shifting Employee Motivations. [online] KPMG, pp.1-7.
  • Jolly, J., 2022. KPMG fined £3m for ‘serious failings’ in Conviviality audit. [online] the Guardian.
  • Jones, H., 2021. KPMG faces complaint of providing ‘false’ information on Carillion audit. [online] reuters.
  • Kampmark, B., Al-Farsi, N., Dorsey, J. and Kampmark, B., 2022. Can KPMG Recover from its Recent Scandals?. [online] International Policy Digest. Available at: [Accessed 18 August 2022]
  • KPMG, 2022. KPMG. [online] KPMG. Available at: [Accessed 18 August 2022].
  • Quinn, R. and Thakor, A., 2018. Creating a Purpose-Driven Organization. Harvard Business Review, pp.1-8.
  • Robbins, S. and Judge, T., 2013. Organizational behavior. 15th ed. USA: Pearson Education, Inc, pp.201 -263; 512 – 527.
  • Rosen, J., 2019. What Is Ethical Culture, and Why Does It Matter?. [online] Corporate Compliance Insights. Available at: [Accessed 18 August 2022].
  • Wolf, D. and Wright, R., 2016. Motivational Design. Dalware, USA: KPMG LLP’s (KPMG) Digital and Mobile Solutions, pp.1-4.
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