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Marriott International Leadership Style and Problems

Paper Type: Free Assignment Study Level: University / Undergraduate
Wordcount: 3792 words Published: 22nd Dec 2020

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Part of: Leadership

Company Overview

Marriott international Inc. is a reputed and leading diversified universal hospitability company which has more than 90 years of involvement in hotel industry. Marriott Int. has built a reputation for the quality, service excellence, modern technology, innovation. With more than 6,500 properties in 127 countries and territories having almost 700,000 employees all over the world has 30 brands to suit for every travel preference. In fiscal year 2017 this company made a revenue more than $22 billion which means a great company with prodigious leadership style. Moreover, company Founder J. Willard Marriott’s statement for the employee was “Take care of the employee, they will take care of the guest” which means employees are more important here (Marriott.com, 2019).

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Organisation Structure

Marriott business practices and organizational structure, when invented, departed from the standard hierarchy of leadership. Marriott is worldwide operator, franchisor, and licensor of hotel and timeshare properties under numerous brand names are different price and service points. Their organizational structure can be divided into five categories. One, formalization where work of the organization closely follows guidelines and procedures. Two, specialization means dividing jobs and activities into departments e.g finance and marketing. Three, decentralization where all major decisions come from head office to general manager maintains control over the business. Four, hierarchy of authority each department will take orders from the manager as written documents then present to the team member (Investing M, 2016).

Current Culture of Marriott Int.

The name of Marriott is come from the chairman’s surname. J.W Marriott who is the global chairman of the Marriott, use red in hotels logo for his wife’s request. Also, the color of red can be seen in all Marriott lobbies (Our Story, Marriott.com).

According to Fortune magazine Marriott named 100 best companies to work for. However, this achievement does not come automatically and beyond the business culture makes Marriott best.

David Rodriguez, executive vice president of Marriott says, our vision is put people in top of everything, pursuing excellence, embracing change, acting with integrity and serving our world resonates with its associates, anywhere in the world you go will get the same service quality (Net, 2019).

Culture makes the business difference. when staffs feel good about their conditions, they are more enthused to give back to others. Marriott prospers on many levels, equally with its customer service and with its community participation, because employees feel a sense of well-being that they want to share with others (Morgan, 2017).

So, what makes Marriott distinctive from another company?

  • Marriott is committed to offering uniform care of team members and to offering coaching, training and development opportunities to all.
  • Marriott’s status for tremendous guest service rises out of a long history that began with J. Willard Marriott’s exclusive goal was “Good Food and Decent Service at a Reasonable Price”
    • Always smile and do everything to make customer happy
    • Pay attention to detail try not to make any mistakes. Because dissatisfied customer never come back again.
    • Take pride in their physical surroundings
    • Constantly take customer feedback to provide better service in future. Count guest as family member.
  • The company enthusiastically supports the community and inspires associate volunteerism through a diversity of organizations.
  • At Marriott, the perpetuation of a company’s culture has a proven constructive financial impact.

In keeping with David Rodriguez, the chief vice chairman and Chief Human Resource Officer of Marriott International, once team member feel smart concerning their things, they’re a lot of galvanized to present back to others. Marriott succeeds on several levels, each with its client service and with its community involvement, as a result of staff feel a way of well-being that they require to share with others.

Focusing on well-being could be a property thanks to do business as a result of it helps staff feel valued and builds goodwill each within and outdoors the organization. Well-being is commonly unnoted at several firms. However, its goal very comes back to people when staff are taken care of and have the tools to require care of themselves, they will focus a lot of energy on contributive to the company’s culture, reputation, and bottom line. this can be particularly necessary within the industry, wherever most staff come back face to face with clients daily and pay their days line to customer wants, however the principles apply to each business that wishes to make a culture of happy and property staff (Jeffrey Pfeffer, 2018).

Anyways corporate culture demonstrates a huge significant role on employees positive experience and employees well-being making sure that they feel positive, and taking care of the guest which brings a great rewards for organization in future.

Current Leadership Style

Marriott is a family owned business was founded by j. Willard Marriott in 1927. Started as a small business later stretched their businesses in a chain of restaurants and hotels. J.W. Marriott, Jr. is current Executive Chairman effective March 31, 2012, having relinquished his position as Chief Executive Officer. He served as Chief Executive Officer of the Company and its predecessors since 1972. He joined Marriott in 1956, became President and a Director in 1964 (Marriott, annual report, 2019, p-90). The main philosophy of his leadership style specified that people were the main asset of any prosperous company. J. Willard Marriott appreciated his employees and treated them as the members of his family. Mr. J.W Marriott is well known for his charismatic leadership and his ability to drive modernization and inspire those around him to change the hospitality world. We have seen many leaders possess this attribute in both successful and unsuccessful companies. One of the main abilities of a charismatic leader is that they are very skilled communicators (Riggio, 2012).

Arne M. Sorenson is President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott. Mr. Sorenson became the third CEO in the Company’s history in 2012. Before that, he served as Marriott’s President and Chief Operating Officer. He has held a number of positions since joining Marriott in 1996 (Marriott, 2019).

Marriott International one of the diversify company all over the world. It’s not easy to portray overall company culture because of its diversity. I have discussed on my previous paper how their culture is different than nation to nation. However, it is proven that employees working within the organization are very cheerful and average employees working year is higher compare to many other companies. Marriott has been awarded best company to work for numerous times according to Fortune magazine, Glassdoor and other news portal. Therefore, as a current employee of Marriott I can outline corporate culture and leadership style of Marriott is well designed. Marriott always take care of their employees offering them great benefit, better future career and relevant job opportunities.

In 2016 Marriott has acquired Starwood became world largest hotel chain. After that their organizational structure has been reformed. Marriott changed their structure into three level. In level one the CEO is contemporary. In previous structure CEO looks after all major activities of the hotels. Now in the same level the board of executives are presents which includes different executive directors of the leadership team. The next level comprises of different leaders/presidents for example, the financial officer, public affairs president, sales and marketing leaders, HR president, group presidents and additional presidents/heads for different positions. The third and last level consists different subdivisions such as control and accounting, stockholder relation, brand marketing, treasurer etc.

To talk more about leadership model of Marriott topmost managers followed is distinctive leadership. J. W. Marriott the founder, his son and current executive follow this leadership to promote their family business. Today, Mr. Marriott is well recognized for multiplying transforming leadership style. Another noticeable leader is Arne M. Sorenson President also follow the same leadership style (Marriott, 2019).

Mr. Sorenson also conforms the philosophies of transformational leadership encouraged by Mr. Marriott because its constructed-on beliefs vision, motivation appreciated by the company itself. Exceptionally this leadership style combines with maintain good relationship and change oriented manners while encouraging employees to keep good works. They also provide coaching and training for employees to achieve company mission (Zopiatis & Constanti, 2012, p. 87).

Marriott network is more than 350,000 employees not only in the US but also globally. So, the hierarchy of executives are very complex. If directors or top-level executives of the company display social and emotional proficiencies typically for transformational leaders, middle level executives should relation-based leaders who create and run diverse workplace, support cooperation and grow optimistic employee relation (Marriott management philosophy, 2015, p. 3).

Problem Statement

Marriott operates its hotel business all around the world but there are some problem existing inside. Recently Marriott acquired Starwood makes them world largest hospitality company. Marriott introduce new program Bonvoy to change their whole website. Bonvoy, the combined reward program has 125 million members, more than any other hotel loyalty operation. New combined reward program has been plagued with problems, including members who haven’t been able to get room upgrades or free nights they’d earned. (Hugo, Martin, 2019) Lots of loyal customers missed their earned points.

Back in 2018 thousands of employees refused to work in major cities citing mounting frustration over stalled negotiations for higher wages and safety measures, unwanted job termination and not getting benefits after finishing contract. (Alexia Fernández Campbell, 2018).

Marriott International is doing whimsical work on providing decent customer service and serving society and voluntary work. However, there are some point I want to mention that they can improve.

First of all, there are many hotels around the world which is not directly operate by Marriott. In 2017, 55% Marriott hotels were franchised till now the percentage increased by minimum 4% every year (Annual report, 2017, p-24).

Most of the case franchised hotels services & facility compare to the owned hotels are not same. Hotel guest are also complained about customer service quality is not impressive on franchised Marriott hotel brands (Hockeyinsider, 2017). On the other hand, from my personal experience I can also state that there is unquestionably difference between owned and franchised. From my last family vacation, we been one of the franchised Marriott brand and the service was terrible compare to directly own and operate by Marriott. So, in that case Management should be cautious about how their franchise hotels complying Marriott rules and regulations.

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Identified Leadership Problem

I have discussed lot about transformational leadership and relations-based leadership for Marriott which does not mean they don’t face any leadership problem. From my research I discovered some strong negative point that Marriot has been practicing and they need to work on it.  The spotlight is over 4,000 properties around the globe in around 80 countries, and not all mid-level leaders practice relationship-based leadership style to motivate employees.

In spite of that relation-based leadership with transformed oriented leadership is the target for the top executives in most of the Marriott hotels. However, the choice of selecting leadership style is based on different culture and countries (Zopiatis, A, 2012). As a result, the top management from those hotels where leaders are presented by only nations are failed to follow the lead from the founder.

On the other hand, where leaders focus on culturally fitting collaboration, communication with employee are typically ineffective leaders because they ignore employee interest and decision and highlighting only performance output. Many Marriott hotels around the world where high level executives are presented only by nations.

Although equally these two strategies can lead optimistic results into the organization linked with admiring different workforce, culture and indorsing company mission and vision therefor can also create problem. The matter is related to realize different culture, dealing diversity and generate exclusive company’s mission & vision (Knani, 2014).

So far so good, I didn’t find any other areas that could be improved by Marriott International, but as of now with its status and the range of operations it has been performing, except the area mentioned before along with that I would like to suggest focus more on customer benefits and customer centric activities. Although it is performing excellently well in such terms focusing more on CRM would obviously result in even a better management of their customers.

Solutions to the Problems

To solve those problems of following unproductive leadership style of mid-level and lower level managers can be done by providing strong guidelines and rules for afresh appointed leaders followed by Marriott vision and mission, selected communication style follows everywhere. Thus, the applicant of recently joined leaders should be verified and permitted by the associates of superior committee.

As a result, the process of hiring applicant for management positions in various location will be enhanced and newly hired leaders will get the idea what leadership style need to follow to satisfy the employee and also achieve the company mission. Another problem that need to be solved that is ineffective communication method used by the leaders with the employee when these individuals have different background and culture. The solution depends on the modified method of hiring to top executives/leaders in Marriott hotels. The company needs to review the importance of selection leaders from different backgrounds, nationalities, applicant having working experience from different locations including United States and other countries.

The best effective approach to spreading the best leadership practices with all managers and leaders would be advance the current leadership coaching program. Currently, Marriott international offers tons of opportunity for the managers and directors to get necessary leadership training such as how to improve leadership skills and communication, manage people and diversity. Still, those leadership programs need to be enhanced with highly diverse situations. Thus, the usefulness of the change can be dignified by assessing leader’s communication style based on face to face personal interview and questionnaires.


Marriott leadership team has strong organizational structure to lead company from the front. That is why Marriott is one of the largest hotel chains in the world. Throughout my whole paper I have discussed various leadership style practice by Marriott managers and the difference leadership varies place to place. Although in one point I agreed that within the organization there are conspiracy of practicing leadership. I also believe that not only leaders can improve the situation but also employees play significant role here.

However, when I see their management philosophy and structural dimension, I consider some changes need to be done to accelerate the company.

  • Formalization

Marriott hotel group mostly shadows bureaucratic style. It’s great when everything has been done following rules and regulation. Nowadays proven technology demand is increasing and needs to be used for certain task which gives flexibility. However, if the result of bureaucracy drains the flow of information from top to bottom can be threaten the organizations sustainability.

So, my suggestion would be to highlight and improve employee and leader’s communication power. They need to be cautious about to create strong basis of bottom up communication. For leader disappear the fear of exposed and direct communication from the bottom level employees. As it is so important to get real and authentic information from employees and also create trust of the managers to their peers to perform the work.

  • Specialization

I do agree who works on operational level employees should trail their job description and use positive attitude for refining their specialization or division. For the leaders who have the power to make decisions my suggestion for them is to act not like just doing day to day operation but work for the improvement. Management should inspire and trust their leaders.


In conclusion, Marriott international successfully demonstrate its leadership superiority in all aspects of the organization. I am also agreed with the founder choice of transformational leadership is effective and right to dominant large company like Marriott. However, the spotlight is the managers and director showed different leadership skill in Marriott hotels internationally. Therefore, it is compulsory for Marriott to enhanced and develop a new approach to handle the situation since they have many franchised hotels worldwide.

More Leadership Content


  • Alexia Fernández Campbell. (2018, October 10). Why nearly 8,000 Marriott workers are striking in 8 cities. Retrieved June 20, 2019, from https://www.vox.com/2018/10/10/17955272/marriott-hotel-workers-strike
  • Investing, M. (2016, December 22). Overview of Marriott’s Business Model. Retrieved from https://seekingalpha.com/article/4032181-overview-marriotts-business-model
  • J. W. “Bill” Marriott, J. (2013). Without Reservations: How a Family Root Beer Stand Grew into a Global Hotel Company. Diversion Books.
  • Martin, H. (2019, April 4). An unhappy Marriott rewards points customer is leading a revolt. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-marriott-rewards-points-starwood-bonvoy-20190404-story.html
  • Riggio, R. E. (2012, October 12). What is Charisma and Charismatic Leadership. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201210/what-is-charisma-and-charismatic-leadership
  • Taylor Telford, & Craig Timberg. (2018, November 30). Marriott discloses massive data breach affecting up to 500 million guests. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/11/30/marriott-discloses-massive-data-breach-impacting-million-guests/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2dea5b63ac4c
  • Why Thousands of Marriott Employees Are Protesting Tomorrow. (2018, June 26). Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2018/06/26/marriott-employees-protest-eight-cities-wednesday/
  • Morgan, J. (2017, October 6). 3 Foundations To A Culture Of Well-Being At Marriott. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/jacob-morgan/3-foundations-to-a-culture-of-well-being-at-marriott.html
  • Net, H. (2019, 2). Beyond the Business: The Culture Makes Marriott Great [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4069364.html
  • Touryalai, H. (2019, May 15). World’s Largest Hotels 2019: Marriott Leads Again, Hyatt & Accor Rise. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2019/05/15/worlds-largest-hotels-2019/#750570a6796d
  • Hockeyinside. (2017, September 17). Managed properties vs licensed/franchsied Forums.              Retrieved from https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marriott-marriott-bonvoy/1865543-managed-properties-vs-licensed-franchsied.html
  • Jeffrey Pfeffer. (2018). The overlooked essentials of employee well-being. Retrieved from    https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/the-overlooked-essentials-of-employee-well-being
  • Zopiatis, A., & Constanti, P. (2012). Extraversion, openness and conscientiousness: The route to transformational leadership in the hotel industry. Leadership & Organization Development Journal33(1), 86-104.
  • Avitiyaman, P., Weerakit, N., & Ryan, B. (2014). Leadership competencies for hotel general managers: The differences in age, education, and hotel characteristics. International Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Administration15(2), 191-216.
  • Zopiatis, A., & Constanti, P. (2012). Extraversion, openness and conscientiousness: The route to transformational leadership in the hotel industry. Leadership & Organization Development Journal33(1), 86-104.
  • Knani, M. (2014). Ethics in the hospitality industry: Review and research agenda. International Journal of Business and Management9(3), 1-8.
  • Marriott management philosophy. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.marriott.com/Multimedia/PDF/Marriott_Management_Philosophy.pdf


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