The success of an organization is based on the organizations leader’s leadership style, structure, and the organizational culture. “We define leadership as the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals.” (Robbins, Judge, 2019) I have been asked to review the following three incident cases: “Sharing is Performing”, “Turbulence on United Airlines” and “Active Cultures” and analyze the leadership style presented aligned to the incident, and why the style was effective. I will compare and distinguish all three styles and their differences.
Transformational Leadership Style
A summary of case one is based on Carol T. Christ being promoted as the University of California’s new chancellor. Her leadership style was the complete opposite of the previous chancellor Nicholas Dirks style. Nicholas style was more of an autocratic leadership style, where he made all decisions, did not seek employee’s input, creativity, or innovation, his flexibility was tight and had a distance interaction with his associates. Carol T. Christ leadership style can be defined as the transformational leadership style based on her charisma, interacting with her team, seeking their suggestions and input through social interactions and sharing responsibility, trusting employees with the authority to make decisions while creating an organizational culture open to creativity and innovation. Carol’s details a sharing leadership style. Within a sharing leadership style, “The role of the leaders is very active in providing guidance and direction, supporting and coordinating the activities to organizations or team members due to which they are able to synergize their work to achieve the organizational goals (Mahmood et al., 2016; Wang & Howell, 2010). (Mihardjo, Sasmoko, Alamsjah, Elidjen, 2019).”
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Transformational leadership style is appropriate leadership style for this incident case due to the change in organizational culture that has allowed Carol to rebuild her associates trust and while gaining employee engagement and participation through creativity, innovation, knowledge sharing and sharing responsibility through motivation and inspiration. According to Mihardjo, Sasmoko, Alamsjah, and Elidjen (2019), “…knowledge sharing at the individual level has the significant positive outcome on the performance of the organization including improved capability of the organization, creativity in the work environment, cohesion in the performance of team, integration of knowledge and decision satisfaction..”
Autocratic Leadership Style
The next case detail three separate incidents involving United Airlines and their strict policies, rules, protocols and regulations. The first incident involved to teens utilizing their parents United Airlines travel perks to travel from Minneapolis to Denver. United Airlines refused service stating that the girls violated the perks program dress policy by wearing leggings, as the Airline felt leggings did not reflect a classy attire for pass riders. The second case was based on the Airline not having enough seats for passengers and four last minute employees traveling to Louisville resulting in paid passengers refusing to give up their seats, resulting in Dr. Dao being involuntary forcibly removed from the plane causing Dr. Dao medical attention for a broken nose and a concussion. The third case involved a couple traveling to Costa Rica for their wedding, after boarding the plane realized their was an man sleeping in their seats so they chose to sit in empty seats in front of him, and were asked to move back to their original seats they obey but the Airline had a U.S. Marshall eject them on the false bases that they were refusing to obey.
Based on the following incidents I would say that United Airlines has an autocratic leadership style and structure based on the strict policies and attendant’s decision making be final word with a bossy demeanor. Autocratic leaders detail four main characteristics according to Rast III, Hogg, Gjessner, (2013), “…(i) they make all the important decisions; (ii) they are primarily concerned with task accomplishment rather than the happiness or satisfaction of followers; (iii) they maintain considerable social distance from followers; and (iv) they motivate followers by punishment or the threat thereof rather than by rewards.”. The autocratic style details individual control and sole decision making, others input, or advice is not considered nor sought for, personality comes off strict and harsh.
In my opinion United Airlines had a bad year in 2007 due to their leadership style and structure based on biasness and organizational errors that resulted in dissatisfied passengers. I would say a participative leadership style would be more appropriate. The leader participation model allows for different rules, protocols, policies and regulations based on the type of situation. In this case the leader participation model could have changed the results in all three incidents to a more suitable outcome that could had allowed mutual resolutions. In this era leggings are part of causal attire, although some individuals are still biased about causal and appropriate attire. Also, if flight attendants were following protocols, they would had realized the man sleeping in the engaged couples’ seats and would have the man go to his assigned seat preventing any incident from occurring. The doctor that was forcible ejected should had never been ejected, the individuals asked to give up their seats was uncalled for as they had paid and had previously scheduled their events to ensure they would arrive at their destinations. It wasn’t their fault these employees scheduled last minute flights and the airline should had considered their clients first since clients are the purpose of their survival and success.
The final case is based on Patagonia a clothing retailer that encourages shared cultural knowledge and experiences to gain a feel of the environment, culture, differences and resources surrounding the organization. Patagonia encourages vacations, traveling, active events to understand their products and how their products affect their clients. Employees are even provided with a discount to experience the merchandise for gaining knowledge to provide better client interaction and guarantees.
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I would say based on the shared experiences, decisions and knowledge that Patagonia displays an organizational culture leadership and knowledge sharing leadership style. According to Zhixian, (2019), “ The functions of organizational culture include the creation of internal integration (Furnham and Gunter, 1993) (by socializing new members, creating boundaries, feelings of identity and commitment to the organization) and coordination (making sense of the organization’s environment in terms of acceptable behavior and social system stability) (Martins, 2000 cited in Martins and Terblanche, 2003, p. 65).” Patagonia’s culture allows employees to experience the cultural and organizational differences to gain knowledge on merchandize, the surrounding environment and the clients. This leadership style can be viewed as participative leadership style based on the employee involvement, sociability, shared knowledge and decision making and participation. Patagonia’s leadership model enhances employee involvement, trust and allows them to experience the culture differences as well as products.
I also feel with the cultural and social openness can create social loafing if employees are not focus on gaining knowledge rather than personal experiences. Flexibility creates opportunities and allows employees to balance their work and personal lives, creating employee satisfaction. “Organizations that institute participative management may realize higher stock returns, lower turnover rates, and higher labor productivity, although these effects are typically not large.64” (Robbins, Judge, 2019)
Every organization leadership style and organizational culture differs, this is merely understanding what leadership style or model works for the specific organization. Although leadership style has been around for centuries, leaders must understand how each style motives and inspires employee’s satisfaction and involvement that results in the organizations success. Although incidents may occur, incidents can either make or break an organization, it’s the organization culture, structure and leadership model that provides resolution.
- Mihardjo, L. W. W., Sasmoko, Alamsjah, F., & Elidjen. (2019). Knowledge Sharing and Transformational Leadership. Journal of Security & Sustainability Issues, 9(1), 333–346. https://doi.org/10.9770/jssi.2019.9.2(25)
- Rast III, D., Hogg, M., & Giessner, S. (2013). Self-uncertainty and Support for Autocratic Leadership. Self & Identity, 12(6), 635–649. https://doi.org/10.1080/15298868.2012.718864
- Robbins, S.P., & Judge, T.A. (2019). Organizational behavior: Leadership. (18th ed.). PP. 392-428. New York, NY: Pearson.
- Robbins, S.P., & Judge, T.A. (2019). Organizational behavior: Motivation. (18th ed.). PP. 252-285. New York, NY: Pearson.
- Zhixian Yi. (2019). A leader’s approaches to fostering a culture of knowledge sharing in an information organization. Library Management, 40(8/9), 593–600. https://doi.org/10.1108/LM-11-2018-0083
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