Smith School of Business (at the University of Maryland), where she was granted an MBA (Master of Business Administration) and also the courses of the MIT Sloan School of Management, where she received a Master of Science in management.
Professionally speaking, Fiorina occupied various secretarial positions; she was also a teacher of English in Italy and a receptionist. Her fruitful career began in 1980 when she joined at&T, where after various positions, came to be the company's Senior Vice President. In 1999 she joined Hewlett-Packard as Chief Executive Officer, but was forced to leave in 2005. After her departure from HP, Fiorina engaged in personal and political actions, such as the edition of her book Tough Choices: A Memoir, or campaigning with presidential candidate John McCain (Jacoby, 2008).
Carly Fiorina possesses numerous skills which qualify her for the leader's position. First of all, she has extensive knowledge and expertise, backed by a high education and various personal traits, such as confidence, power of conviction, determination and perseverance. All these make up for traits which qualify her as a "Great Man" (based on the Great Man theories which argue that a leader is born, not made). Then, relative to the contingency theories, Fiorina believed that no text book managerial style was adequate for the situation encountered at HP and consequently, she developed her own style. Then, from the stand point of situation theories, Fiorina also developed what she saw as the best course of action in a given situation. She always looked at all variables in an equation and made a decision based on her observations. In terms of participative theories on the other hand, Fiona was reported as having difficulties in properly listening to the view points of other individuals. Even as the company was registering reduced performances towards the end of her CEO position, she failed to address the concerns of the HP Board of Directors.
Despite the controversy she generated, fact remains that Carly Fiorina is a reputable leader of the twenty-first century. One might ask oneself as to origin of her power and influence. These are mainly derived from her convictions, personal traits as well the education she received. The norms she implemented within HP are various and mostly based on her leadership style. She recognized the difficulties the company was facing, but decided that her decisions would have a strategic backbone, rather than a financial purpose. Otherwise put, she chose to work to modify the internal structure at HP, the people, the operations and the company's competitive positions. All these would eventually materialize in financial gains.
Another belief that Fiorina implemented was that of reacting to the market. She recognized that the world was changing at a rapid pace and she desired for HP to be a leader in this process of change. "People increasingly understand that the technology industry was consolidating. Our choice was do we lead it or follow it. We chose to lead it" (Answers, 2008).
However he is no longer among us, Samuel Moore Walton is a notable example of leadership. He is the founder of the retail monolith Wal-Mart and the company's success is mostly due to his leadership approach. He was the first to introduce the discount department stores and the membership retail stores (Sam's Clubs). Upon his death in 1992, Walton left his family a billion dollar fortune, the Waltons continuing to be one of the wealthiest families in the world.
Sam Walton was born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma in 1918 and spent his early years moving around from one town to another as his family was searching for a better life. Walton was an honors student; he was the president of the students' body and he excelled in physical activities, winning numerous awards. Walton revealed his entrepreneurial skills in early childhood, when he would milk the family cow and distribute the milk, deliver the paper and be voted the "Most Versatile Boy."
He attended the courses of the University of Missouri and upon graduation, he got a job at JC Penney. He was then called by the military, where he reached the rank of captain. After leaving the army, he bought a franchise of the Butler Brothers. It was here where he revealed the skills that would support his future success. He began by opening small stores, but he soon reached the conclusion that large retail stores would be more appealing. They were called "Walton's Family Center" and the manager's leadership style became more obvious than ever. He would allow operational managers to become partners, he would motivate employees, he would keep the stores open long hours, he would ensure that the shelves are filled with cheap products at all times and he would sign deals only with the lowest cost purveyors. The first actual Wal-Mart was opened in 1962 and it gained massive success due to the low price, the high diversity of products, the creation of jobs and the support it offered to the development of communities (Answers, 2008).
In terms of the leadership theories featured by the contemporaneous literature, Sam Walton meets numerous standards. In this order of ideas, he was a "Great Man" as he is often described as "heroic, mythic and destined to rise to leadership when needed" (Van Wagner, 2009). When reading this, one must keep in mind that the notoriety of an individual increases dramatically with his death. However this may have occurred in the case of Sam Walton, it does not make him any less of a successful leader.
Then, Walton also possessed the personality traits which make a leader, such as power of conviction, ability to motivate and lead, interpersonal abilities in relating to people and high skills in understanding the market and serving the needs of consumers. Relative to the participative theories, the founder of Wal-Mart was highly capable to relate to other members of his team. He often encouraged his employees (which came to be called associates in time) to take action and be active participants. Finally, in terms of situational and contingency theories, he also developed his own approach, based on the different variables of each situation.
Unlike Carly Fiorina, Sam Walton was not the recipient of high education. Therefore, most of his power and influence are determined by his convictions and personal traits, such as his genuine care for the people or his immense desire to succeed. In terms of the norms implemented within his organizations, these changed relatively few in the future. Walton simply chose to perfect the norms that had already ensured his success: low prices every day, accessibility and wide variety of products, fair and stimulating treatment of his staff members, contracts with low cost suppliers.
Fiorina, C., 2007, Tough Choices: A Memoir, PENGUIN Group Inc.
Jacoby, M., April 22, 2008, Carly Fiorina Gets a Plug for VP Job, the Wall Street Journal
Van Wagner, K., Leadership Theories, About, http://psychology.about.com/od/leadership/p/leadtheories.html. Ast accessed on January 21, 2009
2008, Carly Fiorina, Answers, http://www.answers.com/topic/carly-fiorinalast accessed on January 21, 2009
2009, Sam Walton, Answers, http://www.answers.com/sam%20waltonlast accessed on January 21, 2009
Assignment 3 - Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Ron Dennis became the leader of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team in 1981. He made intense efforts to create a winning team. The recent losses have however brought him severe criticism and Dennis decided to leave his position as team principal starting with the first of March, 2009. He will not retire however, but will remain the executive chairman of the McLaren Group (Adams, 2009)
Prior to his arrival in the 1980s, the team had been struggling and their competitive edge was, to say the least, limited. He set the basis for a strong team by developing strategic partnerships with powerful groups, but also key individuals. The cars were constructed using more powerful engines and new racers were hired. As a result, the team begun to register victories. In 1988 for instance, the team had registered 15 wins out of 16 races.
Dennis revealed high skills in relating to the employees, and most importantly, he was able to keep the racers focused on winning. Problems emerged when the contract with Honda was lost and Ford and Peugeot failed to deliver competitive engines. A partnership with Mercedes was signed and the group began winning again, after seven years of losses. Another successful partnership was signed in 2005 between the group and Vodafone. This is the time when the main racer had withdrawn from the sport and McLaren was staring to lose races to Renault.
In 2007, Fernando Alonso joined the team, but he failed to retrieve the expected results. The main cause of the limited results was believed to be the existence of internal frictions between the top two racers. Dennis was unfortunately unable to resolve these issues. Foremost, at the same time, he was being accused of espionage, in a context in which the McLaren designer had entered the possession of…