leadership requirements 3.2 plan development future situations requiring leadership 4.1 plan development leadership skills a specific requirement 4.2 report usefulness methods plan development leadership skills assessing McDonald.
Leadership at McDonald's
McDonald's has often been blamed for the negative impact its foods products have upon the population. And in the context in which more and more people suffer from nutrition related illnesses, McDonald's is becoming the emblem of fast food to be avoided (Kaufmann, 2010).
Still, the demand for its products continues to increase and this is explained by a wide array of social and economic changes. For instance, women's emancipation and the choice to work outside the home leave them with little time to cook (Parasecoli, 2004). Then, the experience of dining out has changed dramatically throughout the past recent years and it is exacerbated by the economic crisis, which decreases the population's access to traditional restaurants and drives them towards fast food products which are cheap and convenient (Wilk, 2006).
Within this dually complex environment, McDonald's continues to thrive. Its success is due to a wide array of elements, among which a strong marketing program, the advantages of the scale economies it had created or the quality of its leadership act. The current project as such sets out to assess the leadership features at McDonald's from four distinct angles -- the leadership requirements, future situations requiring leadership, the development of leadership skills and the usefulness of the methods used. Finally, several alternatives to strategic leadership would be formulated.
2. Current leadership requirements
McDonald's is one of the largest corporations of the world, in terms of all size, global expansion and volume of sales and revenues. This position presents it with various opportunities, but also with numerous challenges. At this stage, it is necessary to present some of the more important challenges to leadership faced by the fast food monolith. The method used to identify these challenges is that of the systematic review, which revolves around the systematic identification of valuable sources of information and issues, and then summarizes those which are most pertinent and relevant for the specific topic studied (The Community Guide, 2011). In this order of ideas, the implementation of the systematic review method has lead to the following findings: the company is challenged by globalization, by its business model and by changes in the socio-cultural environment. These issues are addressed below.
One important leadership challenge faced by McDonald's is represented by the international context of globalization. In this setting, the organization has to manage people, resources, legislations and customers in various global regions, but do so in a manner in which the company's image and objectives are enhanced. McDonald's leadership approach in this sense is still to be developed, but lessons could be drawn from the marketing approach in the meaning that the fast food giant has adapted its marketing strategies to appeal to various customers across the globe (Armstrong, Harker and Brennan, 2009). Such lessons could also be implemented regarding the leadership style.
Another leadership challenge is pegged to the fact that McDonald's franchises across the globe. This virtually means that its stores are run by local managers, who use the corporate resources and image to develop their stores. The leadership challenges faced at this stage are multiple and include the loss of control by McDonald's, the demise of organizational standards, the possibility of lower profitability or lack of trust and even conflicts between franchisee and franchisor (Alon, Alpeza and Erceg).
Finally, the last leadership challenge is represented by the changing features in the socio-cultural environment, represented mainly by the new nutritional concerns which stand to decrease the demand in the company's products. The company has already moved in this direction by increasing the presence of healthier foods on its menus, but it continues to face the challenge of raising nutritional concerns (Werther and Chandler, 2006).
3. Future situations requiring leadership
The challenges previously mentioned are but a few of the potential threats which could face McDonald's. Some examples of other challenges could include the continually changing international context, the high rates of employee turnover or the various situations in the relationships with the business partners. In these future situations requiring leadership, the developments of the company would be intricate, yet crucial in determining future success. Here are some suggestions as to how to plan for the development of future situations requiring leadership:
Constantly assessing the market and the industry in order to identify new changes
Constantly assessing the trends in the market, the industry and in legislations
Identifying new needs and situations even before these become trends and satisfying the needs of customers even before the customers become aware of these needs (Kotler, Armstrong, Wong and Saunders, 2008)
Continually engaging the employees in effective collaborations, based on trust and motivation
Developing and implementing a culture of change and learning, due to which McDonald's would be consolidated as an enterprise able to face any new challenge (Boonstra, 2004).
4. The development of leadership skills
One of the more severe challenges faced by McDonald's today is that of its public image. The fast food giant is perceived as a large size corporation sacrificing quality and healthy food in the name of profits. And aside from the foods, the company is also blamed for its poor relationship with the local purveyors. Specifically, the company is criticized for importing its commodities from other, more cost-effective regions (Garfinkle, 2000). This situation contributes to the demise of the local economy, as well as endangering health by not including fresh produce. All in all, the corporate image of McDonald's could suffer serious hits in the future and it is necessary to plan for the development of new leadership skills to manage this specific requirement. In this setting, the following agenda is created:
The analysis of all complaints from all stakeholder categories. The McDonald's leaders should as such interact with the representatives of the stakeholder categories -- such as employees, customers or local business agents -- and take note of their complaints.
The analysis and prioritizing of the identified problem specifics.
The continued communications with the stakeholders
The integration of the stakeholder complaints into the McDonald's business model
The tailoring of the leadership style in a means in which it combines company goals with stakeholder well-being.
5. Usefulness of methods
Similar to the identification of the leadership challenges, the plan to developing leadership skills of specific requirements was also based on the systematic review method. Specifically, the potential requirements were assessed in light of the criticism and a plan was created based on this systematic review.
The main advantage of the approach used is that it strives to eliminate bias and it focuses on the objective assessment of the various challenges. Additionally, the findings generated with the use of the systematic approach are transparent and easily accessible to the leaders and other interested parties (Leibovici and Reeves, 2005).
Still, the systematic approach also generates a series of shortages. The most important of these is represented by the fact that the systematic reviews assess specific issues and as such generate results only in correspondence to those particular issues addressed. In other words, the final findings are influenced by the importance and nature of the context in which the analysis was conducted (Shuttleworth, 2009).
In the particular case of McDonald's, the application of the systematic method has generated findings which are highly relevant in the context in which they were assessed. To maximize their usefulness, it is necessary for the findings to be extrapolated and for the ultimate strategic decisions to be made in an integrated manner, characteristic of the overall leadership context at McDonald's.
6. Conclusions and recommendations
McDonald's is currently one of the leading corporations of the globe. It is the undisputable leader of the fast food industry and it develops new strategic efforts to further consolidate this position. Still, the company faces countless challenges from both internal and external environments and these pressures generate the need for well developed leadership strategies.
The company has already developed a strong and complex leadership model by which it addresses the challenges from the environment. Still, in order to further improve its leadership position and strategies, some recommendations of alternative strategies can be recommended. These include the following: focus on healthy nutrition, collaboration with local purveyors and adaptation.
The company should focus more on healthy nutrition. Fast food is still in demand for the time being, but as the health of the population continues to decline, the emphasis on responsible eating would come to play a greater role in customers' decision. Unless the fast food giant becomes able to serve the increasing need for healthy nutrition, it would face the demise of its competitive position.
McDonald's should focus more on the development of business relationships with the local purveyors. Such a strategy would enhance the company's position as a vendor of healthy products through the integration of fresh produce in their menus, but would also serve the purpose of improving the organizational image.…