CEO of Harley Davidson Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

CEO of Harley Davidson

The Harley Davidson Company came to be in 1903, founded by William Harvey and Arthur Davidson. In 1907, the two associates incorporated the Harvey Davidson Motor Company leading to a split of stock into four, to cater for the new associate Walter Davidson. Over the years, Harley Davidson has managed to remain financially stable, despite the prior records of slowed growth, owing to the maturing market that results to low growth rates for all companies dealing with motorcycles (Mark, Tycen and Jordan 1987). The motorcycles from the company used by the military, and to date, have become an American representation because of the many Harley Rallies around the globe (Mark, Tycen and Jordan 1987).

The success of the company does not only lay in the many investments, or rather the money it has, but also the management of the company, and its workforce. The company practices exceptional corporate governance because it gives good judgment to the company. The executive and board of directors have outstanding characteristics, and ethics, they also meet frequently and plan for future developments (Mark, Tycen and Jordan 1987). In addition, because of their diversity, and experiences, they are able to formulate strategies that keeps the business thriving. This paper tries to examine some of the exemplar qualities seen in one of the CEO's of this company into a classroom situation, therefore, determining whether the CEO can make a good lecturer.

In addition, the business learnt in school, needs the real life practice. Although lecturers are qualified, they do not have the practical application of the knowledge learnt in class, which is vital. Therefore, the search for CEO's from Companies, to offer lectures in the business faculty, is an effective way of ending the class monotony (Michael et al. n.d.). The Harley Davidson Company over the years has witnessed the succession of various persons into the post of Chief Executive officer; they include John Hevey of 2001, Donna Zarcone of 1998, James McCaslin of 1992, and the current CEO, Keith E. Wandell (Michael n.d.).


The current CEO of Harley Davidson is Keith E. Wandell. He is well-known for reviving the company, which was not doing well. The company had accumulated revenues, lacked business ethics because customers described the workers as arrogant, and lacked strategic plans for development. In addition to this, he is a member of the board of directors of constellation brands, Premium wines, and Dana Corporation, which are a worldwide supplier and manufacturer of commercial vehicles. Keith is also the Chairman of the NMCDSC, which is an organization that fosters business opportunities for certified Asian, Black, Hispanic, and American entrepreneurs by connecting them to corporate members (Michael et al. n.d.).

Keith is an experienced man in the business field because his working experience offers an insight to the various companies he has headed. The companies include IAP World Services as the Vice President, and Johnson Controls Inc., where he served as the chief operating Officer and Member of the office of the Chief Executive officer. In addition, he also served as the President of Automotive group another section of the Johnson Controls Inc. Keith holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Ohio University in the year 1972, and a Masters in Business Administration from Dayton University in the year 1979.


The business schools and the community face a similar problem when it comes to delivery of practical knowledge to MBA students. The theory is not effective in class when students finally finish their MBA studies and are in the field. This is why some issues such as the lack of ethical standards are abundant in the business field. Therefore, most business firms, which end up employing such students, use a substantial percentage of their resources, in their firms to manage the unethical behaviors that arise (Horn and Kennedy 2008, 7-15).

In addition, the business schools, however, hard they try the theory on ethics in class does not work well with the students. This is a major problem in the business world, and the business community ought to do something to end the problem. This creates a perfect reason, for calling, or integrating CEO's of various companies to give the students a practical field on the same subject. This means that, Keith E. Wandell would do well to educate the MBA, or any other business student in the university.

Research objectives

The CEO is an achiever, team leader, and a transformational leader. These traits are evident from the strategies he implemented in his bid to save Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company. The main things that featured in his revolutionary strategy were growth, continuous improvement, leadership, and sustainability. In addition, he worked on eliminating the obstacles that obstructed the workers from working by emphasizing and prioritizing the customer's expectations. He has academic qualifications that can see him through as a lecturer, to share with MBA students some of the challenges they are expected to face and how they should solve them through application of working strategies.

Although he has no teaching experience, the constant working with people, as their leader, makes him a good instructor. Teaching involves the giving of instructions and frequent consultations from students, and, therefore, he can make an effective lecturer. In addition, the experience gained in the field of business will help the students integrate what they learnt in school, into real business situations, and fulfill the objectives of this research, which include killing the class monotony, instill practical business experiences, and show that the business community has a role to play in business schools.


Researching on this paper, or rather the research question, on whether the CEO's can make effective lecturers, involved examination of materials, which provided information and support the positive response, was a form of secondary research. The paper also borrows greatly from a paper published in 1990 entitled, "Bad Apples in Bad Barrels: A Casual Analysis of Ethical Decision Making Behavior." This research reveals that ethics is the major problem that businesses face today (Henle 2006, 346-348). Most of the business leaders find themselves in compromising situations mostly because of the issue of ethics. In such unethical situations, many explanations offered to provide the basis of issues such as, corporate culture, corporate governance structures, and business schools (Henle 2006, 346-355).


When organizations have a culture of prioritizing profits at the expense of employees, customers, and the society, unethical behavior is likely to develop because there is a mentality of favoring immediate returns. The management should thrive to create a background that equates the generation of profits to ethical business standards. This means that, the leaders may act in certain ways to foster or reduce unethical behaviors. A survey of MBA students from some of the renowned business schools in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom blame business leaders for such unethical issues in business.

However, they forget to examine the business schools. Although these schools recognize the significance of incorporating business ethics and values into their curriculum, there is substantial belief that some of these institutions have a role in such unethical malpractices. The explanation behind this is that, some of the theories, such as the agency theory may mask some of the outcomes of action. Therefore, the theoretical states, act as self-serving to those who believe in them. Another survey of MBA students reveals that, the student's believe that corporate values and business ethics play a significant role when running their businesses.




Figure 1

According to Figure 1, the business schools play the greatest role when it comes to developing of a student, and most of times, the school also acts as the reflection of the student in the field. Although this is true, the business community must also play a role in the development of the student and affect their performance in the field. There are important values that business students should posses such as situational awareness, business acumen, critical thinking, and personal accountability in order to make it as future leaders (Horn and Kennedy 2008, 7-15). Instead of the students experiencing challenges when they finally complete their education, it is appropriate for exposure to real life business situations, such as a personal decision making to test them in high-pressure business environments.

Figure 2

In Figure 2, it is evident that for fresh people out there, the business environment is hard, because all the theories taught in business schools do not always apply in real business practice. This emphasizes the use of examples, case studies, real work, as significant ways to teach business because it exposes the hard choices early enough, to create future leaders out of them (Henle 2006, 346-355). This discourages the use of pure theory, which most of the lecturers deliver, and encourages the incorporation of CEO's such as Keith E. Wandell to give lectures. The CEO will certainly offer significant help to the student's because of the vast experience in the business field.

In addition, the CEO's on…

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