Management Style Fred Smith Started Essay

Excerpt from Essay :



There are some disadvantages to the transactional leadership style, however. This style is often considered to be inferior in times of crisis when strong transformation of the business is required. Should FedEx's core business move beyond the "cash cow" stage of maturity, the company may lack the vision to radically transform itself (for example, if jet fuel costs become too high to offer overnight courier service profitably). The company has succeeded thus far with its leadership style in part because it has had the same leader for its entire history -- the ability of FedEx to develop transformational leaders has not yet been tested. In addition, the company has been able to utilize their current business model profitably since the years following its inception, and there has been no crisis that threatened this cash flow significantly.

That said, FedEx does have within its leadership style the ability to make changes quickly. With a single transformational leader at the top of the organizational chart, FedEx can quickly disseminate changes throughout the organization via its thousands of strong military-style leaders. This may help the company to transform itself in a reactionary manner, but does not address the ability of the company to transform itself in a proactive manner. Transformational leadership can sometimes fall into the trap of only reacting to the need to change, rather than anticipating it (no author, 2010).

One of the difficulties that has emerged with respect to the FedEx leadership style is the ability of management to integrate its style with the leadership styles at other firms. For example when FedEx took over Kinko's there were significant differences between the two firms with respect to organizational culture. This made the integration of Kinko's into FedEx difficult from a leadership perspective, and the move eventually was made to bring Kinko's entirely into the FedEx fold as FedEx Office, moving out the former Kinko's leadership and restructuring the Kinko's organizational culture in the process (Palmeri, 2008).

Conclusion

Overall, the military-influenced transactional leadership style of Fred Smith at FedEx has been highly effective in helping the company build itself into a world leader, in part because it has a significant level of fit with both the nature of the firm's business and its place in the product life cycle. The company does a strong job of supporting this leadership style by recruiting from the military and incorporating military leadership techniques into its proprietary training institutions. The major weakness of this approach is that FedEx may not be prepared to deal with significant changes -- although it has the tools to address such changes there is little evidence that the firm has developed strong transformational leaders that can spearhead significant changes.

Works Cited:

Smith, F. (2010). What the Marine Corps taught me can be seen every day in FedEx. Military.com. Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://www.military.com/veterans-day/famous-veterans/frederick-smith.htm

Epstein, M. (1998). Hiring veterans: A cost-effective staffing solution. HR Magazine. Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/workforce-management-hiring-recruitment/708916-1.html

Row, H. (1998). The 9 faces of leadership. Fast Company. Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/13/9faces.html

MindTools.com. (2010). Leadership styles. MindTools.com. Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_84.htm#transactional

No author. (2010). Transactional leadership. Leadership and Motivation Training. Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://www.leadership-and-motivation-training.com/transactional-leadership.html

Palmeri, C. (2008). FedEx whites out Kinko's name. Business Week. Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_52/b4114078612060.htm

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited:

Smith, F. (2010). What the Marine Corps taught me can be seen every day in FedEx. Military.com. Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://www.military.com/veterans-day/famous-veterans/frederick-smith.htm

Epstein, M. (1998). Hiring veterans: A cost-effective staffing solution. HR Magazine. Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/workforce-management-hiring-recruitment/708916-1.html

Row, H. (1998). The 9 faces of leadership. Fast Company. Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/13/9faces.html

MindTools.com. (2010). Leadership styles. MindTools.com. Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_84.htm#transactional

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