Starfish And The Spider The Spider Can Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 4 Subject: Leadership Type: Essay Paper: #28957511

Excerpt from Essay :

Starfish and the Spider The spider can represent the traditional centralized organization. It is a creature that has eight legs coming out of its bodies and a number of eyes on its head that can see in any direction. If you cut off a spider's head then it will die similar to an organization with a traditional structure and a centralized leader. However, in contrast, a starfish operates much differently. The starfish represents more of a decentralized organization because its body is largely decentralized itself. Instead of having a centralized head, the starfish has a neural network that does not have a centralized command. If you cut off a starfish's leg then it survives just fine; it can even grow a new one. Both of these models work well in nature as well as in the business world in different circumstances. However, there are some opportunities to use the strengths of each model in a hybrid form. This analysis will discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of these models as well as the opportunities to combine various features into a new creature or method of leadership.

Traditional Leadership

The traditional leadership model has been challenged by increasing complexity that has arisen in globalized markets fueled by technological achievements. One way that companies have responded is to attempt to standardize their business processes in order to be able to reproduce operations through a centralized command. This approach has also been aided by the use of


For example, one factor that affects a firm's competitiveness in such an arrangement is how well knowledge transfers in an organization across international borders (Tsai, 2001). However, there can be many barriers to knowledge transfer that include language and cultural differences. Another study has identified that the absorptive capacity of knowledge transfer is correlated with the employees' abilities and willingness to learn (Minbaeva, et al., 2003). Therefore, there is also a motivational dimension to standardization that can prevent the effectiveness of a centralized command structure. Much of the spider model seems to operate on the exchange values in leadership or transactional leadership. Transactional leadership is defined as an exchange relationship between the managers and the employees who are all focused on meeting their own self-interests and fulfilling their organizational expectations. Transactional leadership consists of monitoring, controlling, and motivating employees through economic incentives and other types of exchange incentives (Bass, 1985). One popular form of transactional leadership is management by exception in which a manager will monitor performances and only take corrective actions when a problem is noted. This allows a manager to be able to monitor a large number of employees from a centralized leadership structure.

The Starfish

The starfish model takes an entirely different approach to leadership. The starfish doesn't have a head or one centralized organ that is responsible for leading the rest. Rather it consists of a neural network that…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Bass, B. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectations. New York: Free Press.

Brafman, O., & Beckstrom, R. (2007, January). The Starfish and the Spider. Retrieved from Executive Book Summaries:

Johnson, C. (2012, July 16). Scientist's game helps map the brain. Retrieved from The Boston Globe:

Minbaeva, D., Pedersen, T., Bjorkman, I., Fey, C., & Park, H. (2003). MNC knowledge transfer, subsidary absorptive capacity, and HRM. Journal of International Business Studies, 34(6), 581-599.

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