Strategic Leadership Influence Culture Organization Eventually Organization Essay

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Strategic leadership influence culture organization eventually organization succeed fail. Show examples Air Asia, Apple Enron (Failure). I limit references subject matter Edgar Schein's theories culture organization business management authors.

The influence of strategic leadership on organizational culture and the ultimate success or failure of the organization

The focus on strategic leadership and organizational culture has been increasing exponentially throughout the past recent years, in both the academic community, as well as among the practitioners' community. The assessment of the role of strategic leadership in shaping the organizational culture and influencing the company' final success or failure has to start out with a review of the available literature. This effort as such represents the centralization of important and relevant data from the literature and its presentation in a relevant manner.

The sources addressed at this stage include books, journal articles and internet articles. Each of these sources has its own benefits and shortages. The books for instance might be outdated and they could integrate data from over three decades ago; in the fast changing economy, such information might lose relevance. Then, the journal articles will focus on specific issues of strategic leadership within organizations, but will be more difficult to access and the issues approached might be niche and of a low relevance for the current research. Finally, the internet articles, while not peer reviewed, have the advantage of presenting actual information, which will be highly useful in the analysis of Apple and Enron.

1.1. Abstract of the literature review

The literature review endeavor starts out with a look at the practitioners' community in order to set the basis for the future research effort. It reveals the background to the current research and presents the context of corporations today, with the example of Enron and its culture. It then moves on to presenting the positive and negative effects of strategic leadership for the wider context of the organization, but also outside it, at the level of the community.

1.2. Academic objectives of the project

1.3. Outline of sections

The current project is constructed from four main sections, namely an introductory part, one focused on setting the basis for the review, a third focused on the actual review of the literature -- with emphasis on the concepts of leadership and organizational culture, as well as the positive and negative effects of the influences --, and culminates with a section on concluding remarks, which integrate a summary of findings and the limitations of the study.

2. Setting the scene

2.1. The background

The act of leadership has been present within the society since the very creation of mankind. Leadership has been used in the construction of the ancient pyramids or in the creation of the original settlings. Still, the act of leadership as a theoretical stance has not been addressed until the recent decades, with the increase of the business operations.

Historically, the business operations had been limited to trade -- sometimes not even in money -- and understandings between the people. During the Industrial Revolution nevertheless, factories were open and business operations gained a more formal and practical nature. Factory owners were forced to manage their resources and their people in order to create profits. Still, in those days, the factory owners had an immense power and their leadership was discretionary and focused on their own benefit, to a point at which their laborers were exploited and union efforts were crushed in violence (Grantham, 1994).

Gradually, the employees gained more territory in their fight against the injustices of the factory owners and a crucial part in this fight was played by the policy makers, who developed legislations to protect the employees (Arup, 2006). The staff members as such gained more power within the economic climate and the act of leadership flourished as the company owners and managers were forced to motivate, reward and integrate the staff members. In other words, their objective remained that of profitability increases, yet leadership shaped the path through the attainment of this goal.

"The Industrial Revolution shifted America's economy from an agriculture base to an industrial one and, thereby, ushered in a change in how leaders would treat their followers. The Industrial Revolution created a paradigm shift to a new theory of leadership in which "common" people gained power by virtue of their skills (Clawson, 1999). New technology, however, was accompanied and reinforced by mechanization of human thought and action, thus creating hierarchical bureaucracies" (Stone and Patterson, 2005).

At this stage, the leadership emphasis fell on increasing the levels of organizational productivity, reducing bureaucracy and further integrating technology. In such a setting, the classical approach to leadership maximized the role of the mechanized work and minimized the role of the people, failing to recognize organizations as complex constructions.

By the middle of the twentieth century, organizations began to understand that people were not mechanic and it was not efficient to treat them as such; also, hierarchic structures commenced to show their limitations. Gradually then, a leadership style was formed to emphasize more on the role of people, to stimulate them and to link them to the final success of the firm. At this stage, researchers began to understand the factors that motivated the people and motivational theories were formed and issued, such as Maslow's hierarchy of needs or Herzberg's dual factory theory.

"Consequently, the goal of effective leadership was evolving and moving away from the earlier concepts of the classical and scientific management theories that treated workers as machines. Leaders were now challenged to actively involve followers in achieving organizational goals" (Stone and Patterson, 2005).

Towards the end of the twentieth century, the societies were also developing and creating more demands for the business agents, in the meaning that social well-being was sought instead of economic gains. Also at this stage, the technologic field was evolving at a pace more rapid than ever. In such a context, the focus of the leaders once again shifted from mechanized work to the value of the people; leadership by transformation and performance became quintessential in the modern day companies. The evolution of leadership is not expected to end here, but it is likely for it to become more interesting as the micro and macro environments rapidly change.

2.2. Corporations today

The modern day society is characterized by high levels of competition and demand from the various stakeholder categories, such as customers, employees, business partners, governmental and non-governmental institutions, the general public and so on (Chinyio and Olomolaiye, 2010). In such a setting, the companies have to attain their profitability objectives through the satisfaction of the needs and wants of these stakeholder categories.

Creating quality products and services is no longer sufficient to ensure survival in the industry and market place, but the firms have to devise a wide array of strategies that ensure their triumph. Examples of such strategic endeavors could include strong relations with the customers, innovative products, the creation of comparative advantages or the emphasis on operational efficiencies.

However challenging these situations might appear, there are some organizations that have managed to develop and implement leadership strategies that have brought them the highly anticipated success. Some examples in this sense include Apple Inc. Google Inc. Or Air Asia.

Apple is, without a doubt, one of the strongest and most popular companies across the globe. Its success is due to a powerful business model of leadership, based on strong relationships with the customers. Apple Inc. is for instance renewed for its customer relationship management, which places customer satisfaction at the center of the company's focus. Apple's strategy of customer satisfaction -- and ultimate corporate success -- is based on strategic efforts such as ensuring that the products send a statement, not just integrate a functionality; the creation of a wider product of complementary and independent products; the pursuit of innovation, the creation of independent stores to transmit the Apple design and values and the provision of reliable customer support (Inside CRM). All these values were inspired and transmitted by the late Steve Jobs, the mastermind behind the company's triumphs.

Successful strategies have also been implemented by Google Inc. which has focused on the hiring of highly skilled and intellectual capable engineers, and the creation of a working environment that fostered innovation (Griffin and Moorehead, 2009). Also, a success story is revealed by Air Asia and its leader, Tony Fernandes. The success of the company has been due to the creation of operational efficiencies which allowed the company to reduce its prices and make flinging accessible to everyone (Tony Fernandes Blog). The key success factor at Air Asia is represented by the low cost products, which generate increased demand from the customer base, coupled with the strong managerial model.

2.3. Enron leadership

Aside from the companies which have managed to use leadership strategies to attract success, there were also some companies which implemented faulty organizational cultures that eventually led to their dismay. And the most relevant example in this sense is represented by the case of Enron, a multi-operational activity,…

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