All About Leadership



A mission statement states the purpose of the organization and serves as a guide to decision making for all levels of management.

A charismatic leader can be characterized by having four key elements: a vision, high expectations of any followers, the willingness to take personal risks to achieve the vision, the exhibition of extraordinary behavior.

A transactional leader has an implied “contract” between him and any followers.  He highlights the rules and regulations of the tasks to be completed.

There are four requirements to be considered a transformational leader.  A transformational leader promotes a vision for his followers.  He communicates high performance expectations.  He gives personal attention to followers.  Lastly, his focus must be on transforming the followers.

A leader exhibits four traits: extroversion, conscientiousness, openness, and emotional intelligence.  Extroversion means being sociable, gregarious, and assertive.  Conscientiousness means being dependable, responsible, persistent, and organized.  Openness means being imaginative and creative.  Emotional intelligence is the ability to be self-aware, self-managing, self-motivating, empathetic, and have social skills.

Production-oriented leaders tend to emphasize the technical aspects of the job; their main concern is in accomplishing their group’s task, and the group members are a means to an end.

Employee-oriented leaders can be described as emphasizing interpersonal relations; they take a personal interest in the employees and accept the individual differences among members.

Robert House’s Path-Goal Theory was developed from the Ohio State studies and the expectancy theory of motivation.  The theory states that leaders provide followers with information, support, and resources to help them achieve their goals.  Leaders help clarify the “path” to the worker’s goals.  Leaders can display multiple leadership types.  There are four types of leaders under this theory.  Directive leaders focus on the work to be done.  Supportive leaders focus on the well-being of the worker.  Participative leaders consult with employees in decision-making.  Achievement-Oriented leaders set challenging goals.

There are three types of internal recruitment methods: promoting from within, referrals, and walk-ins.  Advantages of internal recruitment are that the employees know the company, and therefore, may require less training, the employees are probably more motivated, and the employees’ strengths and weaknesses are probably known.

Economies of scale can be defined as the cost advantages that a business obtains after an expansion.  Staples Inc. experienced economies of scale in the area of marketing; this means that Staples was able to spread the cost of advertising over a greater range of output in media markets.

When Jeanne Lewis was put in charge of the marketing department, she was relatively new to Staples.  Many people had worked in that department for years, and now, Lewis was in charge of it.  The employees were not very receptive to her because she was promoted over them even though she was new.  This problem is a type of interactionist conflict.  Specifically, the problem Lewis is having is a relationship conflict.  It’s based on interpersonal relationships between her and her new subordinates; this type of conflict is dysfunctional, meaning that it negatively impacts the performance of the employees.

How can this be solved? 

Lewis needs to speak to her subordinates and explain that she is trying her best to learn the ins and outs of the organization and settle in.  Then, in an attempt to resolve the conflict, Lewis could use smoothing, a conflict-management technique; this involves playing down the differences between her and her subordinates while emphasizing the common interests between her and her subordinates.  Another possible way to resolve the conflict would be to create superordinate goals, which are shared goals that cannot be attained without cooperation between Lewis and her subordinates.

Lewis wants to understand the problems and opportunities the marketing department has, and then motivate the employees to fix them.  Motivation is combination of processes that account for an individual’s intensity, direction, and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal – specifically, an organizational goal.  There are a plethora of motivational theories that can be applied to the problems that Jeanne Lewis is experiencing with her subordinates, but we feel that ­___ Locke’s Goal-Setting Theory would be the most effective.  Locke’s theory says that specific and difficult goals, with self-generated feedback, lead to higher performance.  Setting difficult goals theoretically should increase the focus, efficiency, effectiveness, and persistence of the employee.  The relationship between goals and performance depends on goal commitment, task characteristics, and the culture of the organization.  If the goal is made public within the organization, the employee is more likely to work harder to attain it.  The task characteristics should be simple and well-learned.  The culture of the organization is also important; this theory should work well for Staples because it works best on organizations in North America because of the cultural aspect.

Another type of interactionist conflict that is evident at Staples is a process conflict.  This is a conflict over how work gets done.  There are many conflict negotiation methods that can be used to solve a simple problem like this.  Two possible solutions are authoritative command and compromising.  Authoritative command is when a superior demands that a subordinate performs the job a certain way; this should be used by Lewis as a secondary option.  Her best choice is probably compromising, which is developing a mutually beneficial solution through cooperation.  This method may work better than authoritative command because Lewis’s subordinates will see that she is willing to work with them instead of ordering them around.

A “top-down” approach is one where the manager makes the decision.

A “bottom-up” approach is one where the employees work together to arrive at a decision.  Staples needs a more bottom-up approach because the heads of each department know more about what’s going on within the organization than the CEO does.

A task conflict is evident within Staples Direct.  This means that the goals are not aligned with the work that employees are performing.