What do [CEOs] do that steers innovation in their companies? Are they the sole drivers of innovation leadership? And is there a direct link between the innovation capability of a firm and the charisma of its leader? (Bel 2010: 47)

As firms seek to gain a key advantage in the market they operate in and actively seek out opportunities to undercut the competition more emphasis is being given to innovation. Innovation is what keeps a firm ahead of the game and the force that drives the firm forward.

Bel (2010) states that innovative leadership is concerned with a variety of different roles and skills, across different levels of an organisation. It is however an innovative CEO that ensures that creative and innovative new members of staff are hired and taken advantage of in a way that maximises the benefits for the firm. As stated by Bel in 2010, CEOs of firms have the opportunity to identify talent and develop it accordingly. Deschamps (2005) recognised that one of the hardest decisions faced by CEOs is to identify the correct manager that will be capable of leading a potentially massive drive towards innovation. Heim, Chapman & Lashutka, (2003) explained that leadership is all about doing right things by determining the right course of action.

Exxon-Mobil’s CEO, Rex Tillerson, could be an excellent example of an innovative leader found in the Oil and gas industry. He strongly supports the idea that if communication and cooperation exists within top managers and employees then this could boost innovation in a company. The rationale behind this is that by listening to other peoples (employees in this case) ideas with combination of CEO’s knowledge and experience in the industry there is a possibility of coming up with greater ideas, than a person alone can do. Rex Tillerson, fully supports the strategy of Exxon-Mobil which is mainly focused on innovation through communication and motivation of employees (Theeagleonline, 2009).

The problem of many innovative leaders is that they don’t see the reason in teaching their innovating skills to other people and prefer to take an approach of “Why delegate innovating to someone who’s not that good at it?” (Gregersen and Dyer, 2012). This may lead to a large barrier being built which prevents long lasting innovation within the organisation (Gregersen and Dyer, 2012). This goes to prove that having an innovative leader is “necessary but not sufficient” in sustaining a long lasting innovation premium (Gregersen and Dyer, 2012).

Claudi Santiago, is a charismatic and transformational leader. He is the CEO in General Electric Oil and Gas and he greatly supports the idea that for a leader to be successful he or she must be able to think outside the box and beyond standard knowledge. Even though Claudi Santiago idea involves a degree of risk, sometimes it worth to take some risks in order to succeed. Therefore, Santiago’s strategy as a leader is based on the saying of “high risk, high profits”. By thinking outside the box, Santiago has the ability to grab opportunities that other leaders in the industry see them as threats. Therefore, it could be said that General Electric Oil and Gas success is highly concerned with the ability of its CEO to ‘transform’, considering the situation every time, as well as due to the ability of its CEO to think and be one step ahead of other leaders in the industry (GEnewscenter, 2009).

In conclusion, it is clear that a charismatic leadership is necessary for a firm to truly realise its potential in terms of innovation. Innovative leaders that lead by example are good for a firm but are even better when they are willing and able to replicate their innovative skills throughout all levels of the firm. Acknowledging the importance of innovation, the way innovation works and enabling it to flourish in the work area are often not direct results of one another.







References- Blog 3


Bel, R. (2010). Leadership and innovation: Learning from the best. Global Business and Organizational Excellence, 29(2), 47-60.


Deschamps, J. P. (2005). Different leadership skills for different innovation strategies. Strategy & Leadership, 33(5), 31-38.


Fischer, B. (2011) AIR COVER: INNOVATION’S SECRET INGREDIENT [online] Available at: http://www.imd.org/research/challenges/steve-jobs-innovation-leadership-apple-bill-fischer.cfm [Accessed 27th March, 2013]


GEnewscenter (2009) GE Oil & Gas CEO Calls for ‘Innovation Now’ to Turn Industry Challenges into Opportunities [online] Available at:< http://www.genewscenter.com/Press-Releases/GE-Oil-Gas-CEO-Calls-for-Innovation-Now-to-Turn-Industry-Challenges-into-Opportunities-20c4.aspx> [Accessed 25 March, 2013]


Gregersen, H. and Dyer, J. (2012) How Innovative Leaders Maintain Their Edge [online] Available at: <http://www.forbes.com/sites/innovatorsdna/2012/09/05/how-innovative-leaders-maintain-their-edge/> [Accessed 25th March, 2013]


Heim, P., Chapman, E. N., & Lashutka, S. (2004). Learning to lead: An action plan for success. Axzo Press.


The Eagle (2009) Rex of Exxon [online] Available at: < www.theeagleonline.com/www-rex-of-exxon-com/>[Accessed 25th March, 2013]

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how ready are you to lead others?

At this stage in your studies of business and leadership, what is your vision of leadership? And how ready are you to lead others?


At this stage in my studies of business and leadership, I feel I still have a world of knowledge to learn but I have definitely set a solid foundation from where I can continue to build up my knowledge. The most important thing I have learnt from this course is that organisational theories keep evolving and as a leader of a business it is important to keep up with the times. My studies have offered me invaluable foundations which I can build on but the studying and learning of new theories and practices never ends.


Partly this is what I believe will one day mean that I am capable of leading others as I have fully grasped the importance of being open minded and open to other ideas. Even if I am never able to attain the innovative skills of Steve Jobs I am now confident that I will at least be able to have the open mind and ears of Fabrizio Freda.


Leadership in my eyes has to be brilliant and inspiring as the ability to get employees to believe in your vision is key to the employees making it a reality. I also stand for highly ethical business practices and an ethical leadership style. I believe that as organisation’s inner business workings become more transparent this is something that will eventually be recognised and appreciated by the consumer also.


I would like to consider myself as an individual who is not egoistical enough to fall into the control-freak style of leadership and although possibly hesitant at first I would eventually have no problem of transferring power to others who can get the job done efficiently. I also believe it is vital for a leader to recognise their shortcomings and not be fooled in to a sense of ‘know it all’ arrogance, accepting that there are people out there that have better ideas than you can be a great bonus if you’re willing to work with them, and a big downfall if you fail to recognise their strengths. I also like the style of leadership that gets every last person in an organisation voicing their opinions and rewarded for their efforts. I recognise that there may be people with additional skills at various positions whose voices do not get heard. People at the bottom of the organisation, such as sellers, may know more about customer satisfaction than people working in offices who studied the theories at university. In this sense, I admire Richard Branson who de-centralised the decision making in his operations of Virgin trains and fully realised the untapped potential his company could harness, while at the same time increasing a sense of responsibility and job satisfaction amongst employees.


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evidence suggests that ethical leader behaviour can have important positive effects on both individual and organizational effectiveness

Debate the following statement, providing arguments for and against the point of view proposed by the authors. Discuss an organisational example from your your chosen sector of business to support this debate. What are your conclusions from this debate?

Ethical leadership, defining it as “the demonstration of normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and interpersonal relationships, and the promotion of such conduct to followers through two-way communication, reinforcement and decision-making”… [and] the evidence suggests that ethical leader behaviour can have important positive effects on both individual and organizational effectiveness (Rubin et al 2010: 216-17).


Ethics can be typically described as the moral values of either the individual or a community as a whole. Business ethics, as described by Mullins (2010), is where general codes of ethics and conduct are also maintained in the business activities. However ‘business ethics’ as a term is also used to describe the way management and higher positions in a company relate with their employees and colleagues. When speaking in terms of business ethics there is a great difference with real world ethics and a perfectly ethical person may be considered to be working without business ethics.  However, unethical people may also lack business ethics and lead to cases such as Enron, whereby the leadership was corrupt and ended up dragging the subordinates in to the corruption with them.


In order for ethical leadership to be properly understood it is important to grasp the differences between a moral person and a moral manager (Kalshoven, Den Hartog, & De Hoogh, 2011). A moral person is reflected by the personality of that person which ensures that they are trustworthy, fair etc. On the other side of this is the personality of the moral manager whose job it is to promote ethics in the work place by leading by example. A leader’s ethical behaviour can be categorised into fairness, power sharing and role clarification (Foster, 2000).


Fairness relates to how the manager entails trust and also how accountable and responsible they are for their actions.  The sharing of power relates to how fair a manager is in providing staff with the appropriate authority to take their own measures and to empower them by doing so. Kezar, (2000) describes role clarification as the responsibility of properly explaining each and every person’s role so as they know exactly what is expected of them.


Mitchell and Brown (2010) state, that due to the fact that ethical leaders have prominent roles they are often considered as role models. This is mainly due to their powerful and visible positions within the organisation. This allows leaders to capture the attention of their teams and followers and according to Mitchell and Brown (2010) also sets the organisation’s tone in terms of ethics and practice. Mahsud et al. (2010) states that ethical values are quite likely to encourage organisations’ leaders to adopt more relations oriented behaviours with their staff. This also goes to show how ethical leadership can actively improve the working culture within a business by building better working relationships. According to Brown et al. (2005), ethical leaders also emphasise how important two way communication is.  An ethical leader is often described by his eagerness not only to voice his own opinion but also to hear and consider the opinions of others. Brown et al. (2005) went on to describe the ethical leader as one that conveys to his subordinates true concern for their thoughts and problems.


In conclusion, it is easy to see why ethical leadership is given such emphasis as it is necessary in order to ensure that a large organisation develops and performs accordingly. It is often noted that ethics are driven from the top down. Furthermore, consumers are now more aware than ever of organisations’ ethical and social responsibility promises, due to an upsurge in consumer awareness in how large firms operate. This has led to ethical leadership now being detrimental to sales figures as well as the healthy operation of the firm overall.





Mullins, L., J. (2010) Management and Organisational Behaviour 9ed. Pearson Education Limited, Pitman imprint, England.

Brown, M. E., & Mitchell, M. S. (2010). Ethical and Unethical Leadership. Business Ethics Quarterly, 20(4), 583-616.


Kezar, A. (2000). Pluralistic leadership: Incorporating diverse voices. Journal of Higher Education, 722-743.


Mahsud, R., Yukl, G., & Prussia, G. (2010). Leader empathy, ethical leadership, and relations-oriented behaviors as antecedents of leader-member exchange quality. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 25(6), 561-577.


Brown, L. R., Gray, R. H., Hughes, R. M., & Meador, M. R. (2005). Introduction to effects of urbanization on stream ecosystems. In American Fisheries Society Symposium (Vol. 47, pp. 1-8).


Kalshoven, K., Den Hartog, D. N., & De Hoogh, A. H. (2011). Ethical leadership at work questionnaire (ELW): Development and validation of a multidimensional measure. The Leadership Quarterly, 22(1), 51-69.


Foster, B. A. (2000). Barriers to servant leadership: Perceived organizational elements that impede servant leader effectiveness (Doctoral dissertation, Fielding Institute).







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Change is nothing new and a simple fact of life

Based on the JC Penny case study, debate the following statement, providing arguments for and against the point of view proposed by the author. What are your conclusions from this debate?

Change is nothing new and a simple fact of life. Some people actively thrive on new challenges and constant change, while others prefer the comfort of the status quo and strongly resist any change. It is all down to the personality of the individual and there is little management can do about resistance to change (Mullins 2010: 753).


As in life itself, change is an inevitable force which some people try to resist and some people thrive on. In a smaller context it is the same sort of principles that governs change in organisations, and how resistant it is to change is heavily dependent on the personalities within the organisation itself. Mullins (2010) stated that change is a fact of life and people will either reject or embrace it, according to their own personality.


While the management of JC Penny was trying, at first, to change the organisational culture which was found to be out dated and rigid, they soon found out that change was not so easy to accomplish. Decades of corporate tradition were harder to root out and even changes meant to increase consumer satisfaction were found to be deeply tied into the strict and rigid culture of the organisation. Seemingly small changes, such as building emotional connections with customers meant radical changes in the organisation’s cultural web.

When changes happen to the cultural web of an organisation many employees find that they are unable to handle the changes. Lewin summarized the process of change in 3 separate phases, Unfreeze-Move-Refreeze (Burnes, 2004).


In JC Penney’s case the unfreeze phase occurred when the new director, Ullman, recognised that a new corporate culture was necessary to replace the out dated traditional and rigid culture the firm had built up over the decades (Purhayastha, 2007). He immediately started talking to various individuals within the firm and also set out to share ideas with other firms that had successfully undergone change (Purhayastha, 2007).


Ullman then set out to the ‘moving’ phase as described by Lewin by implementing small but noticeable changes. Campaigns aimed at making business relations in the office more casual included poster campaigns, a more liberal dress code and even security cards that granted them less restricted access around the firm’s facilities. However, even for relatively mild changes, such as dropping the formality of addressing colleagues, Ullman found that there was still some resistance by members of staff too accustomed to the traditional ways of working (Purhayastha, 2007).

Finally, the refreezing stage as identified by Lewin can be said to be the introduction of the ‘Winning Together Principles’ which serves to establish stability within the organisation after the changes have been passed.


Rhodes and Palus (2009) stated that change in organisations is facilitated by a change in mind sets and not just by a change in skills. De Vita (cited in Mullins 2010) also argues that if change is to be successfully implemented there should be a continuous virtuous cycle between the engaged company, its conditions of engagement, and the engaged employee. Rhodes and Palus (2009) also stated that in times of change, slowing down and learning allows you to ‘power up’ in the future and will also allow employees to get on board with any changes about to take place.


The JC Penney case goes far in proving that resistance to change is found in people in society as a whole and thus would be impossible to avoid such resistance in organisations and the business environment. It could be argued that managers could take a number of actions to prepare staff for change and even to try and promote change as a positive thing, but they will always find some form of resistance as it is endemic to certain types of people.


Burnes, B. (2004). Kurt Lewin and the Planned Approach to Change: A Re‐appraisal. Journal of Management studies, 41(6), 977-1002.


Mullins, L. J. (2010) Management and Organisational Behaviour.


Purhayastha, D. (2007) Remaking JC Penney’s Organizational Culture. ICMR Centre for Management Research

McGuire, J., Palus, C., Pasmore, W., and Rhodes, B., G. (2009) Global Organisational Development: White Paper Series [online] Available at: < http://www.ccl.org/leadership/pdf/solutions/TYO.pdf> [Accessed 27 March, 2013]






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The ability to bring together people from different backgrounds, disciplines, cultures, and generations and leverage all they have to offer, therefore, is a must-have for leaders

Debate the following statement, providing arguments for and against

Research has consistently shown that diverse teams produce better results, provided they are well led. The ability to bring together people from different backgrounds, disciplines, cultures, and generations and leverage all they have to offer, therefore, is a must-have for leaders (Ibarra and Hansen, 2011: 71).


Leadership has been defined as “the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives.” (Yukl, 2010)


Ibarra and Hansen (2011) seem to be confident in stating that diverse teams of people, assuming they are well-led in terms of management, perform better than more homogeneous types of people. Furthermore, it has been hinted that part of the reason NOKIA had not managed to sense the smart-phone threat coming out of silicon valley was exactly this; a lack of differentiation amongst the people in senior management (Ibarra & Hansen, 2011).


Iberra and Hansen (2011) argue that social media networks now give managers a greater than ever chance to connect the firm from the board to the lowest level employees. Harnessing opinions and suggestions from all levels of the firm could provide vital information to the management to make their operations more efficient.  It has also been stated that a wider array of perspectives leads to an increase in creativity and that the appropriate utilisation of a workforces’ diversity will increase available talent for filling crucial job vacancies (Yukl, 2010). In order to benefit from a diversified team however efficient and talented management is essential in order to provide motivation and supervision.


On the other side of this argument Mannix and Neale (2005) imply that diversity could create social division and friction within a team which in turn could reduce its performance.  Leaders must have traits which not only motivate the team to work efficiently but must also be willing to change themselves. ‘Control Freaks’ as identified by Archer and Cameron (2010) must be ready to relinquish some of their authority or risk putting stress on the workings of the whole group. Personal traits and differences must be effectively managed by the leader in order to reduce the amount of negative friction and in order to ensure that it does not begin to affect performance. Archer and Cameron (2010) further argue that if frictions between team members causes stress this in turn could lead to job dissatisfaction and could reduce team productivity. Critics also argue that collaborative leadership may also slow down the decision making process leading to further inefficiency. Ibarra and Hansen (2011) themselves acknowledged that if people tried to collaborate on everything they would end up in endless meetings and debates in order to gain consensus.


In conclusion, it is easy to see why Ibarra and Hansen (2011) are eager to signify the importance of having a team diverse in terms of age, ethnicity, background and education as they all have something to offer. Diverse teams can offer important different views and opinions which can help management gain new insight in how a firm should operate and how consumers may perceive things differently. Having a homogeneous team may thrive on the cultivation of homogeneous ideas and opinions and this can be costly to a firm, as in the case of Nokia. Arguments and friction caused by differences in the employees could be harnessed by skilful management and be made the base for constructive conversations. However, collaborative leadership could face some difficulties and is hard for even skilled and experienced management to execute correctly. Harnessing the knowledge and useful opinions from people of different backgrounds, age, ethnicity and education levels is key for a firm wishing to increase efficiency, but a hard task for management to attain. Furthermore, each firm is structured in a very different way and what may be correct for one organisation may not be so for the other. Firms should take all this information into account and evaluate their own organisation in order to find a style of leadership tailor made to their own strategic needs.





Archer, D. and Cameron, A. (2010) Collaborative leadership — lessons from failure. Developing HR Strategy. [online] Available at: < http://www.socia.co.uk/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/learning%20from%20collaborative%20failure.pdf>  [Accessed 10 March, 2013]

Ibarra, H., & Hansen, M. T. (2011). Are you a collaborative leader?. Harvard Business Review, 89(7/8), 68-74.

Mannix, E., & Neale, M. A. (2005). What differences make a difference? The promise and reality of diverse teams in organizations. Psychological science in the public interest, 6(2), 31-55.

Yukl,G.,(2010) Leadership in Organisations, 7th edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education


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