Leadership is defined as influence; that is, the art or process of influencing people so that they will strive
willingly and enthusiastically toward the achievement of group goals. Leaders envision the future; they
inspire organization members and chart of the organization. Leaders must instill values - whether they be
concern for quality, honesty, and calculated risk taking or concern for employees and customers. There isn't
a common definition of leadership, perhaps this is because the concept of the leadership is fuzzy and many
of them are complicated.
Sommer (2003), defines it as "Leadership is about showing the way, by going in
advance, and influencing the behaviour of others. It refers to introducing new business behaviour, practices,
or technologies, which demonstrate that sustainable development is possible".
Avery (2004) States that
"The success of new leadership approaches will depend on aligning people, organizational systems,
processes and culture with the new conditions".
This may require changes in the leadership paradigms
predominating in an organization.
In this paper, the writer will conduct a critical evaluation of the leadership challenges facing BMW Group
in the areas of leadership paradigms, leadership development, role of the major shareholders (the Quandt
family), leaders' expectations from the workforce and how the organization attracts and retain its
The author will critique the BMW organization with its competitor Ford Motor Company.
Leadership Challenges facing BMW Group
Avery (2004), states that the classical leadership is based on the leader's position and the power of control
of followers which indicates the centralisation of the leadership.
This can be evidence in the BMW former
CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder's classical leadership between 1993 and 1999, especially when he played a key
role in supporting British Rover's Longbridge plant in Birmingham when others in BMW were pushing for
its closure after creating heavy losses for BMW (anon, 1999).
Some analysts concluded that he was good
at selling and weak on strategic decision (Lynn, 2003).
BMW's workforce divisions were based on
classical leadership (Avery, 2004).
Kantabutra and Avery (2004) argue, "while often discussed as visionary or transformational leadership
associated with a particular leader, more recently, a concept of organic leadership centred around a vision
instilled in an organization's culture has emerged".
They state that the "visionary leaders are whom develop
strategies and plans to achieve their visions, communicate their visions to promote changes, align people
and supporting systems to suit their visions, empower their people to act consistently with the new vision
and to help sustain their commitment to it and motivate their followers"
(Kantabutra and Avery, 2004).
This can be evident in the BMW organisation, where the leadership paradigms are distributed in various