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Richard Branson: CEO of Virgin Group Sir Richard Branson is a self-made billionaire with more than 200 companies, who does not fit the mould of a CEO...

what leadership style do you feel is exhibited by terry gou? define and discuss the characteristics of the style and cite specific examples from the case to support your argument

Richard Branson: CEO of Virgin Group Sir Richard Branson is a self-made billionaire with more than 200 companies, who does not Ft the mould of a CEO in a dark suit with convenTonal behaviour and appearance. He is as likely to be seen kite surFng the English Channel, absailing down a tall building in India for the launch of Virgin Mobile, dressed as Che Guevara when turning up at a press conference, or wearing bu±er²y wings whilst running the London marathon as he is in a board room. His business and life vision has been broad and adventurous, and under his guidance has developed a diverse empire of Virgin companies including airlines, telecommunicaTons, a record label, credit card lending and a hotel chain. Branson’s more recent Virgin GalacTc venture has had some setbacks, but he maintains his vision and sets the example to his employees that we all can dare to dream and make these dreams happen. Branson is o³en studied in the business world for the keys to his success, part of which appear to be his management style and decisions he makes. He is known to take risks, but calculated risks. ´or example, a li±le known fact is that his Frst company, Virgin Records, was founded in 1972 as a very small bouTque label, with not a lot of money behind them. µhe Frst arTst he signed was an unknown progressive rock musician, Mike OldFeld, who produced an album of a single piece of music with no lyrics. No ‘single’, zero ‘hit’ potenTal it seemed. It was a huge gamble. However, the album was Tubular Bells , and went on to be one of the highest selling albums of all Tme, selling 17 million copies. It was the foundaTon of the Virgin Empire and Branson’s success. Likewise he took another huge risk in 1976 when he signed a totally new type of music act, the Sex Pistols , who re-wrote musical history and heralded in the start of the punk movement. µhese risks clearly both paid o¶. He is deFnitely highly passionate about business ventures and believes in the importance of fun which he brings to the workplace. He was quoted as saying, “Some 80% of your life is spent working. You want to have fun at home; why shouldn’t you have fun at work?” Branson values removing barriers in the corporate hierarchy and sharing ideas and social events with his workers. Listening to others is important to Branson, parTcularly his employees, as is allowing them to keep moTvated through applying their skills in areas and new projects he is not as good at. Branson argues that delegaTng to others helps workers develop, whilst creaTng the opportunity for him to have more leisure Tme with his family and to be freed up for more strategic business development. Branson encourages his employees to think and make their own decisions rather than telling them, jusTfying this approach by saying they are paid to think and self-lead, not to follow. Branson is o³en involved personally in selecTng sta¶ to ensure the right Ft for the Virgin culture, as workers need to operate in a rapidly changing environment, need to make decisions and need to be empowered to act. Branson acknowledges however that the leader’s challenge is to know when to step back and to know when to intervene. Branson’s 1
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philosophy is that being people focussed is the key to business success, and that managers who have a people focus will achieve beTer outcomes. Branson has a ‘non-policy’ on holidays for staF in that they can take holidays when they want them which, he believes, will ul±mately increase produc±vity. Branson’s approach also includes respect for employees by giving them support and some±mes stepping back and delega±ng. Branson operates from the premise that if employees leave it will be because they do not feel valued and because their work does not give them a feeling of sa±sfac±on, not because they do not receive enough money. A classic Branson quote that sums up his a²tude is “Customers do not come frst. Employees come frst. IF you take care oF the employees, they will take care oF the customers” Terry Gou: Owner of Foxconn Factories Apple is one of the richest companies in the world. ³his is in part due to the e´ciency strategies it u±lises in choosing companies in its global manufacturing. ³erry Gou operates Hon Hai Precision, the world’s largest contract manufacturer. Employing more than 820,000 workers, it is a major supplier to Apple, Sony, HP and Nokia. ³he factory is best known as ‘µoxconn’. Unlike the previous example of Virgin employees, where the words ‘happy’ and ‘empowered’ and ‘fun’ underpin the culture, employees at µoxconn’s Chinese factories have some±mes been required to do 24 hour shi¶s, or woken up at 4am to meet an urgent order from Apple. Even though there are a range of worker bene·ts, such as swimming pools the pressure is constant to work harder in the quest for ever-increasing e´ciency and produc±vity, o¶en in an environment that is highly physically, as well as mentally, toxic and stressful, with dangerous chemicals and ‘forced’ over±me. Management prac±ces at µoxconn are quite diFerent from those in many other countries, with the driving leadership goal being to make an ever increasing pro·t with higher worker output. In one of the Apple manufacturing plants in Chengdu there are even banners that remind the worker that they need to work hard today or else they will need to work hard tomorrow to ·nd a new job. ³here have been at least 11 suicides and further suicide threats being made due to harsh working condi±ons and worker treatment. Gou’s response to the suicides however did not involve changing condi±ons for the workers, but instead focussed on erec±ng suicide nets in some factories to stop jumpers. ³here was, however, some counselling and a pay increase, but not a change in nature of the work, working condi±ons or hours of work. In many countries such working condi±ons would not be tolerated and could be considered unethical. However in countries where manufacturing is outsourced there can o¶en be diFerent management prac±ces and treatment of workers. ³he challenge facing ³erry Gou is that Apple chooses his company to manufacture for them, not just for price but also for fast delivery ±me. ³he ¸ow-on impact for employees is a relentless driving for more produc±on, 2
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Leadership Styles in Organizations (2).docx

Running head: LEADERSHIP STYLES IN ORGANIZATIONS Leadership Styles in Organizations
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Institution 1 LEADERSHIP STYLES IN ORGANIZATIONS 2 Solution 1
Richard Branson exhibits Laissez...

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