As a leader, it is possible to point out the virtues of Fiorina. Fiorina came with a realistic approach as she did anticipate resistance. In the beginning, it is possible to showcase the commitment of Fiorina through her long working hours. Her listening skills were exceptional which allowed her to understand the business environment.
Fiorina leadership style was ineffective and made her a bad leader at HP. It is evident that she did not apply the developmental leadership program and its components. The appointment of Cara Fiorina as the Chief Executive Officer at Hewlett Packard (HP) was met with excitement as it defied conformity in the industry. It is possible to point some limitations in the leadership style used by Fiorina.
Sense-making. Sense-making leadership was one of the techniques not used by Fiorina. The methodology revolves around the development of a comprehensive strategy to gain access to the unknown territory in commerce. As evidenced in the case study, Fiorina did not exercise sense making leadership. Her aspiration of growth in the company was characterized by a dramatic change in the company such as the utilization of e-commerce and a change in the management structure and system. However, the techniques did not provide a solution in addressing the unknown difficulties in future (Ancona). In the company, she acknowledged that resistance was expected in the company.
However, she took a defensive approach in addressing the challenge. The strategy led to fear among employees. Rules and regulations were followed by compliance rather than the support for Fiorina. As depicted in the case study, she was too busy to interact with her employees. Interaction is an essential aspect of leadership which allows the creation of a sense of belonging. Fiorina’s management strategy involved the increase of salaries paid out to. Livermore to remain in the company. This is a myopic approach since the growth and development of a company require individuals who believe in the aspirations of the firm.
Relating. Relational leadership was another limitation of Fiorina. As the CEO of the company, Fiorina recognized that the decentralized system of management inhibited direct control in the company. This line of thought showcases that Fiorina was more interested in asserting her dominance rather than improving productivity and safeguarding the welfare of the company. It is from this perspective that the aspiration by Fiorina was incorrect as it did not promote accountability. The focus of a results-oriented approach to manage the company and increase profitability disallowed Fiorina to appreciate the human dynamics in business (Reitz 517). Fiorina participated in unethical leadership. Her decision to increase the salary for Livermore can be viewed as a form of bribery. From a different perspective, the move by Fiorina undermined equality in the company. Other employees felt that their contribution was not valued. As a result, there was a lack of confidence in the organization (Blair 338). As a leader, Fiorina was ineffective as she had unrealistic expectations for the company. The lack of situational awareness can explain this phenomenon. Situational awareness is a concept which describes that an individual has a perception of the ecological conditions (Kozuba 178). In business, the term refers to a situation in which the leader acknowledges the state of the company and sets realistic goals. The lack of situational awareness by Fiorina led to the disruption and collapse of HP. The autocratic system used made her unwilling to hear the sentiments of other people. Often, the strategy led to poor decisions in the company. From a critical point of view, it is possible to showcase the destruction of business culture as a factor contributing to the failure of Fiorina as a leader. Business culture encompasses mentality, perception, and attitudes of employees in the firm (Halsall 18). Business culture affects productivity in a company. The lack of consideration of business culture disrupted operations. Moreover, the young age of Fiorina made her unable to understand the correlation between business culture and performance. As shown in the case study, Fiorina was sometimes referred to as Queen Carly. This was as a result of the lavish lifestyle characterized by first class flights, salary bonuses, and holiday vacation. However, she failed to correlate the two instances. As depicted in the case study, the employees did not have a say in the company. From the incidents, it is possible to outline the relevance of communication in an organization. By creating a transparent communication path, it is possible for a smooth flow of information. The development of a democratic system allows employees to influence the proceedings of a business. This translates to a situation in which the strategy is acceptable to all stakeholders and can be used to promote growth (Bowman 24).
Visioning. Visionary leadership was an exceptional quality that Fiorina did not possess. The CEO came into HP with the objective of growing the corporation. Her initial focus was to use innovation as a developing element to the company. However, her approach changed, and she abandoned innovation. The acquisition of Compaq showcases the lack of visionary leadership in Fiorina. The lack of visionary leadership made it impossible for Fiorina to align business practices and processes to contribute to the attainment of long-term goals (Elahi 6). Leadership is the art of guiding others towards a common goal. It requires the actions of an individual to act as a point of reference for other stakeholders in the business. At HP, Fiorina had poor leadership traits. Her hefty salary and her indulgence in leisure activities set out a poor precedent for employees. Therefore, Fiorina was challenged by criticism (Puplampu 630).
Inventive. Inventive leadership is the practice of formulating new plans and strategies to be used for the growth of a company. Fiorina did not exercise innovative leadership during her time at HP. Her emphasis on a centralized management system and the acquisition of failing companies depicts the lack of creative leadership from Fiorina (Rees 25). In management, there are adaptive issues. In HP, the announcement of Fiorina as the new CEO led to transitional challenges. Stakeholders in the company did not know what to expect. Often, transitional problems take up an activist approach. In this stage, the focus is on eliminating the change (Ewing 109). From a critical point of view, Fiorina did not appropriately address the challenges in the company. She did not provide a smooth transition for employees who had been accustomed to conventional methods. From a managerial perspective, Fiorina was viewed as a young leader who did appreciate the current business dynamics of HP. On the other hand, employees perceived Fiorina as an outcast who wanted to destroy the culture of the company. Also, Fiorina’s salaries bonuses created resentment among employees (Kuzhda 52). Invention is a critical aspect which promotes business growth and development. Fiorina failed as a leader as she was not able to redefine the company. The inability to capitalize on tacit knowledge was a factor that led to her collapse as a leader. Tacit knowledge is information and skills that are hard to transmit in written or oral format. Often, tacit knowledge is gained from observation or experience. The lack of tacit knowledge by Fiorina meant that she could not appreciate aspects such as business philosophy (Refaiy 3). The nature of tacit knowledge makes it challenging to be transferred. It is in this context that socialization becomes a useful tool where individuals can talk of their experiences. However, Fiorina did not participate in socialization activities at HP which inhibited her acquisition of tacit knowledge.
Engagement. Engagement is a vital leadership practice. The objective is to support active participation in the company. Through engagement, leaders and employees are aware of the dynamics of the corporation. At HP, it is evident that cognitive engagement was an inadequacy. Cognitive engagement allows stakeholders to reflect on the current situation of the company (What is Cognitive Engagement). This approach enables the formulation of realistic problem-solving ideas. Cognitive engagement is a concept challenged by some hindrances. Inaccurate role assignment inhibits the effectiveness of cognitive engagement as employees become disoriented. Micromanagement is another challenge to the idea. It is a common occurrence for leaders to limit the freedom of employees. This affects critical thinking and problem-solving. From a critical point of view, it is evident that Fiorina did not engage in cognitive engagement. She did not present an opportunity to employees for deliberation and the development of realistic solutions.
Creative tension is an environment which supports a positive reception to change in addition to facilitating creativity. At HP, creative tension is a missing element in Fiorina. In her ambition, she emphasizes innovation and profitability. However, her approach fails to acknowledge the change process which is the building block for innovation. By adhering to the creative tension concept, it would be possible to alter business culture to be more receptive to change (Isaksen 84).
Positive deviance is an ideology that some different practices contribute to improved strategies. The appointment of Fiorina as the CEO of HP started with a promising year. However, as time progressed, the CEO engaged in the typical business strategies of layoffs and mergers. The technique shows the lack of positive deviance which could have been used by Fiorina to create better solutions at HP (Bullen 1358).
Ambidexterity. In business, ambidexterity refers to a situation where a company has effective leadership while still being well adapted to the dynamics of tomorrow. In this line of thought, contextual ambidexterity capitalizes on the shift of social culture to guarantee the success of the corporation in various scenarios. It is evident that Fiorina did not execute contextual ambidexterity which led to the inability of the company to adapt to change (Brun 1650013). Under the ambidexterity concept, a balance should be achieved in the management process. In the case of Fiorina, exploitation and exploration should have been done simultaneously. Exploitation is the practice of capitalizing on an identified strength. In HP, the company had a well-known brand image. This could have been used to enhance marketing practices. On the other hand, exploration involves the assessment of the industry to determine the market niche. It is from this niche that the innovative practices of the company could be aligned. By applying contextual ambidexterity, it would be possible for HP to have an ideal business structure to prosper. Likewise, contextual ambidexterity would support the inventive concept hence improving market share.
As explained in the investigation, resistance is a factor which disrupts leadership. A leader should be mentally prepared for resistance in the organization. In addressing resistance, leaders should focus on the business culture. The modification of business culture will ensure a receptive response to the change process. From a different perspective, elements such as positive deviance and contextual ambidexterity should be practiced. In conclusion, the research has been informative as it depicts the essential attributes which will guarantee successful leadership in an organization.
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