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TOP INDUSTRIAL LEADERS case study solution (Code: c43)

TOP INDUSTRIAL LEADERS case study solution
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In a search for effective leaders, 206 CEO respondents from Fortune 500 and Service 500 companies identified as the three top leaders Don Petersen at Ford, Lee Iacocca at Chrysler, and Jack Welch at General Electric. The overwhelming majority of those questioned felt that there is no industrial leadership crisis in the United States. On the otter hand, those holding another view pointed to the ineffectiveness of managers in competing in the global market ; the excessive focus on short-term results, often at the expense of long-term company health ; and the lack of investment in plants.

About two-thirds of the respondents thought that leadership can be taught, especially through job rotation, in-company training, and delegation of authority. But there was also the realisation that latent leadership qualities have to be the foundation for leadership.

Although not on the basis of the survey, Fortune identified certain factors for successful business leadership which are as follows :

  1. Trust in subordinates is the foundation for delegating authority. A manager gets things done through people.

  2. Leaders must provide a vision for the enterprise and inspire others to commit themselves to this vision.

  3. Leaders must take command in times of crisis. Even those who subscribe to participative management realise that at critical times they have to take charge.

  4. Taking risks is a part of business — not careless risks, but calculated ones. Probably those who have never failed (who played it safe) may not have managed well.

  5. Leaders need to be very competent in their fields and command the respect of employees.

  6. A top executive surrounded by "yes-sayers" will get an incorrect view of what is really going on within and outside the organisation. Thus, executives should invite dissenting views.

  7. Effective leaders see and understand the big picture. They sim­plify complex situations and problems so that they could be understood


    1. Who were the top leaders identifed in the survey ? Why do you think they have teen effective ?

    2. What were the leadership characteristics identified by Fortune? How far do you agree with the seven statements about the characteristics ?

    3. Do you think that leadership skills can be taught ? Give arguments in support of your answer. (


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