Gandhi and Berlusconi. Analysis and evaluation of leadership


Projektarbeit, 2014

13 Seiten


Leseprobe

CONTENT

Introduction

Analysis and evaluation of Leader #1 - Gandhi
Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi
Charismatic Leadership
Authentic Leadership

Analysis and evaluation of Leader #2 - Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Toxic Leadership
Followers Perception of Leadership

Comparison of the Leaders
Cultural Aspects of Leadership

Summary of Significant Findings and Perspectives from Journal Entries
Introverted vs. Extroverted Leaders
Technology and Leadership
Start-Up Business and Leadership

Analysis and Evaluation of Journal Entries to Chosen Leaders
Jack Welch
Richard Branson

Conclusion

References

Journal Entries (appendix)

Introduction

This final project of the business leadership module aims at applying the modules major content to real life examples. Therefore the person of Gandhi and Silvio Berlusconi are analyzed in regards to their leadership. Further some personal findings may set special challenges toward leaders. Finally two public leaders and their presentation in academic literature are discussed. In addition this project is accompanied by a personal journal, written during the module.

Analysis and evaluation of Leader #1 - Gandhi

Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

Mohandas Gandhi, who later on became the byname Mahatma which stands for 'great soul', was born in 1869 in the Region of Gujarat in India. He was raised as a Hindu, which made him a vegetarian and taught him the principle of not injuring any living being (Munshi, 2010, p. 41). He went to university in England were he get in touch with the Western culture and learned about the Bible (Munshi, 2010, p. 41). After his return to India, he found no employment and thus took an offer from South Africa where he experienced racial prejudice since he was no white man. He stayed in Africa for 20 years and became a public figure due to his activism against racism (Munshi, 2010, p. 41). During his time in South Africa Gandhi developed his personal form of public resistance which he called ‘satyagraha’ which means truth-forth (Munshi, 2010, p. 41) and represents nonviolent resistance (Carter, 1995, p. 1). ccording to Carter (1995, p. 1) Gandhi’s uniqueness lies in his ‘ability to combine his moral appeal with shrewd political leadership’. Shafiulla (2012) describes Gandhi as living a simple life and being a strong advocate for the truth with his quest to reach freedom for India (but women’s rights, poverty, religion of which his concern as well). The life and action of Gandhi influenced generations of people in various movement as thus he can be considered as a role model.

Charismatic Leadership

The model of charismatic leadership is often considered as belonging to the transformational approach towards leadership (Northouse, 2013, p. 187). The transformational leader aims at inspiring and motivating others to reach improvement and further develop (Northouse, 2013, p. 186). Although there is a difference between the transformational and the charismatic leader, since it is considered the charismatic leader aims at reaching personal goals and transforming, others may be a side effect only (unknown(b), n.d.).

Historically, charisma was used to describe people containing special gifts and have the capacity to do extraordinary things and thus influence others (Northouse, 2013, p. 187). As described by Northouse (2013, p. 188) the charismatic leader possess strong moral values and a desire to influence others. Usually, such behavior is perceived as a role model for followers. Further, Bligh & Robinson (2010, p. 844) refer to a gap in research since charismatic leadership is mainly analyzed by U.S. presidents and business leaders.

Looking at Gandhi, he can be considered as a transformational leader, since he challenged people to rethink dramatically and follow his vision of morality and social change (Munshi, 2010, p. 43). Furthermore, Northouse (2013, p. 186) cites Burns, who names Gandhi as the classic example of a transformational leader due to the movement of millions of people he triggered.

Though Gandhi might not be considered as a charismatic leader at the same time since, he was ‘an extremely shy person who lacked public speaking skills and whose speeches were frequently described as failures’ (Bligh & Robinson, 2010, p. 845). ccording to Bligh & Robinson (2010, p. 853) Gandhi should be considered as a charismatic leader for two reasons. First, follower’s perception and situation (such as culture) play a role in the perception of charisma and second, the content of leader’s message is a key component regarding charismatic perception. In this regard also the original description by House names the ‘profound and unusual effect on followers’ as characteristic for charismatic leaders (Yukl, 1993).

Authentic Leadership

Looking at the overview on authentic leadership presented by Northouse basically, three perspectives regarding authenticity are discussed in research. Intrapersonal (what the leaders does and his self-concepts), Interpersonal (the interaction of leaders and followers), and developmental (the leader can be developed over time to become authentic) (Northouse, 2013, p. 254). Overall authentic leadership has a string moral dimension, integrity and aims at being trustworthy. This refers in the first place to the leader himself, being self-aware of one own doings, living own values, expressing passion and being consistent in one's actions is considered as authentic across cultures (Walumbwa, et al., 2008).

Considering the previously stated, the authenticity of Gandhi is expressed by his aiming at reforming the Indian society form the basis rather than going the way of taking government posts and changing from above. He worked in Indian slums where he supported the poorest while he could have stayed in an easy upper class living (Munshi, 2010, p. 42). By living his values and being a role model, he underlines his authenticity. In Gandhi’s words: ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world.’ Further according to Edberg (2010) Gandhi stood up for the alignment of words and actions with thoughts and beliefs. Only then one is truly authentic and congruent which he considered as important to be yourself.

Transfer this knowledge to the business context, Northouse (2013, p. 253) and (Walumbwa, et al., 2008) underline the evolved importance of authenticity in leadership mainly because of the many corporate scandals such as Enron or WorldCom. It is considered by Walumbwa, et al. (2008) that authentic leadership supports ‘restoring confidence in all levels of leadership’.

Analysis and evaluation of Leader #2 - Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi, born in late 1939 into Milan’s middle class, after making a name of himself as singer, songwriter and later as an entrepreneur forming his media empire (unknown(a), n.d.). His business practices are still under revision by state attorneys due to a complex system of holding companies keeping funding sources unclear (unknown(a), n.d.). Later he managed to become Italian prime minister for three times. According to Forbes (2014), Berlusconi’s wealth is around $7.3 billion.

Toxic Leadership

The term toxic leadership refers to ‘individuals whose leadership generates a serious and enduring negative [͙΁ effect upon individuals [͙΁ exposed to their methods.’ (Heppell, 2011, p. 243). One of the names popping up regularly in this regard is the former Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. That is, besides others, due to his influenced made on jurisdiction in order to change laws in his favor. Toxic leadership involves leader’s lack of integrity, being arrogant / possessing and ego that self-reflection and awareness of own mistakes is impossible, and a being reckless while not considering the impact of their own behavior on others (Heppell, 2011, p. 245). Lipman-Blumen (2011) herself listed behaviors as toxic such as misleading followers by telling untruth, supporting polarization between followers and opponents, and engaging in unethical, illegal, and criminal acts.

Silvio Berlusconi who was a business man and billionaire (a media tycoon in particular) became a politician thus his tremendous wealth created potential conflicts of interest. When owning the general Italian press and TV and campaigning for the presidential elections at the same time can be considered as controversial (unknown(a), n.d.). Further rumors exist, that his empire was built with support of the organized crime in Italy and bounds still exist today, he finally was convicted for tax evasion (unknown(e), 2013). In particular the private lifestyle of Silvio Berlusconi (I am referring to his bunga bunga parties) underlines the questionable ethics and moral standards he stands for (changing laws in his favor).

While it is argued by Heppell (2011) that the concept of toxic leader ship is not exactly identical for business and political leaders in terms of its manifestation, the behavior and characteristics of leaders are similar. According to the analysis of Allum (2011) based on the Lipman-Blumen model of toxic, Berlusconi is considered to have a toxic touch.

Followers Perception of Leadership

Allum (2011) attests Berlusconi being charming and a showman. These characteristics allowed him to shape and build dreams for his followers, since they were perceived him as a stable component in an instable time (Allum, 2011). Finally one should not neglect the influence the media campaigns in favor of Berlusconi supported his influence on his followers. Thus Berlusconi managed to be positively perceived by his followers by polarizing on topics.

On the other hand Gandhi was perceived as very convincing, due to his shy and decent personality. Here the adjective of authentic best describes his perception by followers. Joining the poorest in support, treating people equally and openly stand up for his own values marks his authenticity. Especially the interpersonal perspective of authentic leadership could explain the strong bond to Gandhi’s followers.

Comparison of the Leaders

While Gandhi at the first glance would not have been considered as a charismatic leader it is figured out, that considering cultural aspects he was charismatic and at the same time unquestionable transformational for his followers. Not only that he chose the path to lead the example, he acted in an authentic way giving followers (and opponents at the same time) the impression to act because of his own conviction to do the right thing instead of the wish to be a person of global interest.

Berlusconi on the other hand who is perceived as charismatic by a huge portion of his followers, cannot be considered transformational, since his personal target aimed basically at achieving personal goals.

Cultural Aspects of Leadership

Analyzing how cultural surroundings effect leadership perception and how it affects followers. In this context, cultural clusters based on the GLOBE project and the concept of cultural dimensions presented by Geert Hofstede is considered.

Technological progress and the involved movement of globalization stresses the need to understand cultural differences in regards to leadership, since same leader behaviors and styles are perceived differently across cultures. For example while in Anglo and Western cultures an open criticism is considered as constructive at the same time in Confucian culture this equals a loss of face. Thus Northouse (2013, pp. 383-384) highlights the need of cross-cultural awareness for today’s leaders. The concept of cultural dimensions, developed by Geert Hofstede in the 1980s, identified 5 dimensions where cultures differentiate. These dimensions are power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism-collectivism, masculinity-femininity, and long-term-short-term orientation (Hofstede, 1983).

The GLOBE project extents the work of Hofstede by enlarged dimensions and is backed up with more research data (Northouse, 2013, p. 387). The major outcome of the GLOBE project is a ‘Cluster of World Cultures’ combining cultural similarities within groups and thus allowing comparisons and advices for how to address the respective clusters.

Especially the case of Gandhi reveals the difference of how different cultures perceive leaders. The Southern sian cluster of the GLOBE research reveals the highest scores on the ‘humane orientation’. This dimension stands for how important it is for people to being fair, caring for others, and altruistic (Northouse, 2013, p. 389).

When looking at Berlusconi’s relationship to followers, llum (2011) underlines the importance of considering ‘the wider social, political and economic context from which he emerged.’ It seems plausible to assume without economic and socially instabilities in Italy Berlusconi would not have become prime minister 3 times. Again the GLOBE project and the Latin Europe leadership profile support this view by revealing the importance of charisma and the strong tendency towards selfprotective leadership (Northouse, 2013, pp. 397-398).

Summary of Significant Findings and Perspectives from Journal Entries

Introverted vs. Extroverted Leaders

Inspired by the speech of Susan Cain arguing for a wider acceptance of introverts in business life the topic of introverts in leadership raised my interest. Cain (2012) suggests that being an introvert has nothing to do with being afraid, shy or idealess rather introverts need time for themselves for truly evaluating thoughts before they speak them out. In this regard research by Stadler & Dyer (2013) reveals how non-charismatic leaders quietly outperform their charismatic CEO colleagues in the long run. The ability to listen to others, studying others experiences, and developing own thoughts seem to be more successful in the long-run.

In this regard a personal example from a former leader of mine shall be shared. As a real introvert she used to listen carefully to other and had the ability to take up team moods and conflicts very soon. Also being introverted she always addressed misunderstanding and conflict before they caused team spirit to suffer. When she changed positions and a more extroverted successor took over, he had the impression to know how things are going and only results counted. It did not take long before the first conflicts lead to significant loss in performance.

Technology and Leadership

The global workplace requires people to work not across cultures only but also across many miles. So people are not always able to sit in the same room when discussing development plans, project progress or forming a new project team. In this regard the speech of Stanley McCrystal (2011), an Armey general addresses the issue of building trust and loyalty via non-personal communication channels in times of crisis. According to his experience consistency and reliability are major factors to build trust and form a functioning team.

This is something I experienced on my own as well. With a manager located on another continent interaction basically by E-Mail and telephone made it complicated to trust each other. Lack of personal interaction and the absence of body language do not allow communicating on all levels. The leader follower relationship thus is reduced to an exchange of job related information basically. When further considering this harsh line, becoming a leader based on position power (Northouse, 2013, p. 10) becomes a complicated task. Since being a role model is reduced by the personal and social component.

Start-Up Business and Leadership

As the star-up phase of a business is a special time it requires founders and / or leaders of the star-up to address this right towards their employees. According to Criaco, et al. (2014) human capital is beside the founder the basic and most important resource of a start-up business. As thus employees need to be treated effectively in order to serve the business and ensure survival. Peterson, et al. (2009, p. 349) argue that transformational leadership can have positive effects of in start-up business when the leader is hopeful and optimistic. This perspective of the future can transferred on employees and thus increases firm’s performance.

Following this thoughts a leader in a start-up business should be able to inspire his followers towards a positive future development and employees need to be convinced to be in the right place. My experience in start-up businesses supports this viewpoint and I agree to the positive effects of optimism. At the same time a serious problem I experienced is the tendency of founders to micro- manage teams and tasks. Considering the situational approach to leadership a directive leadership leads to positive outcomes only when employee development level is low (Northouse, 2013, p. 100).

Analysis and Evaluation of Journal Entries to Chosen Leaders

Jack Welch

The introduction by Amernic, et al. (2007) underlines the importance of Jack Welch for the business world. According to various sources he is considered as the best CEO and seen as the role model for 21st century corporations. Further his legacy triggered enormous expectations towards what CEOs should be able to do (Amernic, et al., 2007).

In an interview given after 9/11 and the economic downturn followed the DotCom Bubble, Jack Welch underlines the need of the leader to communicate with his followers, especially in times of trouble (Torrance, 2004). Further Welch said ‘Businesses should be feeling the fruits of winning both in the wallet and in the soul.’ (Torrance, 2004). In this regard the analysis of Thompson (2004) argues that Welch is not consistent in his message since his ethics stand behind the willing for success in economic terms. His analysis portraits a picture of a leadership style where only performance counts and those not willing or able to do so are out. Also Amernic, et al. (2007) describe him as ‘take-no- prisoners tough guy who gets results at any cost’. Finally, the analysis of Amernic, et al. (2007) attest Welch a highly directive communication style paired with a tendency to form a vision of the future which is formed by certainty and success.

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Details

Titel
Gandhi and Berlusconi. Analysis and evaluation of leadership
Hochschule
The University of Liverpool
Autor
Jahr
2014
Seiten
13
Katalognummer
V321391
ISBN (eBook)
9783668214460
ISBN (Buch)
9783668214477
Dateigröße
1442 KB
Sprache
Deutsch
Schlagworte
Charismatic Leadership, toxic leadership, gandhi, berlusconi
Arbeit zitieren
Benedikt Rudnik (Autor), 2014, Gandhi and Berlusconi. Analysis and evaluation of leadership, München, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/321391

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