The paper "Richard Branson as a Global Leader" is a good example of a management case study. Globalization is a force that is changing many facets of life. According to Ireland and Hitt (1999), globalization is inevitable, and any organization that does not change to adapt to the force will perish. Globalization is so dominant in today’ s society that a closer look at your local store will reveal numerous commodities that are manufactured overseas. For organizations that operate in the global marketplace, they have to deal with a number of contemporary challenges arising from globalization.
The previous generation of organizational leaders strived to ensure stability in their organizations. As organizational goal stability was informed by a closed and underdeveloped market environment, where prices were not in flux. On contrast, globalization in the form of global capital inflows, labor mobility, market transparency and real-time communication means the business environment is constantly changing. According to Carpenter and Fredrickson (2001), intense competition in the global marketplace has led to an increased focus on change management. This paper uses the Gill (2003) integrative model of leadership for change to explore how Sir Richard Branson; a famous global business leader has successfully managed change in one of the largest conglomerate of companies in the world. Richard Branson as a Global Leader Sir Richard Branson is one of the richest people in the world.
Branson is the owner of the Virgin brand of companies that operate in multiple countries across a wide range of industrial sectors (Kets de Vries, 1999). The virgin group has interests in retail operations, hotels, publication, radio and television and Air travel. The flagship company, Virgin Atlantic is one of the major airlines on the transatlantic route, formerly dominated by British Airways (De Vries and Florent-Treacy, 1999).
Recently, Branson has launched Virgin cola and Virgin Galactic. Virgin Galactic is a company that is engaged in space tourism. The virgin group consists of over 350 highly successful companies. Branson has the ability to build great companies from scratch and make them dominant in the industry sector he targets. Branson’ s companies have also succeeded in industry sectors shaken up by the forces of Globalization. For example, Virgin Atlantic and its subsidiaries continue to flourish while other airlines are succumbing to increased global competition in the airline industry.
This paper explores how Branson has been able to lead his group of company in a constantly changing business environment. Dimensions and requirements of Leadership Gill (2002) identifies four separate tracks of leadership theory that enable effective change management. These tracks are cognitive intelligence, spiritual intelligence and emotional intelligence, and behavioral skills. Cognitive intelligence To be an effective leader in a business environment that is constantly in flux, a leader needs the superior ability to see the emergence of a novel situation.
In the views of Gil et al (2005), a leader who is intellectually intelligent will perceive change, understand information, reason with it, imagine possibilities, use intuitions, and make judgements and decisions. Richard Branson exhibits cognitive intelligence as he has the ability to see where change is needed. For example, Richard Branson was able to see the need for improved quality in the airline industry and make the change accordingly (Mutzabaugh, October 2012). When asked about the changes they would make to American Airlines, Richard imagines an American airline cabin with the best interior design and the best uniforms.
According to Branson, most American airlines that used to compete with Virgin Atlantic failed to notice the need to up the quality of their travellers experienced has since perished. Branson cited the cases of Pan Am, People express and TWA whose leaders failed to move with change. According to Branson, the leadership at British airways recognized the need for change and “ upped their game” , a good why British Airways has survived and continues flourishing (Mutzabaugh, October 2012).
Alon, I., & Higgins, J. M. (2005). Global leadership success through emotional and cultural intelligences. Business Horizons, 48 (6), 501-512
Calzada, R. I. (2001). Fundamentals of Charismatic Leadership. Fla. St. U. Bus. Rev., 1, 115.
Carpenter, M. A., & Fredrickson, J. W. (2001). Top management teams, global strategic posture, and the moderating role of uncertainty. Academy of Management Journal, 44 (3), 533-545.
Cohen, S. L. (2010). Effective global leadership requires a global mindset. Industrial and Commercial Training, 42 (1), 3-10.
Crush, P. (July 2010). Exclusive: Sir Richard Branson talks to HR magazine about leadership. HR magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hro/features/1018119/exclusive-sir-richard-branson-talks-hr-magazine-leadership#sthash.a3ll4EGn.dpuf on 20th September 2012
De Vries, K., & Florent-Treacy, E. (1999). The New Global Leaders: Richard Branson, Percy Barnevik, and David Simon, and the Remaking of International Business (Vol. 173). Jossey-Bass.
Eisenbach, R., Watson, K., & Pillai, R. (1999). Transformational leadership in the context of organizational change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 12 (2), 80-89.
Gil, F., Rico, R., Alcover, C. M., & Barrasa, Á. (2005). Change-oriented leadership, satisfaction and performance in work groups: Effects of team climate and group potency. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 20 (3/4), 312-328.
Gill, R. (2002). Change management--or change leadership?. Journal of change management, 3 (4), 307-318.
Gregersen, H. B., & Morrison, A. J. (1998). Developing leaders for the global frontier. Sloan Management Review, 40 (1), 21-32.
Ireland, R. D., & Hitt, M. A. (1999). Achieving and maintaining strategic competitiveness in the 21st century: The role of strategic leadership. The Academy of Management Executive, 13 (1), 43-57.
Kanter, R. M. (1999). The enduring skills of change leaders. NHRD Journal, 53.
Kavanagh, M. H., & Ashkanasy, N. M. (2006). The impact of leadership and change management strategy on organizational culture and individual acceptance of change during a merger. British Journal of Management, 17 (S1), S81-S103.
Kets De Vries, M. (1996). Leaders who make a difference. European Management Journal, 14 (5), 486-493.
Kets de Vries, M. F. (1999). Charisma in action: The transformational abilities of Virgin's Richard Branson and ABB's Percy Barnevik. Organizational Dynamics, 26 (3), 7-21.
Kouzes, J. M. & Posner, B. Z. (2002). The Leaderhip Challenge, 3rd edn. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.
McLimore, D. (Ed.). (2013). Virgin Rebel: Richard Branson In His Own Words. Agate Publishing.
Mutzabaugh, B. (October 2012). Branson: 'It would be quite fun' to buy stake in American Airlines. USA Today. Retrieved from: http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayinthesky/2012/10/10/branson-to-buy-stake-in-american-airlines/1624389/ on 20th September 2013
Trompenaars, A., & Hampden-Turner, C. (2002). 21 leaders for the 21st century: How innovative leaders manage in the digital age. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
Ugboro, I. O., & Obeng, K. (2000). Top management leadership, employee empowerment, job satisfaction, and customer satisfaction in TQM organizations: an empirical study. Journal of Quality Management, 5 (2), 247-272.
Voola, R., Carlson, J., & West, A. (2004). Emotional intelligence and competitive advantage: examining the relationship from a resource‐based view. Strategic change, 13 (2), 83-93.