Term paper on Leadership Plus

Innovations are one of the challenges of the leaders. An innovative behavior should be demonstrated by leader in order to inspire employees and explain the values of the organization. Innovations can be considered catalysts for shifts in decision making. Implementation or refusal from innovations may influence the competitive positions of the organization. Leaders observe the behavior of other organizations in their organizational field, and their observation of innovative competitive activity can have various effects on their organization. Organizations with established routines and practices face a difficult task of incorporating change. The ability to use innovations as competitive weapons gives organizations incentives to develop competencies to make their own innovations or understand those of their competitors.

Innovations suggest to decision makers that existing organizational procedures may be inadequate, which creates a problem for the organization. Routine responses are inadequate because innovations are novel, causing organizations to search for solutions through non-routine probing for information on the innovation and its implications for the focal organization. An innovation also creates decision-making opportunities by causing discussions about alternative strategies, increasing the probability that a decision to change the organization will be made.

2.6. The ability to learn from corporate mistakes

Robins (2010) presents very educational examples of the organizations that haven’t learnt from their mistakes, although they had such opportunity, and powerful negative consequences of such decision making. Management should always forecast the results of its strategic decisions and take the previous experience (both this company’s and competitors’) into account.

2.7. Cultural sensitivity

The world is dramatically changing and so is the workplace. Immigrants including expats, women, and minorities become the largest part of the global workforce. That’s is why, according to a number of reliable studies, such closely connected issues as ‘managing diversity’ and ‘cultural sensitivity’ play huge roles in the overall success of the whole organization. In order to achieve a market success, to become a leading company of its segment, organization should focus on managing culturally diverse groups and also on the efficient recruiting, training, and promotion of culturally diverse employees. Silverthorne (2005) indicates that cultural differences play crucial role in understanding of social and organizational behavior. It means that culture is an important determinant of behavior. Several important aspects of cross-cultural management are influenced by cultural differences. For instance, in accordance to some studies of organizational behavior, culture is significant and often defining factor in the daily life of organization.

Cultural values influence employee perceptions of the environment, expectations, and individual behavior. If people have different assumptions, then they will see events and react to them differently. People from different cultures approach problems differently and have different ways to resolve and apply solutions to problems.

Basically, the need in cooperation is even higher in the case when the company is diverse. (Silverthorne, 2005) Therefore, the probability of failure may be reduced if organization is aware of cultural differences and cultural sensitivity. (Miller, 1994)

Leaders have to adopt the cultural sensitivity. Basically, it is an ability to accept other cultures. The knowledge about the cultural differences is an inevitable part of cultural sensitivity, because it provides the understanding what’s acceptable and what’s rude for a representative of each culture. So, cultural sensitivity is understanding, accepting, and also awareness that cultural characteristics may affect the work relationship and the process of communication. Cultural sensitivity includes the understanding of traditions of other people, their way of living and beliefs, and excludes any prejudices and preconceptions that may be applied towards other cultures. It should be added that the failure in cultural sensitivity may result in loss of the clients, market share, sales, and profits and finally, company’s reputation. The major skills that are needed to work with individuals with cultural differences are flexibility, ability to listen and hear others and personal commitment. An organization culture that supports flexibility is necessary so that HR specialists can manage effectively in a diverse environment

2.8. High ethical standards

Establishment of the high ethical standards in the organization is an important condition of effective leadership. The ethical principles of behavior may be fixed in the organizational codes of ethics that describe moral aspects of companies’ organizational cultures and ethical values. Ethic may be corporate (the ethics of the whole company) and individual (the ethics of the individual employee), but it influences all processes in organization and also it has a great impact on its achievements.

Leaders need to think about ethical questions in everyday business activity and find new ways to understand and resolve the all of the conflicts, including cultural, they encounter at their work places. The appliance of the ethics and cultural sensitivity in business means that first of all we need to be able to moral values more carefully and to understand more fully the reasons that underlie, develop capacity for moral reasoning by learning to sort out all of the arguments that bear upon moral problems and apply them to concrete work situations. (Sims, 2002)

One key to resolving the uncertainty about what is or isn’t ethical behavior is being aware of the different ethical approaches that are used. This way leader can better understand the choices and the viewpoint of the opponent. Then, being more informed, leader is capable to resolve any conflicts. (Scott, 1998)

3. Relationship to current/other organizations

It should be noted that the choice of the organization is not an accidental. The level of competition in the mobile telecommunications industry is extremely high.

Research In Motion is known for its previous tremendous market success with its BlackBerry smartphone. But this company faced with the necessity of making the changes in the top management last year. The major reason of the changes in the company’s management was the poor market performance: it had lost to its closes competitor Apple Inc. in the U.S. in 2011. The company’s sales volumes and revenue continued to fall; and the decision of investors that demanded the change of the company’s top management was executed. New management has to introduce the new innovative approach including effective leadership aspect. As its new CEO indicates “As with any company that has grown as fast as we have, there have been inevitable growing pains,” “We have learned from those challenges and, I believe, we have and will become a stronger company as a result.”

It is known that the strong market leadership was one of the reasons of the previous success of the Blackberry-maker Research in Motion (RIM). It is also known that in 2008 this company was considered as a leader of the local Canadian network called Communitech that involved more than 600 organizations that aimed to build a powerful technological cluster in that region.

The loss of the market share in the smart phone market by RIM is a substantial loss for the company and it has resulted in the significant decrease of the stock price of this company in the recent period. Obviously, the results like this (the loss of dominant position and the consequent layoffs of the company’s workforce in the amount of over 15,000) have some underlying reasons – they may be considered as the bad signs in terms of the situation with company’s management. The lack of leadership skills at the stage of the recent layoffs, the lack of open discussion and the negative energy that surrounds the latest period of the company’s activity makes the assessment of the company’s management necessary.

The previous leaders of RIM Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie are innovators and entrepreneurs, but the previous experience shows some lack of effective managerial skills, although directors obviously looked for balance between the entrepreneur leadership and general management leadership.

The major challenge for the company’s management is to connect the functional areas of their business activity such as manufacturing and sales and also develop better coordination in the organization in order to keep the competitive positions on the market. RIM is in the process of transferring from entrepreneur management model to more experienced and efficient leadership aimed to coordinate the internal processes in the company.

RIM’s corporate culture may be characterized by the following attributes: internet company-type; young; fast-paced development environment, casual and informal atmosphere; product-functional teams. Upper management level of this company may be described by the centralized decision-making.

It is clear that RIM is at a critical crossroad in terms of management and leadership issues, as many other fast growing startup business projects that were pioneers on the certain markets, so the situation with RIM and its problems isn’t unique. The core challenge for the company’s management is to provide a leadership shift from building the business to building the team of effective managers that will be responsible for building the business.

Researchers of the leadership indicate that corporate culture is one of the most significant factors of success, because it helps to implement the strategy, make the needed changes, and support innovative initiatives. Without a doubt corporate culture depends on founders and executives.

According to Flannery (2012), the organizational structure of Research In Motion has been changed from a dual-CEO structure to one CEO structure. It puts this company in a stronger position along with the companies like Apple and Google. The companies with dual-CEO structure, such as Samsung Electronics and Motorola that has a combined Chairman / CEO seems to have some governance problems. (Flannery, 2012) According to this researcher, the less than 1% of the world’s largest companies have implemented a dual-CEO structure. Therefore a conclusion could be made that Research In Motion has adopted more efficient leadership and management model that the majority of the players of high technology market have. Also the article in Forbes mentions that the previous leadership structure of the company was heavily criticized by some of RIM’s investors.

The idea and features of the new leadership model for this organization may be taken from Google. Google may serve as example for the transformation of the organizational structure of Research In Motion. It is an outstanding multinational organization that efficiently operates in high tech fields, such as internet and complex business sectors such as advertising. One of the reasons of its success is Google’s leadership strategy and its special management style. On the contrary to the traditional management structure, Google is characterized by an unconventional managing approach. This organization features a lean organizational structure and rotating leadership. The top management of the company believes that control is not an effective tool of the management of the innovative companies such as Google.

The leadership strategy that may be recommended for adoption by Research In Motion is transformation leadership. This concept works really efficient in such cases, because it helps to build relationship between leader of the company, middle level managers and followers. ‘It involves assessing followers’ motives, satisfying their needs, and treating them as full human beings. It is a process that subsumes charismatic and visionary leadership. In return, followers receive inner strength, guidance, and inspiration.’ (Spohn 2005)

What other recommendations could be suggested to RIM to improve the situation with management and leadership?

First of all, the attention of the company’s management should be concentrated on regaining the trust of the loyal customers and deciding who the major customer of company is: corporate customer or consumer? The second important element is the originality of product and innovations. The third element is the courage that is needed from the new RIM’s leader for strategic decision making during the time of organizational restructuring. The fourth element is the last important element is the empathy because RIM has to start to listen to its stakeholders (the relations with investors and customers are critical factor of market’s success). Among the serious weakness of RIM’s management is the issue of timing.

Sustainability, flexibility with a focus on niche product, stability, appropriate procedures support, performance, and consistency should be among the major priorities of RIM’s management in the nearest time.


Present term paper reviews aspects that are vital for effective leadership and management of the international company. A conclusion could be made that there are five major skills that are significant factors of leader’s success:
• Motivate team members to accomplish goals;
• Communicate assertively;
• Problem solve effectively;
• Build a team of cooperative workers;
• Manage stress effectively.

Regarding the leadership issues of the Research In Motion that are currently critical for this organization, a presumption could be suggested that it’s new organizational structure that been changed from a dual-CEO structure to one CEO structure will make its work more efficient and the new leadership approaches, and new initiatives will result in the market growth of this company.

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