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Cowboy Management


What Is Cowboy Management?

Cowboy Management is a type of leadership where others are controlled in a forceful way.
Cowboy Management is a Cutthroat Dog eat Dog environment that creates competition against both allies and groups of people with opposite views. The cowboy management includes risk takers as one must be willing to throw someone else under the bus to push to get the job done. It is competitive. This type of management requires people who are ready to change the rules or even break the rules in order to just get the job completed. The Cowboy management is more focused on short-term goals and jobs and not the long-term goals or effects. The management also consists of no negotiating. Do what it takes to get the job done and thats it. My way or the high way.

The effects of cowboy management

Investors favor cowboy managed businesses, meaning they glorify the rough and tough, fight it out style of working. Its based solely on competition, getting people to work harder and more effectively. Gives people a false illision that you can succeed by creating rules that suite you. Doing things how you want, when you want. Decentralizes self determination, which creates a strong local pride and identity. Can effect the sales of a company, creating a negative outlook on the business.

Success and Failure as a Cowboy Manager



Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, created the website allegedly using the ideas of his colleagues. Facebook was created without a business plan, but it is highly successful. Zuckerberg is now a self-made billionaire because of his lack of regard for other people.

In 2011, newly hired CEO, Ron Johnson, used his own discretion to completely change the company (inluding firing thousands of employees). The stores popularity and profits severely declined due to the changes.

After only 17 months, Johnson was fired and quickly replaced by the former CEO.

Cowboy Management Organizational Performance

Cowboy Management is organized not as a whole but as individuals. Since Cowboy Management includes competition and focusing on the short term goals there is not teamwork. Each Individual is trying to improve their numbers and complete their jobs even if it is done by bending the rules and working outside of the box.

Advantages of Cowboy Management

The cowboy is fearless and willing to do what it takes to succeed. They are willing to break rules and think further than their limitation, allowing for large profit and new ideas.

Because risk is not a factor, awards and success that others would consider unattainable can be reached.
A competitive environment creates harder workers. There are no boundaries for success, as one can change or break the rules- often bullying his way to the top.

Disadvantages of Cowboy Management

Lacks professionalism because its based on a Survival of the fittest point of view.

Many workers worry more about their own reputations rather than the companies reputation.
Disputes in the workplace are more likely due to secrecy, unfair competition and doing whatever you can to get ahead of your coworkers.

Cowboy Management vs. Chief Joseph Leadership styles

Cowboy Management can be related to Chief Joseph when Chief Joseph broke his promise to keep the land to save his people this is an example of cowboy management as bending, breaking, and changing rules for what is going to help the management or business.

Do what it takes in order to succeed as General Howard was stern when the Nez Perces were not willing to move he was going to fight for the land and be successful.
There was also no negotiating or any balance when General Howard would not let the Nez Perces stay on the land. As cowboy management one did not negotiate and makes rash decisions. Know that decision that are made are rash and therefor might have a downfall. If General Howard had negotiated with the Nez Perces he could avoided loosing some men but because of his rash decision he did loose men (down fall)

Final Thoughts
Cowboy Managers are generally self-serving, rarely thinking of others. This type of leadership is advantageous to one person, and that is the Cowboy. The Cowboy may be highly successful in his endeavors, but he will likely hurt others along the way. Having a Cowboy Manager may cause distrust and fear within the organization.