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specific areas of leadership namely contingency and situational leadership, charismatic and transformational leadership and entrepreneurial and strategic leadership. Richard Branson possesses good leader-member relations and treats his employees with due respect, like his ³family´, even to the extent of inviting junior crew to his home for parties (Dearlove 2007). He invites employees to give feedback and contribute ideas. Virgin¶s task structure is generally low as Branson gives his employees the freedom and initiative to be creative. There is no fixed procedure in which how things should be done (Dearlove 2007). His organisation operates on a flat, non-hierarchical structure (NCE 2009), made of clusters of companies that operate independently and given flexibility to run without much interference (Dearlove 2007). Position power ± he proves to be a dominant thinker, and usually makes first hand decisions himself (NCE 2009). Looking at Fielder¶s contingency theory, he belongs to being the intermediate style leader, who is equally task-motivated and socio-independent (Durbin Dalglish Miller 2006). Branson is considered a prospector, and possesses strong contingency and situational leadership skills. He is always looking out for and takes every opportunity to venture into new viable businesses. He is also prompt in managing situations and is a high risk-taker (Dearlove 2007). His willingness to take up joint ventures and partnerships with established companies has allowed Virgin to enter into complex markets without the need to start an organisation from scratch, hence eliminating unnecessary costs associated with new start-ups (Dearlove 2007). For instance, Virgin¶s 50:50 joint-venture with Norwich Union, United Kingdom¶s leading financial services company, enabled Virgin to enter into the financial market easily (Dearlove 2007). Branson has proved himself to be a good leader in driving his path goal approach towards leadership, always setting a direction for others to follow, leading to success. Based on the characteristics of group members and the demands of the task, he adopts different leadership behaviours to suit the two elements of situation (Durbin Dalglish Miller 2006). The Hersey Blanchard situational leadership model indicates Branson being flexible in considering how he should lead based on the task¶s nature. In seeking newbusiness opportunities,
uk. concentrating on ³new age drinks´ such as fruit juices and energy beverages when it saw no prospect in the war against Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola in the Cola businesss (Dearlove 2007). Upon success of a business venture. 1990) and percentage of goals achieved in strategic business units (Howell and Avolio.000 from BA. 11 January 1993). 2. research by Patterson. Bass and Yammarino. Kester and Stringer (1995) have confirmed the positive relationship between transformational leadership and performance. 1985).he usually adopts the directive behavior. Branson clearly showed his flexibility and success in adapting to changing organisational cultures as he bought new businesses and moved into new sectors. Another directive example was his stand in the ³dirty tricks affair´. recommendations for promotion (Waldman. Fuller. he transformed the allegations to his advantage and instead wrote a libel suit against BA (Dearlove 2007).2 Charismatic and Transformational Leadership Transformational leaders are often equated with those who can adapt quickly to change (Bass. management and location of its soft drinks business. The literature shows that ratings of transformational leadership were positively correlated with supervisory evaluations of managerial performance (Hater and Bass.000 to his airline. Branson places trusts in his staff and their capability to do work and empowers them with full autonomy (NCE 2009). In this fiasco. but drew media attention and managed to seek personal compensation of £500. 1993). Participation is allowed for employees to share ideas and facilitate in decision making (Dearlove 2007). explain decisions and provide opportunity for clarification. and BA incurred legal costs of up to three million pounds (BBC. Knowing what should be done and how it should be done. bringing his people with him. Bass (1985) argued that transformational leadership is more likely to reflect social values and to emerge in times of distress and change. whereas transactional leadership is more . £110. He has also proven to be strong in the ability to implement changes quickly. Branson not only managed to refute the accusations. accusing him of making allegations against BA to create ³publicity for Branson¶s airline´ in the ³dirty tricks affair´.1.co. Virgin Cola in US was able to change its strategy. knowing the required tasks and how to perform them. He sets the direction. He later adopted a supportive behavior approach style by distributing the airline compensation amongst his staff to show that he cares for his well-being and is looking out for them (Glendinning 2007). 1988). Branson was ruthless in refuting the allegations made by British Airways (BA). Also.
growth and achievement. best summarizes the style of this renowned business leader. His drive and determination to succeed has been a key element of his success. His success in becoming and remaining an effective leader of Virgin is largely due to his willingness and ability to empower individuals within the organization. Branson demonstrated charismatic leadership when he gave employees in his airlinehis personal phone number and encouraged them to contribute ideas and suggestions for areas of improvements by talking to him directly. steady environment. It is the transformational approach. His authority at Virgin is extended by his flamboyant and charismatic personality and attention grabbing behavior. his values and goals are those which drive and permeate every element of the corporation.likely to be observed in a well ordered. . such as the need for recognition. In conclusion. in our view. Virgin is an organisation that is centered on continual growth and change. this style of leadership is one that works very well within the Virgin Empire. Heshows clear skills in his ability to read the emotions of others and to assess the mood of his own culture. Although unique to Branson himself. 1988). A review of transformational and charismatic leadership theories suggests that such leaders may achieve their impact by the creation of followers who personally identify with this style as well as with the work group they are with (Yukl. The Virgin empire is one where the individual personality of Branson is stamped everywhere throughout the business. therefore suited to the transformational style. Branson has shown sensitivity to the needs of others. Branson has gotten the support of his subordinates. therefore. both of which increased his visibility and appeal to staff and the public. while having tremendous skills in how he can adapt his style and approach to the particular situation or context he is in. Through his attention to and encouragement of ideas and initiatives. Branson¶s charismatic style of leadership is one that stems from a largely transformational approach to how he influences those in his organisation. something that stems from a combination of genetics and family circumstances.
1 Contingency and Situational Leadership Fielder classifies situations as high. He is currently a trustee for multiple charities including the Virgin Healthcare Foundation. The more control exercised by the leader. . One time every month.3 Entrepreneurial and Strategic Leadership Branson believes in leading his workers and companies with freedom and lesser formality. Branson possesses the ability to revolutionize businesses and come up with amazing strategies that best suit current trends. being the first to lead his people from the front. From ³blowing up´ the Coke sign in New York¶s Times Square (Shepler 2009) to supporting new business opportunities and humanitarian works. he wore a wedding dress as publicity for his business. and low control. he has always been the first one to head them. He is more interested in dealing with public relations (Morris 2003). pledging to invest all of his profit from the train and airline divisions into renewable or clean energy to fight against global warming (Allen 2009). 2006). the more favourable the situation is (Dubrin Dalglish Miller. Branson also maintains a high level of responsibility to the community.1. he ventured into this business and created a benchmark. Branson has always been on the lookout for new business opportunities. Branson avoids the management role in the numerous companies he owns and leaves the running of the companies to his own advisory board. There are three dimensions to which determine the classification of the situation. In 1970. 2. gaining market share. differentiatingVirgin from other airlines. Virgin Brides (BBC. the British Government decided to abolish the Retail Price Maintenance Agreement and Branson immediately positioned Virgin Record using cost leadership strategy. He launched Virgin Galactic. moderate.2. When he noticed that current airline industries were not performing up to standards.co. shocking. Branson¶s advertising campaigns had always been creative and at times.uk 2007). One instance. he will send his employees letters to encourage them to talk to him about their problems and ideas (Shepler 2009). He is a driven person. offering consumers huge discounted record prices (Shepler 2009) and in turn. a commercial spaceflight that enable people to experience life in space (Virgin 2009).2.
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