Management refers to the administration of an organization through the establishment and development of strategies and coordination of efforts of the employees to facilitate the realization of the company's objectives through the effective use of the available resources. The resources available could include the workforce, financial resources, technology, and natural resources. Sometimes, management is used to refer to the team tasked with managing the organization. Given that the management comprises of different people, each of them has a different style of management. Griffin, Phillips and Gully (2017) define a management style as the type of leadership that a manager uses to accomplish his or goals. The different styles of management include autocratic, consultative, persuasive, chaotic, and democratic (Griffin, Phillips and Gully, 2017). Depending on the context, a manager uses the style he or she sees fit the situation. The application of the different management styles results in different outcomes even in identical contexts. For this reason, scholars have focused their attention on evaluating the most appropriate management style for different contexts. In this regard, this paper comprises of a comparison of two management styles used by two managers in different departments at Alphabet Incorporated. Management theories will be used to analyze and gain a better understanding of the findings.
Alphabet Inc. is an American holding company based in California. The company was established in October 2015 after a restructuring of Google hence making it the parent company of Google among other subsidiaries (Page, 2018). Upon its formation, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who are the founders of Google, assumed the roles of CEO and President respectively. As of December 2017, Alphabet Inc. had more than 80,110 employees. The restructuring of Google and formation of Alphabet was motivated by the need to make the business of Google's internet services more transparent and accountable as well as increase the autonomy of the subsidiaries. The restructuring seems to have paid off because Google temporarily overtook Apple Inc. on February 1, 2016, to become the most valuable publicly traded company in the world. Alphabet Inc. has invested in many companies and acquired several start-ups. Some of the start-ups include Redux and Flatiron Health. The heavy investments demonstrate the magnitude with which the company has grown. That growth is reciprocated in the management structure of the company with the creation of many departments. As noted by Benfari (2013), the success of the individual departments and the overall company is determined by the people leading the department and the company at large. In this view, the next section entails a case study of Ruth Praton and James Campbell who are both managers at Alphabet Inc. whereby their traits and the management styles they use to run their daily operations have been analyzed and compared.
Manager 1: Ruth Porat (Chief Financial Officer and Senior VP)
Ruth was born in 1959 in New York. She is a member of the Board of Directors at Stanford University, the Council on Foreign Relations, and at The Economic Club of New York. Before joining Alphabet Inc., she worked as the Chief Financial Officer at Tishman Speyer Properties and at Morgan Stanley (Quotes.wsj.com, 2018). Her role as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) started on October 2, 2015, a time when the company was undergoing several challenges such harmonization of the assets and building a strong reputation. Before becoming the CFO, she worked at many levels in different companies starting at low levels and climbing up to the top position. Despite starting at low levels, she climbed up the rank fast which necessitates a study into her leadership style and skills that helped her succeed. During her time as the CFO, she has gained lot skills in leadership including delegation, communication, decision making, planning, and coordination. After taking over, she instituted many changes and streamlined the process of communication and flow of information.
Ruth's management style could be described as permissive management style (Thornton, 2008). She is authoritative especially in control and regulation of procedures and policies in the organization. However, her management and leadership style is democratic in that she allows her subordinates to contribute to the decision-making process (Griffin, Phillips and Gully, 2017). Ruth's management style is influenced by her personal traits that include hard work, diligence, and efficient at selling ideas. Importantly, she is persistent and dedicated to pursuing goals she perceives to have the best interests of the company. Ruth strongly believes in the idea that everybody is capable of achieving more than they know. She has implemented this idea by tapping into her co-workers' talents and encouraging them to exceed their limits. In fact, some of her subordinates are grateful to her for pushing them and enabling them to discover their hidden abilities.
According to Thornton (2008), successful managers engage operations and problems personally. This is evident in Ruth's management style which has significantly contributed to her success. After assuming the position of CFO, she held meetings with all stakeholders in various departments and made trips to all regions where the company covers. These actions were aimed at investigating the problems facing the company as well as the potential risks and problems. Her tendency to take initiative and address problems before they develop illustrates responsibility. The company's annual financial reports indicate that her management style has paid off. Although many female managers at top positions experience many difficulties, most of which being gender-based, Ruth cites that her long-term career and many years of experience have enabled her cope and find ways of dealing with such problems.
Leader 2: James Campbell (Chief Accounting Officer)
As noted earlier, Alphabet Inc. is one of the most valued publicly traded companies in the world. In 2017, the company reported annual revenues of 111.02 billion dollars up from 74,989 billion dollars (Sec.gov, 2017). James Campbell is the Chief Financial Officer at Alphabet Inc. who leads a team of experts focused on maintaining the growth and profitability of the company. James joined Alphabet Inc. in February 2016 after moving from Intel Corporation where he worked for thirty years. At Intel, he served in many capacities including global accounting, financial reporting, and financial services. Over the 30 years he spent at Intel Corporation, he oversaw the design, development, and implementation of the company's internal financial applications (Quotes.wsj.com, 2018). James also worked as Asia's regional audit manager and head of controllers tasked with financial services.
Griffin, Phillips and Gully (2017) points out that a successful management leader must be competent in his or her areas of responsibility. The role of a CFO requires competency in envisioning, goal-orientation, and involvement of stakeholders. James is competent in these areas thanks to his rich experience in the management field having served for more than 30 years at Intel. Griffin, Phillips and Gully (2017) add that managers should be flexible and versatile to enable them to respond quickly to changes. Since taking over as CFO in Alphabet Inc., James has implemented several strategies to increase the productivity and competitiveness of the company. Some of these changes include the acquisition of start-ups that have the potential of growing into big companies. That has benefitted the company by adding talented employees to the workforce.
In addition, personal traits significantly contribute to the success of a management leader in a company (Lidow, 2014). The personal traits as viewed by the subordinates can either promote loyalty and motivation or threaten them. James is viewed by his co-workers and subordinates as friendly, good listener, involving, and moderate. Even though he is considered moderate, he has a clear direction in which he wants the employees to follow in taking the company. In this view, his management style could be described as management by walking around (Lidow, 2014). James' high level of interaction with the employees enables him to assess the level of morale in the company and intervene when necessary. Also, the application of management by walking around style has enabled James to obtain lots of information about challenging and threatening situations hence enabling him to take appropriate measures before the threat materializes.
A comparison of James and Ruth's management styles reveals similarities and differences in their personal characteristics, team organizational capabilities, and reforming pace as management leaders in their respective positions. In particular, Ruth is a competitive, courageous, enduring, and confident leader. Throughout her career, she has endured and risen above the challenges and pressures which have motivated her to self-improvement and not giving up. Importantly, she is an insightful strategist although her methods do not appeal to all people. On the other hand, James is a low key and moderate leader who integrated quickly into the company's culture especially its relation with the workforce and customers. Despite the subordinates describing him as friendly and interactive, it should not be interpreted to mean he is not strict. He is conservative but strategic in propelling the company in the right direction.
With regard to their pace in instituting reforms, Ruth and James use the same approach. Immediately after taking over as chief accounting officer, James directed his attention to adjusting the company's strategy and creating simple structures. Despite being a holding company for many enterprises, many departments were cut off and only the functional ones remained. The changes were aimed at increasing efficiency by minimizing costs. On the other hand, Ruth implemented tested and successful strategies after assuming her position as CFO. These strategies included the acquisition of potential competitors, improving customer experience by introducing more products, and marketing to promote the newly introduced products.With regard to team organizational capabilities, Ruth has excellent communication skills. She makes visits to employees at different workplaces which is an effective method of establishing an effective team. However, her strictness and toughness appear to act against her efforts of creating a loyal team. On the other hand, James considers Alphabet's workers as the company's future. He constantly reminds his subordinates about the need to build a better future. His attitude towards work and interaction with the employees has earned him respect, popularity, and support from his subordinates. In this view, James has managed to organize and create an effective better than Ruth.
In conclusion, the management position is the key determinant of the future and direction of the company. A manager especially the top management team is the core of the whole organization. As such, the management style chosen by a leader significantly affects the growth and development of the company. However, the discussion above demonstrates that the management style adopted by a leader is heavily influenced by his or her personal traits, cultural values, and competencies. These values are reflected in the company's direction, values, and organizational as implemented by the managers. The discussion above comprises of a comparison of two leaders at Alphabet Incorporated. Given that I observed and interviewed these leaders, I had different experiences with each leader. The experiences are similar to how their...
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