1. Aims, objectives and feasibility of the dissertation
The proposal aims to describe Jeff Bezos leadership style, the role of transformational leadership in Amazon's role and achievement, the role of leadership in a company's process, Jeff Bezos's contribution to the transformational leadership at Amazon, and the role of transformational leadership in Amazon's success and growth.
Transformational leadership has, of late, been attracting a large number of students and researchers due to the effective role it can play in companies to help achieve their objectives (Phaneuf et al., 2005). However, transformational leadership has caught my imagination due to the transformation it can bring about in teams, vastly improving their performance and leading the organisation not just to achieve its aims but also go beyond them. As argued by Choi et al. (2005, cited in Burke et al., 2006; Carson et al., 2007; Hoch, 2013), the leader's behaviour and performance can significantly influence the working process, structure and effectiveness of the team.
The role of transformational leadership in companies has attracted numerous researchers and authors. For instance, Burns (1978) presents the role of transformational leadership and discusses how it can improve practitioners' performance. According to Khan and Ismail (2017), transformational leadership can effect changes in inspiration and desires towards the fulfilment of organisational objectives. On the other hand, transformational leadership can also play an essential role in determining and facilitating the relationships among the stakeholders. Therefore, transformational leadership becomes vital for all stakeholders, including the management, whether in the private sector or the public or governmental sector, or an educational institution.
I previously worked with a company whose policy and culture did not meet the employees' expectations at all, leading to serious employee dissatisfaction. This was because the company ignored the importance of the theory of transformational leadership, which says that a company's culture and policy should be aligned with the employees' sensitivities (LAYA, 2016). There were several instances of employees quitting the company because of the absence of a proper leadership culture leading to dissatisfaction with the company. As a result, the company lost its reputation and failed to win any new projects from 2014 until 2017.
I am a new employee at my current workplace, and I would like to carry out this research to devise a preventive strategy for the company. Its successful completion will have a positive impact on my career.
Regarding research methodology, I will refer briefly to the social research theory, and use the interpretive technique to define the philosophy and character of the research. In addition, I will carry out a qualitative analysis to prove the role of transformational leadership. A review of the extant literature on the subject will enable me to formulate the research questions and facilitate the selection of information sources.
I am particularly impressed with the leadership style of Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, in respect of transformational leadership. Therefore, the objectives of the study will cover the following aspects:
A) A description of Jeff Bezos' leadership system.
B) An analysis of the role of transformational leadership in Amazon's achievements and success.
C) An examination of the role of leadership in a company's processes, particularly in the growth of Amazon.
D) A critical assessment of Jeff Bezos' contribution to the transformational leadership at Amazon, with adverse outcomes if any.
E) The overall role of transformational leadership in Amazon's success and growth.
Amazon is one of the largest global online retailers. It offers a vast range of merchandise, including books, electronic devices, and other products, through the company's websites. The company had a revenue of about US$135,987 million for the financial year ending December 2016 (Amazon.com Inc., 2017).
A business magazine has included the company among the top 100 American companies. In addition, it was included among the top 20 most valuable brands and top 100 most important brands in the world in 2016 (Amazon.com Inc., 2017). With a company of this magnitude, it would be relatively easy to find sources of information and researches on its achievements and success. Further, I am also in touch with the employees from my previous workplace and can easily access data as well as research participants from there. Additionally, I will utilise the UOL Library for the literature. Therefore, the research is entirely feasible.
2. Literature Review
James Mcgregor Burns (1978) defined transformational leadership as a process in which the followers and the leaders together achieve the objectives and improve the efficiency of each other. Thus, transformational leadership can motivate the followers and change discernments, desires, and aspirations to serve the organisational goals and targets. Khan and Ismail (2017) define the character of transformational leadership using the below attributes.
Idealised Impact: Khan et al. (2009) proposed that transformational leadership influences the followers positively concerning the process of individual learning. The leaders representing the influence act as the role models. The followers respect them and trust them to make the right decisions for the company. In my view, the key is for the leaders to earn the followers' trust and respect by showing loyalty to certain important principles and paying attention to the followers', rather than their own, needs (Khan and Ismail, 2017, cited in Jung et al., 2008; Oke et al., 2009).
Intellectual Stimulation: Transformational leadership can play an effective role in the learning process and lead to innovative and unconventional ways of thinking to generate new ideas and create new technology. It is noteworthy that transformational leaders are most likely to improve the learning process through the application of intellectual stimulation. Besides, the transformational educator can discover and motivate the students by perceptive intellectual stimulation and increased innovative efforts on the part of the students. In fact, mental stimulation can play a critical role in stimulating individual learning. Additionally, transformational leadership encourages innovativeness among the practitioners as a matter of habit, and not just for business (Khan and Ismail, 2017).
The attribute of charisma can gain the followers' respect and trust, and the followers' wish to be inspired. Likewise, the supposed leader's charisma in the perception of the followers enhances the sense of commitment and encourages learning (Khan and Ismail, 2017, cited in Paulsen, Maldonado, Callan, and Ayoko, 2009). The charismatic element in the transformational leadership can achieve positive changes in educational institutions and groups. Therefore, change is the primary element through which the concept of transformational leadership encourages the followers to achieve the organizational goals and effect further improvement (Khan and Ismail, 2017, cited in Burns, 1978).
Moreover, leaders with the attribute of charisma multiply the opportunities for cooperative team behaviour to fulfil the need of change (Khan and Ismail, 2017, cited in Paulsen et al., 2009). In the view of this fact, these leaders play an essential role in developing the followers' learning and creativity (Khan and Ismail, 2017, cited in Jung et al., 2003).
The effect of transformational leadership is setting the direction and developing the vision to achieve the organisational goals and objectives. The leaders articulate the vision and strategy to inspire their followers and identify the correct practice. They also build consensus among the staff to make for a common purpose and direction, motivating the staff to overcome the challenges and achieve the goals (Leithwood and Sun, 2012).
In addition, leadership expects high performance and high standards of professionalism; it expects the staff to be more self-sufficient in adding value to the organisation and achieving the organisational goals. Also, the leaders contributed to staff development by providing individualised support, listening to opinions, and paying heed to needs. An individualised treatment of the staff needs and capacities supports the staff's needs for professional development (Leithwood and Sun, 2012).
Model values, behaviours and beliefs to enhance ethical behaviour and respect; trust in the staff and readiness to change one's perceptions and practices as per conditions and understanding. Transformational leadership also has enough ability to enable change and redesign the organisational culture to establish a set of new culture that reflects positively on the staff and increases trust among the employees. Thus, transformational leadership has a vital role in improving collaboration by building a structure that ensures the participation of the staff in the decision-making process (Leithwood and Sun, 2012).
In the view of the above elements brought out by the preceding research, it is evident that transformational leadership has an important role to play in the improvement of some organisational aspects. Transformational leadership can achieve an inspiring vision of the future of the organisation; moreover, it can create motivation for the employees to deliver the vision. Transformational leadership can initiate the process and strategy to enable the building of healthy relationships and trust between the employees and the management. With this description of the role of transformational leadership, it should be understood that it could lead to performance beyond expectations with a perceptible effect on the followers and the management (Winkler, 2010).
At the same time, transformational leadership supports the followers' need to improve their performance. It emphasises the followers to assume additional responsibilities. For this reason, transformational leaders have reached the top of the leadership rankings, to be beyond the leaders who get the work done by guiding the followers (Winkler, 2010, cited in Bass and Avolio, 1994).
The study will mainly be based on the secondary data available in the university library and the public arena. It will look for the information on the growth story of Amazon, Amazon's leadership culture, and Jeff Bezos's leadership elements.
Amazon started as a very small company in 1994 selling books through its online bookstore. The business continued to expand until 1997. In 1998, the Amazon management decided to expand the business further and take on additional activities besides books sale. From 1998 until 2004, Amazon continued to extend its business and became able to sell thousands of products (Wallace, 2016). From 2005 to 2011, Amazon expanded other businesses and opened web services with the development of the e-book service enabling the customers to purchase and read books from the e-book site. In 2017, Amazon started to engage with software engineers and handle complicated challenges in computing. By this time, the company had almost 269,000 employees for technical innovation and technical programmes development (Schneider, 2017)....
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