Daimler: Leadership Philosophy

Introduction

The essay will discuss the leadership philosophy of Daimler, a German car company. The paper will concentrate on relations between leadership and management and proposes ways for improvements. At Daimler, the purpose of leadership is to produce positive results. Management is more than leading people. Indeed, it has many more components. Leadership is also routine administration, supervision, and knowledge of procedures, rules, and regulations; for instance, it requires negotiation techniques, cost control, and legal responsibilities. Leaders mobilize and allocate resources; they staff and ensure the continuing vitality of the team; they create and maintain appropriate procedures. They also direct, delegate, and coordinate, and they provide a system of incentives to motivate and encourage productive behavior.

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A Description of Study

From the autographical perspective, the study is based on a philosophical perspective aimed to describe and analyze the philosophy of leadership and its impact on the organization. Daimler is a German car company specialized in cars and trucks. The current CEO of the Company is Dieter Zetsche who develops an effective strategic and leadership position of Daimler on a global scale. The application of leadership by Daimler is often discussed from the review of human resources investment options to technique. Rather than focusing on how to build desired levels of trust through employment security arrangements, practitioners elaborate on the steps involved in a job analysis program (Daimler Home Page 2009). In short, a tactical and operational view too often replaces a strategic view. The importance of leadership at Daimler is explained by the fact that human resources can shape the culture of the organization by its wide-ranging attention to personnel matters. By drawing management or employee attention to issues or activities, human resource management sends signals and causes the employees of the organization to think, decide, and act on matters of potential importance. The company management states that: ”As a globally-oriented company we are particularly interested in aligning the Daimler Corporate Governance system internationally and making it transparent” (Daimler Home Page 2009). The case of Daimler shows that the effective application of HR management and positive organizational culture help organizations to improve performance and develop positive relationships between employees and between management and subordinates.

Management and leadership are two essential parts of modern organizations. The auto industry depends upon and is influenced by effective management solutions and leadership strategies. Management and leadership are concerned with setting goals, establishing policies and programs, and implementing business action for the entire firm. Its major tasks are to translate consumer wants and needs, actual and potential, into profitable products and services that the company is capable of producing; to cultivate markets to support these products; and to program the distribution activities necessary to reach the markets (Kim, p. 76).

Globalization changes the role of leaders within an organization and demands greater flexibility of their authority and responsibilities. The case of the auto industry shows that effective managers should possess leadership skills and abilities to manage modern staff. In their turn, leaders require management skills to foreshadow possible changes and problems within organizations (Hoyle and Wilmore, p. 65). Essentially, the leadership philosophy is a way of thinking about the corporate activity; a frame of mind; an attitude. It recognizes the primacy of consumers and customers as they influence all business operations. It starts with the company’s chief executive, who must recognize that lacking markets for the company’s products and lacking customer wants and needs, no business can exist. Modern management and leadership cover the application of management techniques in the utilization of marketing resources (Bolman and Deal 71). It is concerned with the responsibility for planning, organizing, actuating, and controlling marketing activities. It achieves its aims by establishing marketing objectives, policies, plans, programs, and standards, allocating marketing resources, and evaluating the effectiveness of marketing activities (Cole, p. 88).

A Brief Overview of the Perspective

Daimler follows the transactional model based on the principle that employees are motivated by rewards and punishments. Bad times are a time to focus on the issue at hand, but once the issue has been resolved, the focus is on lessons learned and how the team can perform better in the future. Once the team has worked through the bad times, the team process should be directed to problems that will otherwise fester and become destructive. There are conflict resolution skills for teams that involve civilized disagreement without denial, smoothing over, or the arbitrary use of power by the leader. Leadership is not merely a limited specialized activity of the business, but rather a perspective for the total management team. It does not function as a separate entity in the business, nor is it more important than any other primary activity, such as manufacturing or finance, yet through actual and potential sales it does establish constraints within which the other activities must be performed. It reflects an integrated and coordinated approach to the management of the organizational activity and the development of total systems of business activities that recognize the market as the focal point of business. “Leadership processes are directed at defining, establishing, identifying, or translating this direction for their followers and facilitating or enabling the organizational processes that should result in the achievement of this purpose” (Zaccaro and Klimoski, 6-7 cited Hoyle and Wilmore 65). Great leaders have the gift of inspiring and motivating people; they have a vision and lift the spirit of people to accomplish great ends. The release of human possibilities is a basic leadership goal. However, there is also a dark side to leadership. It is important to distinguish moral and just leadership from the character of despots who, by definition, are effective leaders if they accomplish their goals through persuasion (Carlopio et al 21). Management, like leadership, is ethically neutral. Managers also establish reporting systems, perform evaluations, and assign accountability. Common to both managers and leaders is the focus on the results they produce, which are based on the goals they pursue. Managers and leaders call for the kind of effort, restraint, drive, and discipline that result in a great performance. The traditional definitions of management and leadership have focused on and described the management process. What a manager or leader does is important, but descriptions An important part of management is a knowledge and understanding of process and procedures, but a new definition should focus on the results to be achieved. Managerial success is measured by achievement, not by the process used to accomplish the results. Based on this results-oriented philosophy of management, the new definition of management focuses on the outcome (Bolman and Deal, p. 34).

Leaders and managers can introduce training and learning courses in order o ensure the high professionalism of workers. This strategy will help managers to create a positive culture and organizational environment (Hoyle and Wilmore, p. 38). This method emphasizes their ability to make decisions and solve marketing problems in a way that enhances the objectives of the whole corporation. The manager is a specialist in managing markets and marketing resources; production, finance, and personnel executives are his corporate counterparts (Bolman and Deal, p. 85).

From my personal experience, I can say that leadership depends upon effective leaders who establish clear goals for the entire organization. Proclaiming decision-making and problem-solving skills that have made them so successful, managers readily take responsibility for other people’s problems and give them back ready-made solutions. Indeed, top managers gain authority in the first place because they take responsibility and solve problems with such aplomb (Cole, p. 77). Managers rarely receive promotions for providing the leadership required to do adaptive work. Management gains commitment to performance through contractual arrangements, leadership through empowerment. As the corporate world has become better aware of these essential distinctions, more and more resources have gone into training and educating about leadership competencies. Companies are paying record compensation to attract the best and brightest executive talent to lead them safely through today’s turbulent business environment. Many boards and executive recruiters assume that there exists an elite corps of individuals who possess leadership skills that have almost universal application. With the realization that organizations once considered paragons of management effectiveness were faltering in the face of dramatic competitive challenges, many began to suspect that the two roles involved different skill sets. It was conceivable that a company could be well managed but poorly led. In good times, a well-managed company might enjoy great success.

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Application of Theoretical Ideas

For Daimler, leadership should be understood as the main priority of HRM. These cultural interactions are often filled with many reenactments of the dependency, attachment, separation, and individuation dilemmas of parent-infant relations. The analysis of transference in organizations involves the assembly of a coherent image of interpersonal patterns of human interactions. Daimler must, momentarily, shift the center of experience away from themselves so that they may truly comprehend the experience of organizational members Empathy is acquired through identification. That is, one must place himself or herself in the shoes of organizational members, laced in their experience of themselves and others as part of a shared organizational culture. In this manner, organizational researchers can acquire a meaningful and subjectively valid interpretive understanding of interpersonal and organizational dynamics (Reed 223; Daimler Home Page, 2009).

Interpretation of individual and collective organizational meanings is the avenue to understanding organizational identity at Daimler. Concerning transference and counter-transference dynamics, psychoanalytic action researchers learn to use themselves (the self as the core of the personality and interpersonal experience) as instruments of organizational study. Empathy and introspection become necessary skills in helping subjects to share feelings and ideas that previously could not be discussed. This requires that researchers attempt to confirm or refute interpretations acquired through self-conscious acts of identification and empathy (Daimler Home Page, 2009). At Daimler, stressful organizational events such as a change in leadership, retrenchment, cutbacks, policy or budgetary revisions, and shifts of political climate can foster psychologically regressive and defensive responses among members. Reactions to stress are highly individual but, inevitably, are worked through at the interpersonal, group, and organizational levels of experience. Hence, organizational identity is the outcome of a collective compromise formation and analysis of transference between and among organizational members, and compromise formation and transference are the keys to understanding these phenomena. At this point, we need to examine the various patterns of transference, such as mirroring and idealizing, twinship, and persecutory self and other relations (Schuler, p. 44). The power of a high position may exaggerate individual demands for admiration and feelings of grandiosity. At Daimler, the presence of hierarchies may perpetuate selecting and rewarding individuals with narcissistic proclivities, thereby indulging quests for power and authority by way of positions of public visibility and official importance. Such idealization of organizational leadership produces a culture of organizational perfectionism in which the detection and correction of errors are unlikely. At Daimler, subordinates are expected to admire their managers and appear to be forced into a position of overdependence upon them. In these circumstances, staff loyalty and admiration encourage idealized images of their managers, which distort staff capacity to recognize limitations (Schuler, p. 49). Values regarding human resources management are defined in terms of two fundamental questions: The company claims that: “We also aim to expand the pool of top-quality talent within the company by taking the appropriate measures and to ensure that these employees remain in our company over the long term. Another major challenge will be to increase the proportion of women, especially at the management level and in Germany.” (Daimler Home Page 2009).

At Daimler, some of the governing values of behavior include unilateral protection of self and others, win-lose attitudes, owning and controlling of tasks, rationality, and suppression of negative feelings (Calvin, p. 42). At Daimler, the host culture defines the social class and ethnic origins of employees joining the organization as well as the clients and customers it serves. In addition, the host culture represents the character of the political climate of an organization, the degree to which it is friendly or hostile. Leadership sensitivity to the nuances of host culture assures the continued openness of Daimler as part of a larger social system. Coming to know the identity of organizations evokes the personal meaning, experience, and perception of organizational life in the minds of individual members. Gaining access to members’ organizational experience helps Daimler’s managers better understand individual and collective motives that govern their behavior and enables us to distinguish otherwise similar organizations from one another. Organizational identity defines who we all are in a group and who (or what) we can be as members of groups (role identity) (Charan et al 112). This includes the network of repeated interpersonal strategies for coping with (defending against) interpersonal and organizational events that are stressful and perceived as threatening. At Daimler, organizational identity is found in the difficult to observe interactions within organizations–the inter-subjective structure of self-object relationships. Discovering it involves finding out how people experience one another and observing how they handle themselves and others under stressful circumstances. It does not assume that people in organizations share the same organizational image. Nor does it assume a collective identity for organizational members. However, it does imply that organizational culture and strategies for managing internal and external affairs are the results of members’ personalities and experiences that shape organizational meanings and experiences (Cole, p. 132).

Conclusion

The case study finds that large-scale organizational transformation is, at best, a developing art that has yet to produce any clear formulas for success, but more and more attention is being turned to executives as the principal agents of change and adaptation. It is increasingly common to assume that leadership plays a crucial role in an organization’s successful adaptation to a changing world. The theories mentioned above allow us to say that for the new leader it is crucial to take into account social and organizational changes and be creative. The 21st century requires unity but not unanimity or concurrence. The agreement may or may not represent the majority. In the final analysis, staff agrees to support the decision even though employees may still disagree with some aspects of it. Many times, the agreement represents cooperation. Cooperation may come after working through conflicting ideas. Individuals should not be forced to compromise their ideas just because they are tired of talking about the subject. Leaders should defend minority opinions and viewpoints and support and stimulate creative solutions. A continuing leadership task challenges the team to work through conflicting ideas. Compromises should be avoided until all alternatives have been completely explored. To improve leadership skills, an individual should take into account situational variables and the consequences of his decisions. Other leadership tasks include ensuring that the team is staying on the topics at hand and not wasting time. A danger to staff is that it may become a social forum. This is because people generally try to get along in teams. They can drift off track, and it is the leadership’s task is to keep them focused on the task. The leadership task may also require the leader to act as a “quarterback” and signal-caller–assigning tasks and ensuring that everyone has the right information.

Works Cited

  1. Bolman, L., Deal, T. Reframing Organizations- Artistry, Choice and Leadership, Jossey Bass: San Francisco, 2003.
  2. Calvin, J. R., Leadership Networking and Active Transitions in the Workplace: Freedoms, Energy, and Transformative Relationships. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 68 (2003), 42.
  3. Carlopio, J., Andrewartha, G., and Armstrong, H. Developing Management Skills, Pearson: Australia, 2005.
  4. Charan, R., Drotter, S., Noel, J. The Leadership Pipeline How to Build The Leadership-Powered Company, Jossey Bass: San Francisco, 2001.
  5. Cole, K. Management –Theory and Practice, Pearson: Australia, 2005.
  6. Hoyle, J.R., Wilmore, E.L. Principal Leadership: Applying the New Educational Leadership Constituent Council (Elcc) Standards. Corwin Press, 2002.
  7. Kim, S. Participative Management and Job Satisfaction: Lessons for Management Leadership. Public Administration Review, 62 (2002), 76.
  8. Reed, A. Innovation in Human Resource Management. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2001.
  9. Schuler, R. Managing Human Resources. Cincinnati, Ohio: South-Western College Publishing, 1998,
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