Yahoo Company: Power and Influence


An enlarging body of literature focuses on how leaders and managers in organizations can deploy resources that are at their disposal to realize organizational growth under the guidance of effective strategies. A strategy constitutes plans that are aimed at attaining specific goals and objectives (Menon, Bharadwaj, Adidam, & Edison, 1999). Effective strategies are made through consideration of various alternative decisions. Hence, effective decision-making comes in handy while developing a strategic leadership. Arriving at the most successful decisions implies that other possible alternative decisions are ignored or found inappropriate when conducting an evaluation of different possible business strategies. Evaluation of the repercussion of decisions that are left out in the development of the main strategy helps to eliminate cases of failure. This claim implies that all organizations’ success or failure is a function of their ability to select appropriate strategies. Besides, their victory or failure depends on the power they apply to enforce such strategic decisions. Without power, it becomes impossible for companies to impose the most desired success strategies. This paper explores the challenges of working with other people in organizations and the key dimensions of relationship that is observed between leaders and followers. The paper uses the Yahoo Company as a case example.

Leadership Challenges in Delegating Job Responsibilities, Effective Conflict Management and Team Building

The Yahoo! Search engine was developed in 1995. It grew rapidly to become the most visited search engines across the globe by 1998. In fact, Yahoo Stocks share prices had risen to US$ 125 in the company’s exponential growth phase. However, due to reasons such as overspending and managerial mistakes, the stock prices dropped sharply to US$4 per share. This aspect served as a clear indication that Yahoo! had lost its glory. However, currently, the shares have reached the heights of US$ 38 per share. This growth may be attributed to the shaking of the organizational corporate structure. After realizing its mistakes, Yahoo! turned to Google Company for help through the appointment of Google’s executive personnel, Marissa Mayer, in 2012 as the new Yahoo Company president and CEO. Mayer reported to work with a clear goal of helping the company to restore its foundational years’ success glory.

Power to run an organization with success may reside within a leader or in other people (employees). Indeed, even though leaders may come up with requisite policies, they may have to depend on other people to implement them. This claim implies that delegation of responsibility constitutes a reality that Mayer cannot shun away. Delegation means sharing powers to execute certain tasks with other people. At Yahoo Company, the CEO must delegate certain responsibilities to different departments to ensure that the company achieves its strategic goals. For example, Mayer has managed to revive the fortunes of the organization by delegating the task of developing innovative products to the research and development team, which works tirelessly to ensure that the company maintains a competitive advantage in the global aggressive market. However, delegating responsibilities to people such as the company’s research and development team comes with challenges of team building and possibilities of emergence of conflicts.

Mayer considered delegation of responsibilities as an important mechanism of attaining the desired outcomes. However, to ensure that it did not come with challenges of low productivity and poor quality work, she ensured that some responsibilities were only delegated to the most qualified and experienced employees. This way, it was possible for her to count on such employees in helping to rejuvenate the fortunes of the Yahoo Company. Employees took individual accountability for their work. In this perspective, Mayer overcame the challenge of delegation. Delegation is related to the feeling of loss of control or lack of credit if other people complete some tasks. In fact, her main concern was not whether she would directly receive the credit, but to see the company succeeding in terms of profitability, irrespective of the person who was to receive credit for the company’s success.

Conflicts emerge in organizations that employ people from all diversities. Certainly, at the Yahoo Company, conflicts are inevitable. However, Mayer has a conflict tolerance personality, which has greatly aided the organization in overcoming challenges of conflicts that are associated with personality clashes and diversity differences. The personal quality of tolerance to conflicts may aid in the development of power since it requires one to study and master the rules of the game first (DellaVigna & Gentzko, 2010). In this context, it implies that developing power needs an individual to consider the areas of disagreements and/or establish neutral positions to acquire audience of all persons who are involved in a conflict. Mayer deployed conflict tolerance leadership skills in the quest to acquire power for making things done at the Yahoo Company the way she liked. This plan involved the elimination of the friction among people who demonstrated different perspectives.

In the process of building effective teams, taking nonpartisan positions in conflicts is incredibly important. Mayer’s point of view takes into consideration the perspectives of all people, irrespective of their diversity or hierarchical positions at the organization. However, to achieve this goal, leaders need to possess the power to coerce other people to think the way they do. This realization aids in meeting the vision that has been set by leaders. This process encompasses leadership influence as discussed in the literature on leadership by authors such as Goldman, Santos, and Tully (2008) and DellaVigna and Gentzko (2010). Mayer recognizes roles that are played by work teams in enhancing productivity of the company. In fact, the Yahoo Company promotes its employees based on their talent potential and expertise levels as opposed to time in which they have served in the organization.

Varieties of Participation

The Yahoo Company appreciates the contribution of all stakeholders in the success of the company. Increasing the share values of the company required the alteration of various ways of executing the company’s operations. This process involved change. The most desired one was the one that could increase the company’s profitability (Kvint, 2009). Mayer recognized this importance. She quitted the Google Company to face the challenge of lifting the share value of her new organization.

Literature on the participation in organizational processes documents different dimensions of participation. However, three dimensions are incredibly important in the context of the Yahoo Company. The Yahoo Company seeks to build a long-term success in the competitive market place, which is dominated by technological changes. Consequently, the organization must involve all stakeholders in innovation and creative development of new products so that it remains at par with competitors. This concern establishes the first variety of participation, namely people’s participation in organizational change. Fung (2006) holds, “some participatory process are open to all who wish to engage, whereas others invite only elite stakeholders such as interest groups’ representatives” (p.66). For instance, in the case of the Yahoo Company, Mayer invited all stakeholders to participate in organizational process of policy development and analysis of the performance of the organization in bid to establish what needed to be done to ensure that the company remained competitive.

The above assertion is evidenced by the fact that her current role in the company is to drive its success so that it can restore its past glory. She is an excellent communicator who has the capability of getting things done through people. Aligning people to a common strategic focus requires an ardent organizational communicator. Mayer is one such organizational communicator who deploys various theoretical approaches to communication in a bid to enhance her effectiveness as the company’s vision career. Participatory communication was critical in helping her and her team of experts to construct the most effective strategic plans that were aligned with the vision of the organization.

Depending on organizational structure and strategies that are adopted in the decision-making process, some organizations determine the type of participation by specifying the manner in which people share information and/or mechanisms that are adopted in the decision-making session. For instance, the board of directors or stakeholders who take part in discussion forums votes for motion or for sets of alternative decisions. Decisions that are supported by the largest number of people are selected as the ones that will serve the interest of the majority. These modes of organizational participation in the decision-making process also provide opportunities for further deliberations. Participants can provide their rationale for their assumed positions. A third mechanism of participation involves the contribution of all stakeholders in terms of designing the discussion forum in accordance with the set policies. Hence, the goal here is not to come up with policies, but to determine actions that are necessary for proper implementation of an established policy. For instance, Mayer involved all company’s stakeholders in two-way communication forums to determine what they thought about certain actions that could help in the realization of the vision of the Yahoo Company.

Power Issues

Success of any organization rests on the capacity of managers and leaders to develop effective decisions. However, decisions are of no importance if they are not enforceable. The capacity to enforce decisions depends on power contingencies. The main problems that are encountered by modern leaders entail getting things done at the right pace and in the right quality standards without compromising the competitive position of an organization. This challenge relates to the implementation of policies. Pfeffer (1992) supports this line of thought by adding that power in the form of leadership influence and coercion is important to facilitate successful implementation of organizational policies.

To influence others, a leader must understand his or her resources to accomplish certain goals, objectives, or power contingencies. Any uncertainty in the continued availability of such resources threatens power sustainability. Mayer has the power of influence. She managed to ensure that the share value of the Yahoo Company rose again in compliance with the strategic vision of her leadership. She accomplished this mission by avoiding coercion whilst ensuring delegation of responsibilities. To Mayer, dictation of responsibility was particularly a major threat to getting things done through diverse work teams.

To ensure success, motivation of employees through influence and delegation of duty for the highly experienced and talented groups of employees formed Mayer’s main contingency. Unfortunately, she does not make the overall decision on rewards and benefits that are given to employees. The Yahoo Company has organizational policies for rewarding and employee compensation. Therefore, she possesses minimal reward power. Nevertheless, her success in raising the share value of the company evidences the importance of theoretical perpectives on leadership and power application in different organizational contexts in terms of inducing change.

Reference List

DellaVigna, S., & Gentzko, M. (2010). Persuasion: Empirical evidence. The Annual Review of Economics, 2(1), 643-669.

Fung, A. (2006). Varieties of Participation in Complex governance. Public administration Review, 66(1), 66-75.

Goldman, E., Santos, T., & Tully, S. (2008). Observation of leadership and organizational behavior at McDonald’s. Journal of Management Science, 3(2), 131-143.

Kvint, V. (2009). The Global Emerging Market; Strategic Management and Economics. London: Routledge.

Menon, A., Bharadwaj, S., Adidam, P., & Edison, S, (1999). Antecedents and Consequences of Marketing Strategy Making. Journal of Marketing, 63(2), 18–40.

Pfeffer, J. (1992). Managing With Power: Politics and Influence in Organizations. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

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