Carly Fiorina’s leadership style was more autocratic. Task orientation (concerned with the organisation and procedures) was high and the people orientation (concerned with feelings and views of people) was low. It would have also been a reason for HP’s success. It doesn’t mean that she was not at all concerned with the views of people, but she gave more preference to task orientation. Fiorina introduced a policy of laying-off the bottom five percent of under performers, in order to push performance standards up at HP.
This policy was in sharp contrast to the earlier HP culture, where poor performers were given a chance to improve over a one-year period. The new approach was so similar to the ‘ABC system’ (categorizes high performing and under performing employees) followed by GE that critics said ‘Fiorina looked like she would be the next Jack Welch. ‘ Fiorina encouraged employees to take more risks for faster decision-making. Before, people were reluctant to make decisions until they had all the facts. Fiorina has changed that. She has made it okay for people to take risks and go with just 80 percent of the data.
Some of Fiorina’s leadership characteristics, however, met with a less positive response from the employees. Lay-offs, they said, had become so frequent and widespread in HP that a culture of fear prevailed among HP employees. Employees no longer felt secure in their jobs. Some employees of HP found Fiorina’s attitude arrogant and self-serving. There was a belief that the previous CEOs talked about the company as we. But Fiorina may have used the word I too much. Fiorina demonstrates that there are a lot of styles out there. That’s great for women.
It makes a nice contrast to some of the stereotypical notions of women in leadership roles. CONCLUSION The real challenge for Fiorina still lay ahead. HP needs to increase its revenue that had been stagnant for several years. Fiorina had succeeded in bringing HP’s PC business back into profit. The trend of HP’s printing and imaging division accounting for most of the company’s profits is continuing. The credit for this goes to the way in which Carly Fiorina leads HP. A successful strategy is one where it is designed to work with the current and future environment.
Strategic Change is not a crisis solution. Fiorina cannot rely on a successful strategy for long. She should revitalize HP’s competitive advantage continuously as new market players enter and current competitors imitate the offerings. However change is not always successful and the reasons may be abundant. APPENDIX 1 The HP WAY-HP’s ORGANISATIONAL VALUES HP’s organisational values shaped its strategies and practices, including Management by Wandering Around (MBWA), Management by Objectives (MBO), the Open Door Policy and Open Communication. The HP Way became the center of HP’s management style.
Individuals at each level contributed to company goals by developing objectives, which were integrated with those of their superiors, as well as other departments. Flexibility and innovation in recognizing alternative approaches to meeting objectives provided an effective means of meeting customer needs. Written plans ensures that accountability existed throughout the organisation. OPEN DOOR POLICY This policy gave employees the freedom to express their dissent with the management without having to worry about adverse consequences. The policy was based on trust and integrity.
It encouraged the employees to speak out openly on issues relating not only to the business or the job but also the progress of their own career. OPEN COMMUNICATION HP believed that people performed well, given the right tools, training and information. Open Communication aimed at promoting teamwork among employees, customers and other stakeholders. MANAGEMENT BY WANDERING AROUND (MBWA) This informal communication practice helped managers to get updated on activities in their departments. A manager always reserved some time to walk through the department or be available for impromptu discussions.
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