November 21, 2008

The presence and effectiveness of management and leadership attributes in multinational corporations

I.       Background of the Problem

The dynamics present in a common organisation varies from one to another. As seen in numerous organisational studies, controlling and administration of these dynamics tend to fall on leaders and managers of the organisation. Seeing this, a long standing topic discussing the sameness and difference of the two concepts has been present in decade's worth of organisational and leadership studies. Basically, studies have mentioned that managers and leaders tend to differ because of the inherent difference frameworks of leadership and management. Alpander, Carter, and Forsgren (1990, 9) noted in their early work that managers have a systematic and structured way of making decisions for the organisation. On the other hand, Sosik (1998, 111) have maintained in his work that leaders often use perception and instincts in carrying out decision making practises. In the same regard, differences in the manner of treating culture (Tannenbaum 2003, 19; Barsade, Chatman, Neal, Polzer 1998, 749), competitiveness (Bass 2000, 18; McWilliams, Van Fleet, Wright 2001, 1), and change (Bass 2000, 18; Bielski 2005, 21) are similarly addressed in organisational literature. This dissertation will be trying to relate these elements to dynamics of an organisation connected to the consumer product industry.   

II.    Statement of the Problem

The study intends to find out the presence and effectiveness of management and leadership attributes in multinational corporations. Specifically, the discussions will be focusing in the behaviour of managers focusing on their display of both management and leadership attributes. The study intends to answer the following questions:

1. How do the managers solve problems for the organisation?

2. How do the managers address the culture of the organisation?

3. How do the managers tackle the competitiveness of the organisation?

 4. How do the managers deal with change in the organisation?

5. How do these leadership and management attributes of the managers contribute to the overall performance of the organisation?

III.  Methodology

The study will be using the descriptive form of research. In this study, the data acquisition method will be based on qualitative studies. This means that the discussions will essentially review empirical data established by works related to the topic within the literature. The study will be focusing on one of the leaders in the consumer product industry, Unilever. The observations, examination and arguments are to be based on the primary source of data which will come from articles and journals directly related to management, leadership principles, and the environment in Unilever. The collected data will be processed and analysed in relation with the central questions of the study.   

IV.Significance of the Study

The bulk of the literature on management and leadership tends to focus primarily on the dynamics of the common commercial organisation. This study will be a welcome addition to the abundant literature on management of multinational organisations. At some level, one of the minor intentions of this dissertation is to trigger an impetus that will prompt other academics and scholars to take on the topic of leadership and management at a wider range and with more comprehensive objectives.

V.   Scope and Limitations

The study will be focusing on the problem statements discussed in the earlier part of the paper. In this regard, the possibility of bias or any other possibility of veering away from the topic will be averted. In the same regard, the study also has an inherent limitation such that it only covers a limited number of qualitative data on the company itself. Thus, the generalisability of the findings will be rather doubtful. Nevertheless, the findings will be surely effective with the respondent organisation used in this dissertation. 


Alpander, G., Carter, K., Forsgren, R., (1990) "Managerial Issues and Problem-Solving in the Formative Years." Journal of Small Business Management. 28(2), 9.

Barsade, S., Chatman, J., Neal, M., Polzer, J., (1998) "Being Different Yet Feeling Similar: The Influence of Demographic Composition and Organizational Culture on Work Processes and Outcomes." Administrative Science Quarterly. 43(4), 749.

Bass, B (2000) "The Future of Leadership in Learning Organizations." Journal of Leadership Studies.7(3), 18.

Bielski, L. (2005) "What Makes a Good Leader? the Go-To "Guy" with Vision and Passion Will Top the Org Chart-And Lead Change Management." ABA Banking Journal. 97(12), 21.

McWilliams, A., Van Fleet, D., Wright, P. (2001) "Strategic Management of Human Resources for Global Competitive Advantage." Journal of Business Strategies. 18(1), 1.

Sosik, J. (1998) "Transformational Leadership and Dimensions of Creativity: Motivating Idea Generation in Computer-Mediated Groups." Creativity Research Journal. 11(2), 111.

Tannenbaum, M. (2003) "Organizational Values and Leadership: Learn More about the Importance of Aligning Core and Operational Values in the Strategic Planning Process and the Bottom-Line Benefits of Investing in a Performance-Oriented Organizational Culture." The Public Manager. 32(2), 19.






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