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Leading Business Organisations Assessment | Management

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Assessment Brief

Part 1 - Reflective Statement (PowerPoint Presentation) : 1000 Words (30 Marks)

Question

1. Why do aspiring leaders need to have a clear understanding of leadership theories and organizational behavior? (5 marks)

2. What are the main contributions that individuals, leaders, and stakeholders make in creating and executing the mission and vision of an organization? (5 marks)

3. Why do aspiring leaders need to understand a broad range of potential leadership strategies (and specifically change management strategies) in order to maximize organisational potential in a variety of different business contexts? (5 marks)

4. Why do aspiring leaders need to be able to critically evaluate a range of motivational (employee engagement) theories within a specific organisational context? (5 marks)

How would you define your potential leadership style?

What are your key strengths? What are your key challenges?

What personal development do you need to undertake in order to develop your leadership ability?

(10 marks)

 

Part 2 – Management Report based on the Case Study: 2500 Words (60 Marks)

The Boeing Company is an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, satellites, and missiles worldwide. It also provides leasing and product support services. It is among the largest global aerospace manufacturers; is the fifth-largest defense contractor in the world and is the largest exporter in the United States.

It recorded US$93.3 billion in sales in 2017 and was ranked 24th on the ‘Fortune Top 500’ list and 19th on the ‘World’s Most Admired Companies’ list in 2018.

Some of its current projects and initiatives include:

• Jet Biofuels

Boeing estimates that biofuels could reduce flight-related greenhouse-gas emissions by 60 to 80%. The company is informally collaborating with leading Brazilian biofuels maker Tecbio and Aquaflow Bionomic and other fuel developers around the world. So far they have tested six fuels from these companies. Likewise, Air New Zealand and Boeing are continuing to research the jatropha plant to see if it is a sustainable alternative to conventional fuel.

• Electric Propulsion

Given that hybrid-electric propulsion has the potential to shorten takeoff distance and reduce noise Boeing has determined that hybrid-electric engine technology is by far the best choice for its subsonic design of NASA's N+3 future airliner program.

• Corporate Citizen Programme

Boeing runs a corporate citizenship program centered on charitable contributions in five areas: education, health, human services, environment, the arts, culture, and civic engagement. Boeing spent US$147.3 million in these areas through charitable grants and business sponsorships in 2011.


Boeing’s Political Contributions, Federal Contracts & Advocacy

In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama "was by far the biggest recipient of campaign contributions from Boeing employees and executives, hauling in US$197,000. Likewise in 2008 and 2009, it was second on the list of the Top 100 US Federal Contractors having secured contracts worth

$22 billion and US$23 billion. It spent US$16.9 million on political lobbying in 2009 and secured the highest ever tax breaks at the state level in 2013.

The organisation is a member of the US Global Leadership Coalition that advocates for a larger International Affairs Budget to fund American diplomatic and development efforts abroad. A series of emails have demonstrated how US diplomats and senior politicians regularly intervene on behalf of Boeing to help boost the company's sales.

Public Criticism of Boeing

Since 1995, the company has paid US$1.6 billion to settle 39 instances of misconduct, including US$615 million in relation to illegal hiring of government officials and improper use of proprietary information in 2006.

The non-partisan organization Public Campaign criticized Boeing for spending US$52.29 million on lobbying and not paying taxes during 2008–2010. It was particularly concerned about the US$178 million in tax rebates it secured despite making a profit of US$9.7 billion; laying off 14,862 workers and increasing executive pay for its top five executives by 31%.

President, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Board of Directors: Boeing

Since joining the organisation in 1985 Dennis Muilenburg has held a wide range of engineering, management and key executive roles. He is currently President, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Boeing. He became President in 2013, CEO in 2015 and Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2016.

He has earned a reputation as a high-energy CEO bicycling 140 miles a week, sometimes taking groups of employees along for high-speed bonding sessions.

Business Education

Muilenburg graduated in 1982 for Sioux Center High School in Iowa. He received a Batchelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University followed by a Master’s Degree in Aeronautics Astronautics from the University of Washington.

Earlier Career

Muilenburg started his career as an Aerodynamics Engineer. He has held numerous management and engineering positions in various programs throughout his thirty-four years with Boeing.

 Leadership Style

Muilenburg’s hands-on background has granted him valuable insights as a leader in the aerospace industry. “I have always loved airplanes and spacecraft and the design element,” he says. “Growing up as an engineer has given me a certain intuition about the business and I think that technical depth and intuition is something that is helpful to me as a leader today. It gives me an understanding of our customer needs, the products we develop and the importance of the talent of our people.”

The following are key elements of Muilenburg’s approach to leadership:

• A willingness to draw upon a wide spectrum of talents

He believes “it is vital to understand where you may have gaps in your knowledge or experience and to surround yourself with a team that complements that. I’m a big fan of having a team with different thoughts and backgrounds and experiences, that makes for a better enterprise and better decision making.”

• An important mission ...

Inspiring people to produce their best work is essential in aerospace where failure can have catastrophic real-world consequences. He says: “Ultimately, people’s lives really do depend on what we do and this drives the sense of excellence in how we do it. Our mission is an important and worthy one and I think all of our people can connect to that mission. They can see their daily job is connected to it.” Likewise, he believes “it’s very important that we all have a common understanding of our purpose as a business – what we aspire to – and a strategy for achieving it. We know that we work on things that really matter. We connect people all around the world with our airplanes, satellites, and communications. We protect freedoms and work with servicemen and women around the world. We explore the edges of space and we know that astronauts depend on what we do there.”

• Charting the Course ...

One leadership behavior that is fostered across Boeing is known as “charting the course.” He says “that’s the idea of being strategic, being able to see around the next corner, being able to envision the future and then to be able to layout a strategy that defines the path to it.” When celebrating the organisation’s centenary in 2016 he said “There has never been a more exciting time in our business. We’ve seen more innovation than we ever have. We’re bringing the new commercial airplanes to the marketplace like the 737 MAX, the 77XX and the 787. We’re bringing in new space vehicles for low-Earth orbit travel and I’m firmly convinced that the first human foot that sets on Mars will arrive there via a Boeing rocket. All of this paints a very exciting vision of the future. It’s a great opportunity for us but it’s important that we lay out a strategy that can turn it into a real plan and deliver on that vision.”

Current Leadership Challenges

Boeing is currently at a defining moment in its history. Muilenburg needs every ounce of energy he’s got as he faces one of the worst crises for Boeing in over fifty years - two fatal airline crashes that have killed 346 people. Both incidents are linked to the automated flight controls of the 37 MAX and have led to the grounding of the company’s bestselling airplane.

The stakes for Boeing and Muilenburg as its CEO are huge. The 737 accounts for 33 percent of Boeing’s revenue and almost 55 percent of its profit, according to Berenberg analyst Andrew Gollan. Deliveries of new aircraft have been halted since the airplane was taken out of service worldwide after the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March 2019. A number of Airlines are demanding compensation and the company faces scrutiny from the US Congress, a Department of Transportation inquiry and a Federal Criminal probe. The value of the company’s shares have fallen by 10% and lawsuits filed by relatives of those that have died could take years to conclude.

Many observers are very critical of Boeing and specifically Muilenburg for the public handling of the crisis. Until late May 2019, Muilenburg was largely invisible and the company’s public statements whilst expressing sympathy for the families and friends of the deceased were short on substance.

Jeffrey Sonnefield (Professor of Leadership: Yale School of Management) commented as follows “I give them a B! Muilenburg needs to put a human face on Boeing, get out in public and engage with the media to try and correct misperceptions and address the many questions about what went wrong, even if he doesn’t have any ready answers to offer.”

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