Introduction: Our chosen organization is Vodafone. Vodafone is in existence from 1984. At that time it was formed as a subsidiary of Racal Electronics Plc. In 1991 it completely demerged from its parent company i.e. Racal Electronics Plc & then it got its present name as Vodafone Group Plc. At present Vodafone is the world’s leading telecommunication organization, with a mark able presence in countries around the world, whether it is Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific or United States. Lonely it has 323 million customers (www.vodafone.com) all around the world.
Why Vodafone: I Choose Vodafone because its large geographic area of operation provide diversity to its operation process, activities in the organization, culture at organization and on as a whole completely different entities existing all together. It gives a good blend of maintaining Brand Image and organizational values along with the localization of the products & services. This gives us chance to have a look upon different kinds of cultural & leadership traits in the same organization. This kind of organizations gives us a perfect example of unity in diversity.
Now coming upon different kinds of traits found in the organization, we have many traits being followed in Vodafone such as Autocratic, Bureaucratic, Democratic, Charismatic, Transformational and many more. These all have their importance in their desired positions and timings. But among these there are four majorly popular leadership styles which are more prominent in Vodafone Group Plc. These leadership styles are given ahead.
- Transformational Leadership: This is a kind of leadership in which the leaders are highly and spend very much time in communication with their team members. The Transformational leaders always lead from the front & just delegate the roles and responsibilities among team members. A Transformational leader is a leader in true sense as he/she inspires the other team members with his leadership skills, vision and enthusiasm. In Vodafone all the executive and top management staff personnel are example of this style of leadership. They inspire their sub-ordinate staff to perform better and better.
- Democratic Leadership/Participative Leadership: This type of leadership is style is usually found in Vodafone particularly at sub-ordinate staff level. At that level there are many decisions which affect the larger number of peoples. In these kinds of situations this type of democratic leadership style becomes must for the betterment of the organization.
- Task Oriented: This kind of leadership helps the Vodafone in usually marketing department where the managers are more concerned with the sales and targets achieved. This leadership style has helped Vodafone to acquire a customer base of 323 million users as taking the user-base of the subsidiaries in the proportions of their stake.
- Situational Leadership: Although all other type of leadership styles have been and are being proved beneficial for the organization, but these all styles have something or other lacking. So, the best leadership style applied is the Situational Leadership as it takes benefits and traits of all other leadership styles as according to the situation. This style removes all lacking from leadership style. The only cause of concern in this leadership style is this that all the decision of traits altering would be dependent on leader’s discretion. So here the actual leadership skill takes most from any manager or an executive.(University of Wales, library)
Situational variables have influenced Leadership in every era in every part in every season to every possible extent. Now this is different thing that in some situations the impact seen is lower and in some situations it is more. In Vodafone also the situational variables have impacted the organization very much. So the different variables such as increasing environmental issues, growing powers of the different economies, Political relations, the inflation and deflation in different countries, GDP growth in countries, their exposure to external risks, culture of the different operating regions, current financial meltdown have also impacted the Growth of Vodafone Growth Plc. A brief description of these is given below.
- Growing Environmental Concerns
All around the world the people are raising concerns over the environmental issues, whether be increasing global warming, depleting ozone layer, decreasing agricultural land or animals becoming instinct. Increasing wireless communication is concerned as a big cause of disturbing the natural life cycle. So, this has posed as a threat to the Vodafone as well being a mobile operator service provider. So, in these kinds of situations usually the bureaucratic leaders are preferred so that they may tackle the problem and may get a consensus on the issue. Only this would help in uninterrupted working of the organization and to maintain growth. Thus this situational variable has emphasized the presence of a bureaucratic leader in the organization. This may result in other leaders adapting the bureaucratic traits or recruiting new bureaucratic leaders.
- Growing powers of different countries.
Now a day we all know that the developing economies are becoming stronger and stronger day by day. More and more powers are concentrating around them. So to grow with the time Vodafone also has to get presence in these countries. This is because these countries have great opportunities of growth and are providing resources to develop. So at this stage more and more transformational leaders are required, who must be adaptable to the conditions of the organization in new operating division. Only these transformational leaders can inspire the local talent to perform and to make them prosperous by making organization’s growth faster. So this situation favors the Transformational Leaders.
- Political Relations
In present scenario almost every country has hard feelings (if not exactly hard then at least non-supporting) feelings towards at least one other countries at the political level. We can take the example of any Islamic country. In present situation almost every Islamic country has non-supporting attitude towards the United States and its citizens. So Vodafone cannot take risk to send any of its staff people to move from US to any Islamic country. This situation favors the autocratic leaders as they can have work from the employees even at the cost of their desires.
- Current Financial Crises
Current financial crisis has caused many job lost and losses of many billions to the organization. This has decreased the morale of the employees of the organization concerning about job security and financial soundness. This very position favors the transformational and charismatic leadership who may again raise the morale of the employees and fill motivation among them.
So at different times different situational factors affect and favor the different leadership styles. But real leader are those who survive in every condition and sustain their organization throughout.|(Miintel),(Datamonitor,London)
Like other multinationals Vodafone also faces problem in posing a single brand and culture along with accepting the locality in their products and services. To have a right way of communication they have to have a right culture in every subsidiary and operating sub-units. Every division must have traits like being a local company so that it may get confidence of the customers and would be able to grow further. Vodafone has also accepted the culture according to their operational base and according to the geographic area in which they are working. Although they have changed their HR activities in different countries, yet they have reserved their self challenging, inspiring, passionate traits within them. Few points from their success stories which came from their culture (either directly or indirectly) can be given as
- Promoting Leadership: Vodafone has always promoted in built leadership in their employees. It is due to their Natural talent that they are so passionate that they take their job as joy and perform really better than they usually had performed. Because of born talent they not only perform to their best rather they also inspire others to perform up to their maximum. They motivate them to such an extent that they make their unit performance felt apart from other divisions.
- Originating Passion: Vodafone has a history of inculcating passion in their employees. The culture prevailing in the organization makes the employees so passionate about their work that they not only work but they perform in and for the organization. It is a similar trait found in every business unit of the Vodafone Group Plc.
- Producing Energy: Vodafone Group Plc has always supported an energetic culture. In this kind of culture every employee himself/herself performs his/her job more sincerely and efficiently. In the work culture given by the Vodafone employees bound to give results and make it more successful day by day.
- Creative: Vodafone Group Plc has always been known for its innovation in the industry. It has been most innovative organization throughout the world. This is only the culture of the organization which supports the creative thinking of the employees and not only support but also appreciates their ideas as well. This innovation based culture has helped to a great extent to Vodafone Group to increase its customer base become number one in world in telecommunication service industry.(The times)
- Knowledge Based: Vodafone has always supported and appreciated the knowledge in the employees. The top management of the organization is the proof of the knowledge assessment and support. The culture in Vodafone values the knowledge of a person in spite of their family background, their color, their gender, their religion or the region they belong to. They recruit they best suited people for the job and make no discretion in the compensation paid to them.(organizational Behavior)
Overall the culture at the Vodafone takes best out of the employees and in return also makes them happy. Vodafone group believes in the basic human tendency that if you will care the people, they will return the same, i.e. because Vodafone takes care of their employees, employees in turn give their best make Vodafone to perform even better than the every time.
At present the Vodafone Group Plc is the leading mobile operator in the world. It has been able to develop emerging leaders to successful businessmen. There are many stories which give validity to the same fact. On the other hand it has also one of the best employers in the world due to its culture and opportunities provided by them. The culture provided by the Vodafone Group Plc has been able to maintain its talent pool throughout the world. Although having many such successful stories in the Vodafone Group Plc, still it has many aspects which are still to be concerned in Vodafone Group. Some of these may be listed as follows.
- Promoting the new dimensions in leadership.
Vodafone has always followed the existing leadership styles. New leadership styles may give more valuable outcomes than the traditional ones. New situational style of leadership has proved more effective as compared to others.
- Probably too much emphasis on Leadership.
It is true that leadership development has proved fruitful for Vodafone Group Plc. But sometime, when the person does not possess leadership qualities, then wealth and time wasted in inculcating leadership qualities among in him/her may cause loss to the organization as a whole.
- May produce jealousy among employees
The employees who don’t possess leadership qualities may feel jealousy towards the employees who possess. It is because the persons with leadership skills would be promoted earlier and would also be benefitted more than them.
- Easy acceptability
The employees in the Vodafone Group are adaptable, but to a certain extent. This extent may depend upon their back ground, physical conditions around them, their culture, their religion etc. So, to make them easily adaptable to any kind of environment is a really difficult task to achieve.
Although Vodafone Group Plc has won many awards for its good culture in organization, yet there are some issues like discrimination, which are still there in the organization. These pose problems to the employees at many times. These issues are still to be tackled carefully because it is not only harming the organizational culture, but also encouraging the similar activities in the society as a whole (.www.12manage.com)
So, Although Vodafone has emerged as global leader in mobile services operators developing great leaders and enriching the society by providing great place to work, yet there are some areas to look upon, which are deteriorating the organizations performance as well as the Brand Equity among its stakeholders.
Foti, R.J., & Hauenstein, N.M.A. (2007). Pattern and variable approaches in leadership emergence and effectiveness. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 347-355.
Zaccaro, S. J., Gulick, L.M.V. & Khare, V.P. (2008). Personality and leadership. In C. J. Hoyt, G. R. Goethals & D. R. Forsyth (Eds.), Leadership at the crossroads (Vol 1) (pp. 13-29). Westport, CT: Praeger.
Kenny, D.A. & Zaccaro, S.J. (1983). An estimate of variance due to traits in leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 68, 678-685
Julian Steward 1955 Theory of Culture Change: The Methodology of Multilinear Evolution University of Illinois Press
Hasell, Nick (1999-06-30). “Scramble for Vodafone as blue chips retreat”. The Times (Times Newspapers).
Reguly, Eric (1996-11-20). “Vodafone pockets Peoples Phone”. The Times (Times Newspapers).