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This paper discusses the issue of leadership human resources management. While providing a descriptive and comparative analysis of typology of leadership strategies, the paper also accounts for the best managerial strategies vis-a-vis human capital, underlying the case of IBM company as an example.
College of Business
Human Resources Management
I – General Introduction
1 - Overview
2 - Rational
3 - Objectives
4 - Questions
5 - Organization
II – Review of the Literature
1 – A definition of Leadership
2 - The Relationship between Management & Leadership.
3 - Leadership and Followership
III - A Framework of Leadership in Human Resources Management
1 - Factors of Leadership
2- Leadership styles
- Autocratic leader
- Democratic leader
- Charismatic Leader
- Participative Leader
- Transformational Leader
- Servant Leader
- Laissez-Faire Leader
3 - Internal Criteria Affecting Leadership
- Personality factor & Leadership
- Knowledge & Leadership
- Performance & leadership
4- External factor influencing leadership
IV – IBM Corporation: a Leader in Human Resources Management
1 - IBM Profile
2 - IBM’s Workforce & Diversity
3 - IBM Human Capital Management
4 - IBM Recruiting
5 - Work/Life Balance
6- Flexibility/Telecommuting/Leave of Absence Programs
7- Women at IBM
Appendix : Power-Point Slides
Table of Content
I – General Introduction …………………………………………………… 4
1 – Overview ………………………………………………………………………………... 4
2 – Rational …………………………………………………………………………………. 4
3 - Objectives ……………………………………………………………………………….. 5
4 – Questions………………………………………………………………………………… 6
5 – Organization ……………………………………………………………………………. 7
II – Review of the Literature ……………………………………………… 8
1 – A definition of Leadership ……………………………………………………………. 8
2 - The Relationship between Management & Leadership ……………………………... 9
3 - Leadership and Followership………………………………………………………….. 11
III - A Framework of Leadership in Human Resources Management ... 12
1 - Factors of Leadership …………………………………………………………………. 12
2- Leadership styles ………………………………………………………………………. 13
3 - Internal Criteria Affecting Leadership ……………………………………………… 16
4- External factor influencing leadership ……………………………………………….. 18
IV – IBM Corporation: a Leader in Human Resources Management … 20
1 - IBM Profile …………………………………………………………………………….. 20
2 - IBM’s Workforce & Diversity ………………………………………………………... 20
3 - IBM Human Capital Management ………………………………………………….... 21
4 - IBM Recruiting ………………………………………………………………………… 21
5 - Work/Life Balance …………………………………………………………………….. 22
6- Flexibility/Telecommuting/Leave of Absence Programs …………………………...... 22
7- Women at IBM ………………………………………………………………………….. 22
Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………. 23
Bibliography ……………………………………………………………………………. 24
Webliography ……………………………………..……………………………………. 24
I – General Introduction
A few years ago, the goal for which Human Resources Management was created
was to make it possible for any organization to meet its strategic goals by selecting,
developing, maintaining, and effectively managing the human capital, being the most
invaluable entity of the organization’s three assets. It has been known for the human
resources department to devise an interdisciplinary examination, understanding, and
planning strategies of the human capital. However, the fierce international competition
resulted from globalization, the worldwide emerging markets, and the technological
advancement have created an urgent need for both private as well as public organizations
to work out innovative and competitive management strategies consistent with the fast-
pace changing marketplace where only the most adaptable, resilient, and customer-
centered organizations can survive. In such an environment, the duties of the human
resource leaders are no more just aligning the employees’ performance with the
organization’s strategic objectives. Further, organizations have become in need of a
Human Resources leader whose charismatic personality, well-rounded knowledge, and
task-oriented performance would enable himher to grasp the dynamic environment
within which today’s organizations operate: a know-how leader who can make the human
capital takes part in the formulation and implementation of the Human Resource policies
which stem from and influence the workplace environment.
The reasons behind selecting “Leadership in Human Resources Management” as
the core subject of this paper have been motivated by both the value of the topic and
academic motives. Leadership is a form of control which is not restricted to business
world, for it has historically maintained unity and integrity within organizations and
communities. Leadership is a rationale form of authority that any type of organization is
in need of, be it political, social, or economic. Its value duels in its mission, which is
serving through directive vision and concrete guidelines. In marketing, a number of
practitioners have sensed the importance of leadership for the success of business.
However, the fast and global socio-economic changes have obliged companies to revise
their management and leadership strategies in order to survive in the world economy.
Hence, rethinking the concept and practices of leadership in areas of Human Resources
Management or Strategic Marketing Management has become a necessarily. This is
partially why the topic of Leadership in Human Resources Management is brought in this
Additionally, having been exposed to various aspects, controversial concepts,
issues, theories, and taking a Course of Human Resources Management, I have developed
a sort of reflective maturity toward this field, and become more aware of aspects that
need more academic investigation in this area of study. In addition, my participation (as
Chaperon of a group of Business school students at Alfred University) in the 2007
Society for Human Resource Management’s – SHRM- Regional Conference1, held at
Rutgers University of New Jersey, in which a number of Human Resources well-
qualified professors, international business analysts, Chief Executive Officers of
international organizations, and over hundred of students from a number the States’
Universities meet to share their theoretical and professional expertise, was among the
reasons that motivated the writing of this paper. One of the event’s panel discussion
addressed the issue of “Professional Growth through Volunteer Leadership,” which
highlighted the crucial role of leadership in the success of organizations in the era of
globalization. Accordingly, it grew lucid in my mind the fruitfulness of writing a simple
but up-dated framework of Human Resources leadership profile, hoping that it would be
informative for any business student as well as any person has intent to learn about
leadership in the area of Human Resources.
3. Objective of this Paper
The subject of this paper revolves around the notion of ‘leadership’ in the area of
Human Resources Management. The aim is to sketch out an integrative framework of
the prerequisite features of an efficient leader in matter of Human Resources
Management. The model of “leadership,” suggested in this paper, is not an unprecedented
framework; rather, it is a modified and up-to-date approach to leadership, which takes
into consideration some of the major changes as well as previous theories and approaches
- Northeast regional student conference & Human Resources Games organized by Society for Human
Resource Management’s – SHRM- at Rutgers University of New Jersey. March 30th -31st, 2007.
of management, in general, and Human Resources Management, in specific. Hence, this
model is not the outcome of any scientific study or field work assessment. It is a mere
outcome of the accumulated knowledge, theoretical tools and approaches I have acquired
from our Academic Course of Human Resource Management, along with my
participation in the Human Resources Regional Conference, held at Rutgers University of
New Jersey, in addition to a review of literature and the outcome of my humble life-
4. Addressed Questions
On the ground of the aforementioned rationale and objectives, the present paper seeks to
answer three main questions:
1 – What are the major factors governing leadership in Human Resources Management?
Answer to this question will provide a general frame of the mechanisms – internal
and external – that both mould the leadership styles adopted by the Human Resources
leader, and map out the directions followed in the leading process.
2 – What are the different styles of leadership, and how are they characterized?
The aim behind raising this question is to highlight current leadership styles and
underlying features of each approach to leadership.
3 – Considering the fast-pace changes taking place at the global level, what are the
criteria required in today’s Human Resources leader serving international organization?
The third question is meant to develop a tentative framework of an efficient
would-be-leader in a global marketplace. The basis on which this updated model is going
to be developed is derived from two main sources: first, previous theories and models of
leadership suggested by professionals and psychologist leadership. The second source
will be derived from a focus on IBM international corporate’s leadership strategy in the
area of human resources. Notably, answers to these questions are not based on any
scientific experiments or empirical data. Rather, they tentative answer based on analytical
study, supported by an overall review of literature. That says that the paper does not
claim any generalizable results or recommendations.
This paper is made up of four parts. Part one is a form of a general introduction,
containing a general review, rationale, objectives, and the addressed questions alongside
the organisation of the paper. Part two covers the review of the literature, related to the
scope of topic: thus, a thorough definition of leadership, management, and followership is
going to be catered for. Part three outlines a framework of Leadership in Human
Resources Management; in this vain, both internal and external criteria constructing the
profile of an efficient leader are to be mapped out. Besides, a review of major styles of
leadership is to be discussed, followed by the four Factors governing Leadership within
an organization, namely: 1) Leaders, 2) followers, 3) Communication, 4) the Context. In
part four, discussed is a model of human resources leadership in today’s global
organization: the case of IBM Organization will exemplify of adopting a model of a good
leadership in the area of Human resources management. The paper will be concluded by
a recapitalization of the main points discussed in this paper.
II – Review of the Literature
The issue of leadership, in general, has long occupied the timely and spatial
contexts of a number of theorists and thinkers in all fields of science and human
interactions. Its importance resides in its intrinsic value and tremendous impact on both
individuals as will as organizations, for it is an intellectually all-encompassing subject.
Ironically enough, this area of study remains a puzzling topic, in most of its parts,
because the topic has not yet been experimentally investigated; and there is not up till
now any scientific study on leadership. This is why there is hardly a consensus on an
exact definition of the concept.
1- What is “leadership?”
I n “ T h e I m a g e : K n o w l e d g e i n L i f e a n d S o c i e t y , ” Kenneth Boulding
defines “leadership” as “a process by which a person influences others to accomplish
an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and
coherent.2 ” In this vain, leadership in human resources management reflects an
individual’s abilities to efficiently direct a group of individuals or workers toward
achieving pre-set goals of a given organization or company of which they are members.
These abilities can be summarized in high personal attributes, diversified intellectual
background, and professional performing skills, all of which make of an individual a
charismatic leader who is considered as a model to be followed. Being as such, a leader is
not only expected to have a clear vision on the future of the organization but also required
to communicate this vision with the employees and make them active participants in its
realization, by providing them with both directions and motivation. Leadership process,
in this respect, appears to be synonymous with management practices in the sense that
both managers and leaders hold the same responsibility towards their organization, and
have a direct authority over the latter’s employees; thus, leadership style can be also
applied to management style. However, a number of strategic management theorists
underline a difference between the two processes.
- Kenneth Boulding, The Image: Knowledge in Life and Society.
2 - The Difference between Leadership and Management
One of the main factors distinguishing between management and leadership is
highlighted by Hersey, P. and Blanchard who consider management styles as a part of the
whole leadership process. According to both theorists,
"Leadership occurs any time one attempts to influence the behavior of
an individual or group, regardless of the reason. . . . Management is a
kind of leadership in which the achievement of organizational goals is
That says that the primary role of management within an organization is to align the
employees’ performance with the organization’s strategic objectives, which is just one
form of leadership. Another distinction has to do with the nature of power both a manager
and a leader hold within the organization. While a manager has a legal power derived
from his professional status, the leader derives his power from the influence s/he might
have on his followers. Hence, a manager has the authority to boss people around because
of the power s/he has over them; whereas, a leader’s power is represented in his capacity
to make his/her followers want to achieve given goals. Further, leadership is perceived as
inspiring in its overall vision regardless the reasons or goals behind it; contrastingly,
management anchors on the realization of a concrete plan in a specific time frame.
Warren Bennis4 drew a lucid dichotomy between the duties and roles of a leader and a
manager in an organization. For him, Leaders’ interests revolve around establishing clear
vision, direction, goals, efficacy, purpose, and the trust-inspiration of the followers.
Managers, on the other side, are concerned with short-term achievement by controlling
the workers’ performance. Further, Managers administer while leaders innovate. They
have their eye on the bottom line with a focus on systems and structure of the
organization; whereas leaders have a wider vision of the horizon with a focus on people.
Indeed, contrasting both processes may prove to be informative in terms of the
nature and roles of leadership and management. However, these distinctions tend to
- Hersey, P., Blanchard, K.H (1977), Management of Organizational Behavior: Utilizing Human
Resources, 3rd ed, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs.
- Bennis, Warren. (1989). On Becoming a Leader: “Thoughts on Leadership,” Addison Wesley, New
picture management in a traditional and inferior form of control in the sense that it is
inflexible and rather bureaucratic process: it deploys the human, financial, technological,
and natural resources in meeting the companies preset goals as opposed to the dynamic
and strategic process of leadership, depicted as human-capital and creativity-inspiring
dynamic. In this vain, John Kotter (1990) introduces a new dimension, perceiving both
processes as different in function, but none is necessary favored over the other. He
decrees that both are equally necessary for the effective running of an organization:
“Leadership is different from management, but not for the reason most people
think. Leadership isn't mystical and mysterious. It has nothing to do with
having charisma or other exotic personality traits. It's not the province of a
Buchanan and Huczynski (2004) align with the latter trend and design a frame work of
various functions in the agenda of both leaders and managers. Figure .1 summarizes
Buchanan and Huczynski’s model6. Other Human Resources analysts argue that a
comprehensive definition of the concept of “leadership” is better achieved through
understanding the intrinsic leader-follower and/or leadership-followership correlation.
Leadership functions Management functions
Creating an agenda Establishing direction: Vision of Plans and budgets: Decide
the future, develop strategies for action plans and timetables,
change to achieve goals allocate resources
Aligning people: Communicate Organizing and staffing: Decide
vision and strategy, influence structure and allocate staff,
creation of teams which accept develop policies, procedures
validity of goals and monitoring
Motivating and inspiring: Controlling, problem solving:
Execution Energize people to overcome Monitor results against plan
obstacles, satisfy human needs and take corrective action
Produces positive and Produces order, consistency
Outcomes sometimes dramatic change and predictability
- Kotter, John .P. (1990). A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs From Management. New York:
- Buchanan, D. and Huczynski, A. (2004). Organizational Behavior: an introductory text (5th
edition).Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Figure 1: Leadership and Management (Buchanan and Huczynski, 2004, p 718 - based on Kotter,
3 - Leadership and Followership
Current analysts have shift their focus toward the followers/employees, and followership.
Robert Greenleaf7 has lately introduced the concept of followership, being a crucial
factor in shaping the form and function of leadership, alongside a profile of theleader.
The concept “servant-leadership,” according to Robert, refers to the leader’s commitment
to serve his employees, organization, and society. True enough, employees represent
keystone in the life and function of the leaders. The latter, in fact, do not choose to be so,
but they are made by the group which shapes their aspirations and values. For example,
part of being an effective leader is having excellent ideas, or a clear sense of direction, a
sense of mission. But such ideas or vision are useless unless the leader can communicate
them and get them accepted by followers. Once this reciprocal communication is
blocked, leaders become lost, out of touch, and unwanted by the group. Thus, the more
the leader-follower interaction studied, the better the process of leadership is understood
and can be theorized for the sake of designing training programs and academic
curriculum aiming at making the process of leadership a systematically transferable core
of skills in the field of human resources in particular.
- Greenleaf, R. (1970) Servant as Leader. Center for Applied Studies.
III - A Framework of Leadership in Human Resources Management
1 - Factors of Leadership
Like in any other form of organization, leadership in a business organization is governed
by four factors: 1) led, 2) leader, 3) communication, 4) situation.
- The Led: Also known as follower, it refers to the staff members or employees
under the leader’ responsibility. In order to establish mutually successful report with the
led/employees, the human resources leader has to know every single employee’s
experience level pertaining to the assigned job, confidence level, and how best they can
perform under different working environment. On the ground of this knowledge of the
led, the leader can evaluate the level of competence, motivation, and communication
skills needed for his/her employees. These thee points are very essential for
understanding the nature and qualification of employees, which, in return, would help
adjusting the appropriate leadership style according to each individual worker’s needs.
For example, an experienced worker might need less monitoring than an inexperienced
one; an unmotivated employee may require different approach than a highly motivated
one. In order to come to this level of understanding, the leader needs to devote much time
in understanding the human capital under his/her responsibility, because it is the
followers who may determine whether or not an individual is a successful leader.
- The Leader: as a leader, one has to have a comprehensive grasp of who s/he is,
as a person, a professional, and a leader. Besides, the leader has to delineate the repertory
of his/her general and professional knowledge as Human Resources employer. Being
aware of what one knows implies that one is able to decide what s/he can do as Human
resources leader. In short, leaders have to have a good understanding of their personality,
knowledge, and performance.
- Communication: Part of the leader’s duties is to communicate ideas/messages
on a regular basis with all the employees. The formulation of the communicated ideas can
have either positive or negative outcomes on the employees’ understanding and
translation of the messages into concrete actions. Therefore, the leader has to be clever in
selecting the communication channel – oral, written, or physical- the context, and timing
of message delivery: effective communication does not only strengthen the relationship
between the leader and the employees but it also influences the organization’s
performance and image.
- The Situation: this is a dynamic factor that requires the leader to be situation-
oriented in his/her problem-solving skills. For so doing, the human resources leader has
to perpetually consider four main variables in every situation, including: the task, the
timing, the staff available for task, and the subordinate competence level. A leader may,
for instance, need to decide on an employee’s inappropriate behavior in the workplace;
the choice of the time, the context, and the nature of the punishment itself has to be
consistent with the nature of the mistake; otherwise, the confrontation might be
ineffective. Indeed, these four factors – the led, the leader, communication, and situation
– are said to govern the roles of the human resources leader in the sense that help
determining preferred leadership styles that would align with the culture and vision of a
2- Leadership Styles
Leadership styles in Human Resources Management is mainly defined by the culture
of the company as well as the leader’s values, skills, and the given situation that might
favor a certain style over others. Based on marketing theories and assumptions, various
leadership styles are derived and deployed according to the above mentioned factors.
Recorded literature on Leadership in Organization8 suggests seven leadership styles:
below is a precise feature of each of the leadership styles adoptable in the Human
- The Autocratic Leader
This approach to leadership is characterized by the leader’s complete control of
the employees’ actions and task performances in the sense that the team has little, if not
no, say in decision making. Leaders, in this case, usually give directions and expect
outcomes rather than negotiating or taking roles in teamwork. Autocratic leadership may
prove to be useful in some situations where the organization operates under pressure.
- Goodworth, C. (1988). The Secrets of Successful Leadership and People Management. ( Heinman
Professional Publishing, 1988), pp.10-15.
However, this style of leadership might not be appropriate especially in modern and/or
- The Democratic Leader
In companies where the human resources department is managed by a democratic
leader, employees’ participation in decision making is highlighted. Workers, for instance,
have a moderate space of freedom to determine the ways certain tasks are to be
accomplished; they can even select the people who might perform those tasks, while the
leader keeps his/her sights over his/her team performances and intervenes whenever need
be. By directing themselves, workers gain more and more motivation and self-
empowerment. A democratic leader, also, encourages group discussion, and draws a pool
of plausible suggestions from his/her led for the sake of improving team collaboration.
- The Charismatic Leader
Charismatic Leaders are good listeners and speakers who pay great of their
consideration to their surrounding environments. Their mastery of verbal and body
language makes them persuasive. Besides, they are very attentive in listening to the
person they converse with making that person charmed by them. Charismatic leaders
also are vigilantly aware of the environment within which they operate, and are good at
uplifting the self-esteem of the workers. They do so by using a wide range of
communicative interactions and motivational tactics. They are also known for
incarnating a trustworthy profile through visible self-commitment and assumed-
responsibilities. The Charismatic leader gathers followers through dint of personality
and charm, rather than any form of external power or authority. Charismatic leaders
usually work on building up the concept of “group” within which they try to fuse
themselves along with their employees, a fact which makes the followers less
individualistic in their performance and strongly committed to the service of the group at
large. In short, charismatic leadership encompasses sensitivity to the environment,
sensitivity to member needs, personal risk taking, and performance of unconventional
- Participative Leadership
The participative leadership is one of the most favored styles of leadership
among organizations. It is also referred to as management by objectives, joint decision-
making, and power-sharing. This technique is not much different from democratic
leadership. The human resources department that adopts this style seeks to involve its
workers in decision making process in order to foster their commitment and
collaborative spirit, and it believes that there is no one way of doing business, which
makes the workplace environment supportive as well as flexible.
- Transformational Leadership
Transformational leadership style is an inspiring technique that injects
enthusiasm and passion toward work in the souls of workers. The latter usually
appreciate transformational leadership style because it uplifts their professional
experience and nurtures them with passion toward their job. The transformational
leader usually starts with the development of a vision, a view of the future that would
excite and convert followers into potential leaders. This vision may be developed by the
leader or it is already set by the organization's strategy. Next, the leader has to commit
him/herself to market the vision to the employees, a task which requires a great deal of
energy, perseverance, and persuasive skills. For so doing, the leader has to set clear and
step-by-step directions for the actualization of the vision. Furthermore, what makes
employees enjoy this leadership style is its being people-oriented and its focus on the
success and development of the human capital as well as the company's productivity.
- Servant Leaders
The servant leader style is a current approach to leadership that has been wildly
talked about recently by many Human Resources analysts. As its name implies, a
servant leader is meant to serve the needy led by helping them to improve their
professional performance and achieve remarkable outcomes. Spears, L. C.9, for instance,
- Spears, L. C. (2002). "Tracing the Past, Present, and Future of Servant-Leadership." In Focus On
Leadership: Servant-leadership for the Twenty-first Century, (pp. 1-10). New York, NY: John Wiley
argues that "listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization,
foresight, stewardship, commitment to growth of people, and building community" are
the pivotal touchstones that make of a given person a servant leader. In short, the form
of leadership is characterized by the leader's complete devotion to the led.
- The Laissez-Faire Leader
Laissez-Faire leadership stands on the other side of the autocratic approach. The
laissez-faire leader usually exercises little control on his/led. S/he so does because he
trusts his/her team’s high proficiency and expertise. That is, this method of control is
most likely operative in organizations where workers have already reached a discernible
level of professional experience along with awareness of the culture of the organization.
Again, there are situations where the Laissez-Faire approach can be effective. Indeed, the
Laissez-Faire technique can be successful with skilled workers, known for their excellent
To put it in a nutshell, there are different styles of leadership. Each style has its
inherent strengths and drawback. The leader has to determine which leadership style is
efficiently operational with which company and under what circumstances, because
every company has its identical culture, structure and statement of mission; hence, a
leader is expected to scrutinize all these variables before deciding on the leadership style
to be adopted. Having said so, we now need to understand the factors, both internal and
external, that shape up the profile of a good leader.
3 - Internal Criteria Affecting Leadership
Lewis H. Lapham, once said, " leadership consists not in degree of technique but
in traits of character; it requires moral rather than athletic or intellectual efforts, and it
imposes on both leader and follower alike the burdens of self-restraint." This testimony
reveals how important personality traits are in determining the profile of a good leader.
However, a leader is neither born with these personality characters, nor is s/he born a
leader. Leaders are made and not born: every one has the potential to be a good leader,
through an ongoing process of self study, education, and professional experience. This
raises the question of what are the mechanisms that shape up the profile of a good leader
of Human Resources Management.
- Personality Mechanisms
The "Trait Theory" of leadership, as explained by Bass (1990), holds that some
personality traits are the main predictors of a would-leader. Some of these traits are self-
esteem, self-efficacy, integrative-motivation, self-commitment, integrity, trust, courage,
creativity, imagination, and straightforwardness. Hence, a Human Resources Department
whose leader is a trustworthy, risk taker, creative, and respect for his/her employees, the
latter's respect toward this leader would most likely grow.
Understanding of the Leader's duty
Besides having consistent character traits, a good Human Resources leader has to
have a bulk of valid and reliable knowledge. In this vain, to be a hankered-for leader, one
has to have an axiomatic grasp of:
- Himself/herself as person and a leader: one has to know his/her strengths and
weaknesses in terms of character, knowledge, skills, and professional performance.
- His/her duties as a leader, along with the needs of the led.
- The nature of the organization, including its culture, vision, mission, goals and
- The communication tactics and tools to be used in every situation.
Indeed, though personality traits along with knowledge are crucial assets a good
leader should incarnate, performance is what actually matters in the professional life of
the leader. From the stand point of the employees, a good leader is judged according to
his/her behaviors that have direct influence on both the human capital and the
organization. Therefore, to be efficient in his/her performance, the leader has to be able to
translate his/her character, values, vision, and knowledge into concrete actions, and
operational guidance. The leader, for instance, is required to:
- Set measurable goals, and negotiate the implementing strategies, decision-making and
problem solving processes with the workers.
- Maintain high team-work spirit and motivational incentives, through rewards and
appraisals for excellent workers.
- Provide moral as well as material support to less qualified or novice employees.
- Maintain a regular coordination, supervision, and evaluation of the team's productivity.
The aforementioned mechanisms (personality factors, knowledge, and
performance) are basically intrinsic factors that construct the persona of a good leader.
There are other external variables influencing the performance and overall philosophy of
the Human Resources leader.
4- External factors Influencing Leadership
As mentioned earlier, every organization has its identical nature of doing business
or services. Environment, climate, and culture are the underlying constituents that define
the nature of a given organization, and influence the leadership style to be adopted.
-The Environment of Organizations
The concept of "environment" in the sphere of business is the sum up of the
organization's goals, mission statement, philosophy, ethics and standards. The
organization environment does not only affect the leader's performance but also every
individual working for it.
- Climate of Organizations
Climate of a given organization is directly influenced by the board of managers
and leaders' actions and behaviors within the workplace. Climate, in other terms, is the
body of beliefs, values, and attitudes of the employers and employees towards
themselves, their work, and their customers. Of course, every leader, no matter how
his/her leadership style might be, contributes in and incarnates the climate of the
organization to which s/he works for.
- Culture of Organization
The organization's culture displays the set of customs, vision, expectations,
routines, rituals, and way of doing business that a company embraces. It is a long-term
process which combines the past with present and influences the future of the firm. As a
leader, one can not easily change aspects of the company's culture, but might affect its
climate as long as the newly introduced practice or behavior does not conflict with the
vision or goals of the organization.
Studying both internal and external mechanisms that shape the profile of a leader
reveals the complexity characterizing the duty of a leader. This complexity does not stem
from the nature of the duty, but emanate rather from the unpredictable dynamics
surrounding the professional environment of the leader.
IV – IBM Corporation: a Leader in Human Resources Management
1 - IBM Profile
With over 350,000 employees worldwide, International Business Machines
Corporation, known as IBM or "Big Blue"; is the largest multinational computer
technology corporation, headquartered in Armonk, New York, USA. The company is one
of the few information technology companies with a continuous history dating back to
the 19th century. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware, software,
infrastructure services, hosting services and consulting services.
2006, IBM has fallen to second behind Hewlett-Packard in total revenue. It has
engineers and consultants in over 170 countries, and IBM Research has eight laboratories
worldwide. IBM employees have earned five Nobel Prizes, five Turing Awards, five
National Medals of Technology, and five National Medals of Science. As a chip maker,
IBM is among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders10.
2 - IBM’s Workforce & Diversity
In the 1990s, two major pension program changes, including a conversion to cash
balance plan, resulted in an employee class action lawsuit alleging age discrimination.
IBM employees won the lawsuit and arrived at a partial settlement, although appeals are
still underway. IBM also settled a major overtime class-action lawsuit in 2006. Although,
there has been recently a number of sweeping cuts to the workplace, IBM has had a good
reputation of long-term staff retention with few large scale layoffs. Its efforts to promote
workforce diversity and equal opportunity date back to World War I, when the company
hired disabled veterans. It provides employees' same-sex partners with benefits and
provides an anti-discrimination clause. The Human Rights Campaign has consistently
rated IBM at 100%, the highest score, on its index of gay-friendliness since 2003. IBM
was the only technology company ranked in Working Mother magazine's Top 10 for
2004. In 2005, IBM became the first major company in the world to formally commit to
not using genetic information in its employment decisions. This came just a few months
after IBM announced its support of the National Geographic Society's Geographic
3 - IBM Human Capital Management
As far as human capital management in IBM is concerned, the value placed on the
employees was set long ago by the founder of the company Thomas J. Watson who said
in1926: “They say a man is known for the company he keeps. We say in our business that
a company is known by the men it keeps.” Indeed, respect of the employee’s rights and
dignity has been one of IBM basic beliefs in managing its workers. This belief has been
maintained by one of IBM most successful leader and Chairman, Thomas J. Watson, Jr.,
who always stressed on helping each employee to develop his potential and make the best
use of his abilities. Hence, the human capital management has historically been of
paramount importance: two-way communications between manager and employee is one
of the main features characterizing the leader-led interaction, devoting more time to
people than the company’s products, and respecting opportunity for a fair hearing and
equitable settlement of disagreements. Over the years, IBM has implemented a number of
innovative programs, policies and practices that demonstrate and sustain respect for its
employees. Among them are:
• The Open Door policy
• “The Speak Up!” Program
• Comprehensive Employee Opinion Surveys
• Effective Internal Communications and Informational Media, such as Business
Machines and Think magazines,
4 - IBM Recruiting
IBM is committed to a diversified workforce and actively seeks qualified
candidates who know the needs of markets the company serves, including women,
minorities, people with disabilities, and gays and lesbians. Each year, IBM recruiters
attend more than 40 diversity-focused conferences and career fairs to recruit from these
constituencies. IBM.s innovative "Why work?" marketing campaign, which began in the
spring of 1999, is designed to reach the best and brightest campus and professional talent
through a compelling dialogue about IBM’s strengths: its people, the work, the rewards,
and its global presence. The organization is also an active participant in Entry Point
program, sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, IBM
and NASA, dedicated to placing disabled young people in business and industry and
preparing them for corporate and community leadership. For instance, the Project Able is
an effort to significantly increase the representation of disabled employees at the
workplace. The program’s goals include establishing a network of champions for
disabled employees throughout the company.
5 - Work/Life Balance
In 1984, IBM became the first major employer in the nation to establish a
dependent care network for its employees. In July 2000, the company announced the
creation of a five year, $50 million global fund to develop and support work/life
programs in communities where its employees live and work. Programs range from new
child care centers and science/technology camps for school-age children to collaborations
with other companies to expand existing child care centers. Between 1990 and 1994,
IBM invested $25 million to develop new or expand existing child and elder care
facilities and programs through its Funds for Dependent Care Initiatives. Between 1995
and 2000, the company has invested a total of approximately $150 million in dependent
care services to help employees better manage their work and personal lives.
6 - Flexibility/Telecommuting/Leave of Absence Programs
More than 80,000 IBMers participate in the company’s telecommuting programs,
which offer employees the ability to work from a customer’s location, on the road, or at
home. IBM’s industry leading workplace flexibility programs offer employees the option
of varying their daily arrival time and work hours, subject to local management approval.
The leave of absence programs provide up to three years leave for parenting, dependent
care or for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, subject to management approval.
7 - Women at IBM
IBM has a long history of commitment to the advancement of women in the
workplace11 , hiring its first professional women in 1935 and its first woman vice
president, Ruth Leach, in 1943. In 1995, the company formed its Global Women Leaders.
Task Force, which later initiated employee work/life surveys in the Americas, Europe and
Asia Pacific; a series of Global Women’s Leadership Conferences; the creation of
Women of Color and Women in Technology sub-committees, each of which has
conducted global conferences; and the formation of local women’s networks around the
world. In the United States, the number of women in executive positions totaled
approximately 21 percent at the end of 1999, growing from a total of 351 women
executives in 1998 to 445 at the end of 1999. Globally, women comprise almost 18
percent of the IBM worldwide executive population. The number of women executives
around the world increased from a total of 399 in 1998 to 508 at the end of 1999. In 2000,
in recognition of its long-standing commitment to the advancement of women, IBM was
one of three companies honored by Catalyst, the New York City-based women’s
Thanks to its commitment to maintain the well-being of its human assets, IBM
has gained a respectful reputation in human resources leadership worldwide. This success
has been brought about due to company's creative and ongoing research and innovative
programs which improve the social and professional experiences of the employees. With
the uncompromising belief that the human capital is the most invaluable asset of any
organization, IBM has smartly and perpetually managed to formulate an authentic Human
Resources leadership style that answers to the corporation’s goals, values, and culture as
well as the changing environment of the global market.
- Bennis, Warren. (1989). On Becoming a Leader: “Thoughts on Leadership,” Addison
Wesley, New York.
2 - Buchanan, D. and Huczynski, A. (2004). Organizational Behavior: an introductory
text (5th edition).Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
3 - Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper & Row
4 - Goodworth, C. (1988). The Secrets of Successful Leadership and People
Management. ( Heinman Professional Publishing, 1988).
5- Greenleaf, R. (1970) Servant as Leader. Center for Applied Studies
6 - Hersey, P., Blanchard, K.H (1977), Management of Organizational Behavior:
Utilizing Human Resources, 3rd ed, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs.
7 - Kotter, John .P. (1990). A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs From
Management. New York: Free Press.
8 - Musser, S.J. (1987). The determination of positive and negative charismatic
leadership, Grantham: PA: Messiah College.
9 - Spears, L. C. (2002). "Tracing the Past, Present, and Future of Servant-
Leadership." In Focus On Leadership: Servant-leadership for the Twenty-first Century.
New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.
10 - Tannenbaum, A.S. and Schmitt, W.H. (1958). How to Choose a Leadership
Pattern. Harvard Business Review.
1 - www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadcon.html. Kenneth Boulding, The Image:
Knowledge in Life and Society.
2 - http://library.indstate.edu/servlead
3 - http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~gerard/MENG/ME96/Documents/Styles/styles.html
4 - www.ibm.com/diversity
5 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM