Leadership And Change Management: Woolworths Limited Essay


Discuss about the Leadership and Change Management for Woolworths Limited.



Woolworths Limited is one of the topmost companies in Australia and has extensive areas of retail interest in several parts of Australia and also in New Zealand. Though the company had incurred a significant loss recently, the trust and the success of the company were not at all hampered. This is due to the fact that the company has succeeded in providing a good and a wide range of services to its customers. From the start of opening its new store to the present scenario, the company has gone a long way. The situation for the company was not always favourable but it was due to the proper management or leadership of the authorities and managers that Woolworths has achieved the stature it has reached at present.

Leadership skills

While understanding the leadership skills of the managers and the leaders of the Woolworths group, it is essential to keep in mind that it is their constant support, dedication and valuable inputs that have helped the company reach the heights it has achieved today. The industry dynamics can be static as well as evolving. The dynamics of the industry help in understanding the future performance of the industry in the different sectors it is present in. It is found according to popular studies and reports that the biggest of the retailers feel the pressure of numerous challenges on a daily basis as well as over a longer period of time.

Of the few dominant retail giants and several other smaller competitors, the Woolworths Group is huge and has almost 30 million customers. The Woolworths industry has faced problems with the strategic management of the branding and made changes to the advertising agency framework. The organisation expects highly competitive market positions and concentrates on improvement of the supply chain productivity by the method of cost reduction. The organisation belongs to an industry where there is high risk as well as intensive competition.

There are several existent theories of leadership including the situation theory, contingency theory, behavioural theory, participative theory and McGregor theory.

The situational theory of leadership suggests that there is no particular leadership style by itself which is the best. It is dependent on the situation at hand, the people involved with whom the managers have to work and also the type of tasks and work at hand, including the several other factors which contribute towards the completion of the work (Doppelt, 2017).

The contingency theory of leadership is a bit similar to the situational theory of leadership in the sense that it suggests that there is no single style of leadership and it has to be adapted to context and situation as well as the dynamics of the system. The nature of the people being led, the mindset of the leader, his mental strength as well as the tasks facing a particular group are different factors that influence a leadership role and responsibilities based on the contingency theory (Aaker & Joachimsthaler, 2012).

Behavioural theories of leadership focus on the study of particular characteristics of a leader, as the best predictor of leadership influences is a leader himself, and he is also the best possible determinant of his leadership success (Hornstein, 2015). Behaviours have a huge amount of possibility to be conditioned as different leaders are bound to have specific stimuli to specific circumstances. There are specifically two types of leaders according to the situation namely task oriented leaders as well as people oriented leaders. These leaders are not much concerned with the staff motivation but usually favour behaviours involving initiating, clarifying, organising as well as information gathering (Cameron & Green, 2015). Another type of leaders are people oriented, who focus on satisfying the inner needs of the people who work with them. These leaders focus on staff motivation through emphasis on human relation. These leaders achieve goals by encouraging, observing, listening as well as coaching and mentoring their staff (Hayes, 2014).

Participative leadership is a type of leadership style that takes into account t he suggestions as well as the ideas of others. The participative leadership is one in which leaders encourage all sorts of participation and contribution from group members and help them feel more accountable and committed to the decision making process (Matos Marques Simoes & Esposito, 2014). In this particular leadership style the leader works in order to enhance the teamwork and ensure the improvement of communications among the employees and also better their morale (Hargreaves & Fink, 2012).

The McGregor Theory of leadership considers the assumption that there are two different types of leadership, style X and style Y. The authoritative style of leadership is the most important leadership style in style X, where system of work commitments rewards and punishments are incorporated. Theory Y comprises of the thought that different people have different needs and they can work towards their goals by the organisational objectives and they desire to gain the most by methods of rewards appreciation as well as motivation (Daft, 2014).

In the backdrop of the Woolworths Company, it is to be noted that the company has been able to prosper due to proper guidance and management from the higher authority. The CEO Brad Banducci was instrumental, in the success of the Woolworths Company and had significant traits which are worth studying. He has always been a huge performer and has dominated whatever category of responsibilities he has been assigned with. The CEO, Banducci is a fitness enthusiast and also desires to bring about a zen-like approach to the steady improvement of the supermarket business of Woolworths. He has adopted several plans for bringing about the desired supremacy of the Woolworths Group.

There are several reasons which contribute to the success of Brad Banducci as a leader. He has been educated as well as experienced in the retailing forte as many of the commerce lessons where experienced quite early in his life. He is extremely well educated and possesses degrees in law as well as commerce. He possessed the qualities of being argumentative as well as logical from a very early age and this made him even more successful as a CEO (Northouse 2015).

The different types of leadership being discussed it can be said that the Woolworths company is such a type of organisation which demands active engagement with the people and also needs to give proper motivation to the employees and the group members. The members of the group also need to be aware of the company state at all times and should be asked for valuable suggestions which are a characteristic of participative leadership. The CEO Brad Banducci fulfils his role promptly and always tries to maintain the culture of the company. It will be wrong to pinpoint therefore on a single leadership style which best suits the company. Instead it might be said clearly that the best traits of leadership need to be incorporated taking help of the models and the CEO, managers as well as the people in other authoritative positions need to successfully establish the company in a top position and lead it to heights of global success (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2013).

It should be a duty of the leaders to maintain a balance between the concepts of transactional as well as transformational leadership in order to improve the leadership activities and responsibilities suitably. It needs to be understood that a balance is necessary between getting work done and motivating the employees and members of each group to perform better which are mentioned in transactional and transformational leadership styles.

An important aspect of organisational performance improvement is the overcoming barriers for change. In this connection, anticipating the change barriers is an important step. In case of large organisations often it becomes difficult to maintain a connection between the topmost positions and the workers at the bottom levels. In order to overcome this issue, the managers at the topmost authoritative positions need to hire intermediary managers to overcome such barriers in the communisation which might negatively impact the overall performance of the organisation and it might continue to operate with inherent flaws in the internal management system.


From a proper study of the Woolworths organisation, it being a retail chain having extensive services all around Australia and even New Zealand has been able to maintain and improve its position with each passing day due to the successful leadership abilities of its managers and the skilled and high level performance of the workers in all the centres. It is necessary to understand that a company is not made by its managers alone but survives because of its workers and also by the joint efforts of each individual of the society. It is necessary therefore to work as a team and it is crucial for the leaders to maintain the balance between the transactional and transformational leadership methods to emerge better leaders and contribute to the overall success of the organisation.


Aaker, D. A., & Joachimsthaler, E. (2012). Brand leadership. Simon and Schuster.

Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2015). Making sense of change management: A complete guide to the models, tools and techniques of organizational change. Kogan Page Publishers.

Daft, R. L. (2014). The leadership experience. Cengage Learning.

Doppelt, B. (2017). Leading change toward sustainability: A change-management guide for business, government and civil society. Routledge.

Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. E., & McKee, A. (2013). Primal leadership: Unleashing the power of emotional intelligence. Harvard Business Press.

Hargreaves, A., & Fink, D. (2012). Sustainable leadership (Vol. 6). John Wiley & Sons.

Hayes, J. (2014). The theory and practice of change management. Palgrave Macmillan.

Hornstein, H. A. (2015). The integration of project management and organizational change management is now a necessity. International Journal of Project Management, 33(2), 291-298.

Matos Marques Simoes, P., & Esposito, M. (2014). Improving change management: How communication nature influences resistance to change. Journal of Management Development, 33(4), 324-341.

Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.

How to cite this essay: