The 7-Eleven Corporation is a leading privately held operator, licensor, and franchisors of convenience store. Since its inception in 1927, the company operates about 34,800 stores in more than 17 countries (Paul 2015). Uncle Johnny initiated the idea that saw the company offer the products needed by clients. This convenient store was an idea that was born out of Uncle Johnny and Joe C. Thompson. With the growth of customer’s appeal, the co-founders expanded the product line, and opened Tote’m, the convenient outlets (Paul 2015). By 1946, the company changed the name to 7-Eleven to reflect its extended working hours. In the 1950s, the convenient stores grew at unprecedented rate thus opening new stores across the country. In fact, it created a chain reaction and a drink revolution to meet the raising demands of customers. Primarily, the organization operates in Canada and the United States. With its headquarters in Dallas, Texas, the company runs a network of convenient stores. Interestingly, since its establishment, the company has used license and franchise model to operate. The independent gasoline retailer different range of merchandises and various beverage and food products, beauty products, apparel, household products, health products, tobacco and alcohol products among others. Similarly, the organization further offers gaming card, music card, gift and phone cards.
Despite its current financial strength, the company has faced criticism for being ruthless and exploitative to its workforce. It has incessantly rorted wages of workers (Ferguson, Danckrt, & Toft 2015). The wage scandal contravenes the Fair Work Act as should be practiced in all the companies. although the government has set the minimum pay at $24, the company is offering its workers $10 per hour before tax. it emerged that workers in seventy-five percent of its stores are victims. The joint media investigation exposed the biggest corporate wage fraud at the company (Ferguson, Danckrt, & Toft 2015). in fact, the employees also work for over 70 hours a week without the overtime payment considerations as explained by Ferguson and Danckert (2016a). Ferguson and Danckert (2016b) has also highlighted the scandal relating to the failure by the convenient store “to pay state payroll tax” (par. 1).
The NSW and Victoria state government have opened investigations on the company and its franchisees. For instance, the issue over paying employees $5 per hour was the worst wage fraud scandal. Apart from underpaying the workers, the company is accused of failing to act on bullies. the bullying tactics has affected the firm because employees are intimidated and threatened. For example, Franchisee Helen Ren was compelled by the head office staff to sign termination contract (Ferguson & Danckert 2016). Willacy (2016) also shared a video on how workers of the company were “forced to payback wage in cash” (par. 1). therefore, the organization seems to have contravened the state and commonwealth taxation laws. The falsification of the records of employees is also rampant in major convenient retailers across Australia. These actions expose unethical leadership culture that needs to be investigated and assessed.
Ren Zhengfei and Leadership Style
Zhengfei has turned Huawei into the leading for-profit organization. He represents the heroic leaders in the world who have responded to opportunities and changes in the market, economy, customers, and society. The CEO has designed effective strategies that had made the company a successful investment story. Since its inception in 1987, Huawei has battled for space in China (De Cremer & Tao 2015b). the fighting spirit of the CEO made the company to resist negative influence that making it a true international Chinese company. By 2014, the company’s revenue and profits were $46.515 billion and $4.29 billion respectively (De Cremer & Tao 2015a). Given the Huawei’s success, it is important to interrogate the driving force and philosophy of the management. The CEO has established a long-lasting blueprint to take the company to a higher level.
The rotating leadership system embraced in the company that has seen leaders rotate after every six months has had a significant impact on the performance (Irving & Longbotham 2007). Zhengfei’s leadership is purpose-driven because he has been clear regarding the purpose of the organization. This has helped the customers to recognize their dreams. Zhengfei has thus made the company’s natural mission by being good to customers thus connecting to the customers through communication. The figure below defines the leadership secret that has made Huawei succeed in the competitive business environment.
The company also embraces an adaptive vision based on Zhengfei’s translation of the purpose into vision. This has ensured the organization achieves a global status (De Cremer & Tao 2015a). In fact, the CEO has incessantly designed strategies that have ensured the organization adapts to the challenging business environment. As part of the management process, the CEO has opted for an adaptive vision that never compromises on the values and purpose of Huawei. Zhengfei has the ability to reflect on the past successes in identifying the future challenges. This has made him an impactful leader. Zhengfei has simplified management and created a condition that allows the firm to incorporate the creative chaos into the management model. Zhengfei is an inspirational business leader that has made him inspire workers. he is an aerator who uses stories to encourage others. he used his leadership ability to mentor and lead employees in achieving the organizational goals.
in the Chinese context, leadership is founded on “a hierarchical top-down management system” (De Cremer & Tao, 2015a, par. 9). However, Zhengfei has opted for a directive management style because he enjoys the ability to make all the decision. Indeed, the Huawei is a controlling leader because of his army background, where he served as a member of the People’s Liberation Army. Zhengfei retains the authority on various decisions such as culture building and corporate development strategies. Interestingly, he has empowered his employees relating to manager appointment, R&D, benefit and compensation allocation. This has allowed the managers to be creative and active. Zhengfei uses a standardized institutional decision-making model because the collective decision-making establishes an opportunity for collective wisdom and fewer mistakes. The CEO has created a culture that allows winning by cooperating (De Cremer & Tao 2015a).
Jack Ma and Management Style
Alibaba is one of the online companies that has improved and implemented management systems based on different styles that fit different companies worldwide. The online company founded by Jack Ma embraces the autocratic management styles that have made its workers more responsive because of the nature of work (Pyne 2016). Indisputably, the concept of authoritarian leadership denies employees their freedoms, in particular, during decision-making process. McGregor (2014) affirms that Jack Ma changed his leadership style by adopting a conducive management approach. The move has helped him build a strongly loyal and motivated workforce. According to Ee and Yazdanifard (2015), Jack Ma has mastered the persuasive leadership model throughout his career at Alibaba. The richest Chinese investor, Jack Ma (Ma Yun) founded this internet-based company as a business of convention. For instances, it only connects businesses thus acting as a marketplace (Li 2008). The significance of this business is founded on the quality suppliers with trustworthy ratings.
Alibaba has remained successful because of the autocratic management model. To the founder, this important management system has enabled it to remain relevant and successful in the market. Previously, the founder, Jack Ma made various experiments various management styles before settling on the autocratic model (Ee, & Yazdanifard 2015). Jack Ma recognizes the challenges many managers experience due to inflexibility. According to McCleskey (2014), an autocratic management style allows the leaders to reach unilateral decisions without consider the input of other stakeholders. Therefore, the decisions made reflect the personality and opinions of the leader (Hsu 2013). However, as the organization expanded, the company attracted experts who brought new ideas. The founder had to accommodate them by introducing a conducive management style. Jack Ma knew that the inputs of the experts would be relevant if the management was open to them. To this effect, Jack Ma created an environment that allowed teamwork to thrive (Gough 2014). Nonetheless, the conducive management was also dictatorial because the executive decisions were made after considering the interests of workers as explained by Willacy (2016).
The dictatorial and autocratic management models reduce employees to spectators. In fact, they depend on the leaders or managers for everything (Prez-Cerezo 2013). However, Jack Ma recognized the need to change the management style to meet the anticipated outcome. He later embraced persuasive management style that he has embraced in his career at the company (Li 2008). For example, after the company started operating on a global scale and it required foreign partners. At some point, Jack Ma demonstrated democratic management style as reported by Shearer (2012). It emerged that Jack Ma understood the significance of power and democracy and how the mix can bring positive results. With the democratic management style, the leaders allow workers to make decisions based on the majority rule. This leadership style has enhanced the decision-making in a complex situation were specialist skills are required as explained by Sin-Kwok (2010).
Jack Ma has helped the company to make relevant decisions that are relevant to the business environment. Unlike other companies, the mix of this leadership style has made Alibaba relevant (Solomon 2014). The walking around management style seems to make the managers visible (Steadman 2013). Jack Ma “Managing by Walking Around” has never bred laziness but remained around. Steadman (2013) argued that Jack Ma led by example because he was a proactive listener. In most cases, the managers using this style gathered enough information relating to challenging environment thus avoids problems. Therefore, listening to employees is essential in addressing the concerns because there is a formal communication channels as defined by Watling (2014). Schepp, Schepp and ebrary (2010) explained that Alibaba has achieved its incredible success because of the management team that embraces different managerial styles. The situational leadership has produced results by enhancing its global penetration.
Relating the Leadership Style in 7-Eleven
7-Eleven company has mastered the act of autocratic leadership model. At the company, nobody questions the decisions of the managers. In Huawei, the situation is different because Zhengfei has given room for positive criticism that makes him a better manager. According to Benfari (2013), the most dominant leadership styles evident today are laissez-faire, democratic, and autocratic styles. Indisputably, the company in question uses autocratic leadership style. In any organization, there exist three management levels including top, middle, and low level managers. The top management takes the responsibility for the business and planning functions. The middle cadre managers are involved in organizing, planning, and implementing the guidelines provided by the managers (Amanchukwu, Stanley, & Ololube 2015). The lower management controls, directs, and supervise employees.
Based on the company’s philosophy and mission, it embraces a servant leadership approach. The company has recognized the values of teamwork, recognition, and accountability as it invests in the service-oriented culture (Paul 2015). Indisputably, sharing leadership is an effective practice because companies must use teams to accomplish their important tasks. With the competition the 7-Eleven experiences, it is high time to make employees work as teams. Team performance and company performance are in tandem because an organization can only achieve high performance based on the strength of its teams. The team members and individuals have to adapt to the market dynamics and demands to remain relevant. In a fast-paced business environment, Paul (2015) affirms that a leader should acknowledge the skills and knowledge of every employee. To this effect, teams have to learn to remain effective so that they can make diverse contributions.
Like Huawei, 7-Eleven requires an effective leadership who embraces teamwork. The employees have to assume various leadership functions and duties in their field of specialization (Graca 2015). The move allows the organization and the team to accomplish their demands and tasks successfully. Shared leadership has enhanced the accomplishment of highly complex duties needing specialized skills and knowledge. Nobody can be the master of everything. To this effect, the input of others would benefit the organization (Erkitlu 2012). This leadership style also encourages creativity and encourages workers to produce alternative ideas.
Team leadership is becoming the best model in the modern business environment. It allows the managers to use cross-functional and dispersed styles to influence their decisions. 7-Eleven’s junior leaders must understand that a single person can never make a difference without the input of others (Zakkour 2014). They need to use situational leadership approach to respond to the dynamic market environment. According to Avolio, Walumbwa and Weber (2009), an interactive leadership model ensures the manager predicts the organizational behaviour. This is what will make the company great because it embraces team leadership. The interactional leadership has helped companies to embrace their workers and treat them as internal customers.
Based on the company’s vision of “Be the Best Retailer of Convenience”, the organization has failed to meet this vision (CSNews Staff 2014). It has mistreated its internal customers. The organization needs to avoid using the top-down leadership approach in handling the managerial duties. With the changes experienced today, the convenient store should move fast and develop the best culture that embraces workforce input. The leadership must accept these changes and allow workers to work in a good environment. By creating the team culture and adopting a structure that implements delegation, or establishing a horizontal organizational structure, it would be prudent for the firm to avoid issues with employees.
7-eleven requires proper strategies to redeem its image relating to the leadership ethics. The company has been blamed for engaging in underhand dealings such as mistreating workers. Despite the company’s mission of serving clients with quality services, the organization has failed in this mandate. Recently the company has been blamed of violating the Fair Work Act 2009 by paying its employees as low as $5 dollars per hour. This unacceptable practice taints the company’s image. The company has also violated the taxation laws in different countries that have exposed it to various legal battles. Based on this article, it is evident that the convenient store should adopt the best leadership approaches to redeem its image. For instance, Alibaba and Huawei have employed successful management culture to succeed in their respective industries. Despite the company’s focus on servant leadership, its managers, especially the lower managers have used autocratic leadership where managers are never questioned by the subordinates.
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