The selected company is Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is an American retail company that operates in many other different parts of the globe. It is worth noting that the company is ranked the third largest public company around the globe. Additionally, the Fortune Global 500 list ranked the company the largest employer. It employs over two million employees in all parts of the globe that it operates in and it is always focused on ensuring that the welfare of its stakeholders is promoted effectively. For instance, the mission statement of the company is to help customers save money. This indicates its commitment to ensuring that the welfare of customers is promoted as they derive satisfaction from products and services offered by the company. Mike Duke, who is the president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. was the leader that was interviewed. As a president and CEO of all Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. he has to ensure that all operations of the company are as smooth as possible for the company to continue providing its quality services and products to customers. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. runs many stores in different parts of the globe, and each of these stores has its own CEO, who reports to Mike Duke. The CEO is focused and is determined to ensure that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. remains the best company ahead of its competitors in the market. Accordingly, Mike Duke agrees with the fact that it is a big challenge for anyone to lead such a company and achieve the set targets. However, continued cooperation and establishment of effective channels of communication make it simpler for Mike Duke to work with the required level of concentration and determination.
This paper explicates different issues arising from the debate with Mike Duke and provides a literature review about the leadership style that he uses.
Notably, Mike Duke utilizes democratic style of leadership. Democratic style of leadership entails giving employees of staff the opportunity to make decisions in an open manner. Decisions made by the majority are always embraced and lead the company in its performance. Therefore, Mike Duke utilizes democratic style of leadership with the belief that decisions made by employees of the organization would play a vital role in leading towards achievement of goals. Mike Duke is also motivated to use democratic style of leadership because it promotes openness within the organization and makes communication more effective between different departments and individuals. This is imperative in leading towards achievement of organizational goal of making a profit and responding to the needs of various stakeholders. Mr. Duke demonstrates democratic leadership style by giving organizational employees the opportunity to make decisions. Notably, decisions are not made and imposed on employees at the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. as all employees have the right to state their position and decide on key decisions that can help the company progress. Additionally, he demonstrates democratic style of leadership through encouraging open communication channels within the organization. Open communication channels give organizational employees the opportunity to assert their matters in an open manner and ensure that they are attended to as required. This promotes democratic space of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Last, Mr. Duke demonstrates democratic style of leadership by delegating some of his responsibilities to other individuals. Delegation entails assigning other individuals some parts of work that was supposed to be done by the leader. This indicates the trust existing between the leader and people offering services to the organization. Therefore, he delegates some of his duties to exhibit democracy and ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to perform a challenging leadership task.
One of the key qualities of Mr. Duke is that he establishes an example that is followed at all times. Mr. Duke exhibits exemplary character at all time and is always focused on ensuring that he shows the best example possible to all other individuals within the organization. In line with the quality of exemplary character, Mr. Duke upholds integrity, transparency, accountability, and fairness in all tasks he performs. He believes that other individuals within the organization would be able to follow the example that he depicts and embrace the highest level of cooperation while performing their duties. Again, he believes in walking the talk and ensuring that most of the promises are delivered within the correct time. This promotes trust within Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. hence ensuring that company’s successful operations are enhanced.
Another significant quality of Mr. Duke is confidence. He upholds the highest level of confidence, which enables him to work properly in the organization. He is extremely confident about his leadership role and believes that each of the goals set by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. will be achieved through this confidence. With the quality of upholding confidence, Mr. Duke inspires other individuals within the organization ensuring that they are able to work accordingly towards achievement of the objectives of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. This confidence also reflects on the objectives of the company hence boosting their implementation.
He exhibits the characteristic of flexibility. He is able to adapt to different situations as they arise and accommodate changes within the organization. Mr. Duke’s character of being flexible has played an assistive role in promoting innovations within Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Additionally, the company has been able to pick up new trends and technologies that facilitate its progress towards the achievement of the desired goals. Depiction of flexibility also facilitates informed decision-making within Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. as it accommodates newer ideas that could be more progressive.
More so, Mr. Duke exhibits the proactive characteristic that enables him move better than most of other individuals within the organization. The proactive characteristic is motivated by the fact that he is supposed to be ahead of all other individuals. Therefore, he attends to all matters in the fastest manner possible and seeks to get first-hand information in most of the matters talking place in and outside Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The proactive behavior also promotes calculated decision-making and handling of different matters that take place in the organization. This promotes prosperity of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and ensures its success in the retail industry.
He exhibits conceptual skills in his daily life. These skills enable individuals to think widely before making any particular decision that would have an effect on the operation of the company. Mr. Duke reiterates the fact that he always has to think outside the box in order to come up with the best decision. He reiterates that an organization can only be shaped through excellent thinking and not through local thinking. All other Chief Executive Officers need to broaden their minds in making decisions that touch on their organizations. They need to think wider out of the box in order to come up with unique decisions that would help them survive the enormous competition offered by other businesses in the market. Therefore, Mr. Duke holds the position that he loves exercising conceptual skills, especially in the making of decisions to ensure that effective decisions are made.
Communication skill is also a significant skill that Mr. Duke has. He is an orator in the making and knows how to communicate with people in all situations. He understands the manner in which to address problems, happiness, and decisions of the company. Excellent communication skills have been crucial in holding Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. together at all times. Problems and any other threats facing the organization have been addressed significantly through decisions that are made through superb communication skills that promote coordination in the organization.
Mr. Duke motivates and empowers his employees through delegation of duties. As noted earlier, delegation of responsibilities entails assigning other employees tasks and responsibilities that were supposed to be undertaken by the manager. It is vital to note that most employees are always motivated and empowered as they feel honored to contribute to duties and responsibilities at the managerial level. This implies that they are able to work with all their commitment to attain the goals of the organization and ensure that it remains stable in the market. Again, performance of the challenging managerial functions that Mr. Duke delegates enables employees to remain loyal to the organization as they feel appreciated by the organization.
He also recognizes and appreciates all employees as they work hard towards the improvement of the performance of the organization. Mr. Duke is always appreciative and ensures that he recognizes all employees at their different levels of performance. Employees at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. feel appreciated in cases where they feel that they are appreciated and recognized by the organization. Their performance is recognized and they are always awarded with bonuses and presents that they deserve because of their excellence in a particular area. Therefore, employees always feel motivated and empowered through the motivation schemes utilized by Mr. Duke at the Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Provision of training programs in the organization also ensures that employees are motivated and empowered to continue with excellent performance of their functions. Mr. Duke reiterates that employees at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. feel good in cases where they are given an opportunity that would ensure they develop their skills further. Therefore, training programs have been put in place to ensure that employees, even those employees working at the lowest level, get the opportunity to access available training facilities. Training programs give employees the morale to continue working in the organization with the highest level of motivation toward the achievement of their personal and organizational goals. Again, skills that they acquire through training enable them to feel stronger and empowered to continue working towards the achievement of the goals of the organization.
Appraisal of employees is also taken seriously in the organization. Mr. Duke affirms that he has put in place an appraisal program that works in line with the required level of fairness and the recognition of all employees who excel in particular areas. Employee appraisal is an annual affair and is always focused on ensuring that employees work with high levels of motivation. Gifts are always in place to empower them and ensure they deliver the best in all the areas they perform their functions.
Notably, Mr. Duke is always on the frontline when it comes to addressing any changes that have to take place in the organization. His key role is to inform individuals about the desired change and the measures that the organization has taken to ensure that all employees work effectively without interference. Mr. Duke notes past organizational change that took place in his company. He points out the change at the time of introduction of a new software program that could be used to keep data about different events that took place in the organization and enhance performance of different functions in the company. He claimed that most employees were skeptical about the change, and some of them were worried that they could lose their jobs. Introduction of the new software was not meant to displace anyone from performance of his/her duties, but was geared towards ensuring that the organization used the opportunity to progress with proper keeping of records and monitoring of other activities within the organization.
The rationale for change was to phase out the traditional system of data keeping that was deemed slow and led to the loss of most information relating to the company. New software was meant to enhance the performance of Wal-Mart through effective record keeping and monitoring of activities. Mr. Duke played a big role in introducing change as he urged employees to remain calm and appreciate the change. He prepared employees to embrace the change by convincing them that it was tailored to make their performance better and better each day they work at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Communication was one of the key strategies employed by Mr. Duke in addressing some level of resistance that was observed in the organization. As noted earlier, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has an open communication system that facilitates effective and complete access to information by all individuals in the organization. Mr. Duke had to communicate with employees in the organization convincingly and encourage them to embrace the change that was going to happen. He also had to ensure that the organization achieves its targets. He also had to tell employees that new software was only going to make their work better as it will assist them in delivering their duties in the organization. Effective communication ensured that rapid change was introduced as most employees started embracing the idea of changing the old systems and introducing new software.
He also had to utilize his negotiation skills to address the issue of resistance to change in the organization. Mr. Duke reiterates that he had to negotiate with employees to accept the change as it would promote efficiency of performance in the organization. He also had to negotiate with employees and assure them that the new change was not going to affect their positions in the organization in any particular manner. He understood that most employees tended to resist the implementation of new software because of its deemed complexity and the threat it posed to their position in the organization. Therefore, he stepped in by appropriately negotiating with employees in the organization. Rapid change was embraced since most employees understood what the change meant to them and to the entire organization.
Strategies that Mr. Duke utilized to address the issue of resistance to change and implement rapid change were effective. It is vital to note that communication and negotiation strategies were effective as they enabled most employees to understand the need for change and hence embrace it gradually. Employees were also able to understand why change had to occur fast in the organization. These strategies were successful as they changed attitudes and perceptions that most employees held about the introduction of new software system in the organization. Employees were able to realize that the change was inevitable and that it was the only strategy that the organization could utilize to stay ahead of its competitors. Therefore, communication and negotiation strategies employed by Mr. Duke were effective as they made employees understand the reason for change and the urgent need for change within the organization.
Various researchers around the globe have conducted extensive studies about democratic style of leadership highlighting significant matters relating to it. This part of the paper reviews the studies conducted by different researchers and explain the manner in which they apply to Mr. Duke and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
The research conducted by Choi (2007) indicated that democratic style of leadership will only succeed in cases where the leader embraces values such as integrity, accountability, and openness to conduct different activities. In his research, Choi highlighted vital characteristics that a democratic leader is supposed to have to perform his functions within the organization. For instance, a leader can only be considered democratic if he/she allows organization's employees to participate in the decision-making process of the organization. Again, Choi claims that utilization of democratic leadership style in the organization will lead to increased morale and improved performance of employees in the organization. According to the research conducted by Choi, a democratic leader gets automatic support from followers and is success in all his/her operations in the organization. This assertion proves the fact that democratic leadership style increases the level of coordination and improves performance of employees in the organization. It is significant to note that the aspects highlighted by Choi (2007) apply to theory of Mr. Duke. Mr. Duke is also a democratic leader, who recognizes significance of giving employees the opportunity to take part in the process of making decisions. It also applies to Mr. Duke as it helps him derive coordination of the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. These assertions also apply to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to great extent. Functions at Wal-Mart are influenced by the leadership style as employees work with a high sense of motivation and coordination.
However, some studies have focused on finding the true meaning and illustration of democratic leadership within organizations. For instance, Gastil (1994) in his studies claims that the existing definitions of democratic leadership are ineffective and need to be improved urgently. Therefore, Gastil defines democratic leadership as the function of delegating responsibilities, aiding in making decisions within the organization, and empowering employees of the organization as they move towards the achievement of organizational goals. Gastil also emphasized that democratic leadership within all organizations, including political organizations, is illustrated through aspects such as facilitation and allowance of space for employees at the lower levels of the organization to participate in the process of making decisions. Therefore, the research by Gastil proves the view that continuous restructuring must be embraced to ensure adoption of democratic leadership. Assertions made in this article relate to those of Mr. Duke as he leads Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in an open manner. The research relates to Mr. Duke as he also gives his employees an opportunity to make decisions and plays a vital role of delegating his duties. This ensures that employees within the organization are motivated and work towards the required level of success. The research also relates to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. as it asserts that organizational employees will only be able to support the leader in cases where they are empowered. Employees in the organization are empowered and are always keen to perform functions that benefit the Wal-Mart company.
Other studies indicate that democratic style of leadership does not come automatically and requires some coaching. The case study conducted by Giancola (2010) indicates that a democratic leader has the ability to influence other employees in the organization and make them embrace effective leadership. Additionally, democracy will influence attitudes of organizational employees and ensure that they move positively towards the achievement of organizational goals at all instances. Giancola also indicates that democratic leadership should be nurtured effectively among individuals to ensure that they understand key details of this leadership style. On the other hand, Giancola in his research notes that the key gap existing in democratic leadership is the slow process of decision-making as consent needs to be given by all employees. The research conducted by Giancola applies to Mr. Duke and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. largely. In line with the assertions made in this article, it is possible to see that Mr. Duke tries to set the best example for all employees in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. He does this by displaying exemplary behavior and ensuring that employees of the organization are able to uphold the principles of democratic leadership. Additionally, Wal-Mart Sores, Inc. is an open organization, and organizational employees have the opportunity to learn effective means of operating and dealing with others in a democratic and open manner.
In most instances, democratic leadership has always been blamed for slowing down the process of decision-making within the organization. In his article Gordon (2011) investigates the relationship between democratic leadership and autocratic leaderships in instance of contingencies. In his findings and conclusions, Gordon asserts that democratic style of leadership is not an effective style of leadership to use in cases of urgency because it implies slow decision-making emanating from consultations among different employees of the organization. Gordon (2011) also notes that allowance for employees of the organization to participate in the leadership slows down the process of conducting different activities as it is difficult to reach a conclusion fast. Information presented in this article applies to Mr. Duke in the sense that it affects his expectations from the procedures conducted. He does not get faster feedback from decision-making processes that he allows organizational employees to take part in. It also applies to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. as an organization. The organization has not been able to make decisions faster in times of emergencies, and this has led to missing numerous opportunities.
Huang (2009) in his article investigates whether democratic leadership can lead to improved performance among employees through the process of motivation and delegation of responsibilities in the organization. The study utilized a sample of 527 employees, and it was found that majority of employees agreed with the fact that democratic style of leadership is itself motivational and leads to better performance in the organization. Huang also indicates that democratic style of leadership empowers individuals psychologically and enables them to work towards prosperity within the organization. Therefore, the study holds that democratic style of leadership plays the automatic role of leading to motivated performance within organizations. These assertions apply to Mr. Duke and Wal-Mart, Inc. widely. It should be noted that Mr. Duke, the CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. utilizes democratic style of leadership with the aim of motivating organizational employees to work towards the achievement of goals of the company. More so, he empowers his employees by working with them in a democratic manner and ensuring that they are able to enjoy their duties in Wal-Mart. The studies by Huang also apply to the company as its employees work with coordination towards the achievement of the goals of the Wal-Mart, Inc.
Democratic style of leadership also plays a key role of influencing job satisfaction among leaders and organizational employees. The study by Kim (2002) investigates the relationship between democratic style of leadership and job satisfaction among leaders and other employees within the organization. In the study, Kim indicates that there is a strong relationship between democratic style of leadership and the level of job satisfaction that can be achieved within the organization. In line with the findings of the study, Kim suggests that managers must keep embracing participative types of leadership as it will help them move towards the achievement of the desired organization. These assertions relate to Mr. Duke and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Mr. Duke plays a key role of delegating responsibilities to ensure that all employees are motivated and are ready to work towards the achievement of the goals set by the organization. Additionally, these findings relate to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in the sense that they influence its performance as employees feel recognized and valued through democratic style of leadership that is utilized. Performance of Wal-Mart has been on the rise because of democratic style of leadership and due to high levels of job satisfaction within the organization.
Kocher, Pogrebna, & Sutter (2009) in their paper illustrate the significance of democratic style of leadership within the organization. They provide definition of democratic leadership and note that it entails openness and freedom for employees to make decisions determining their operation within the organization. More so, they make useful conclusions concerning the significance of democratic style of leadership within organizations. They note that effective leader will be exhibiting democratic style of leadership in cases where he/she does not interfere with the decisions made by workers. More so, the authors conclude that democratic style of leadership is effective because it challenges employees to work better as they have more space and work in line with the decisions that they make by themselves. The assertions made in this paper also apply to the operations of Mr. Duke and the Wal-Mart Store, Inc. M. Duke has ensured high levels of openness and he seeks accountability in all activities carried out within the organization. He also exhibits democratic style of leadership noted in the article. For instance, he ensures that employees are able to make decisions and communicate effectively within the organization.
The style of leadership that a leader uses will always have an effect on the outcomes at the managerial level, employee level, and at the level of the entire organization. In his research paper, Peterkin (1996) investigates the significance of different styles of leadership in influencing overall outcomes at different levels of the organization. In his article, Peterkin reiterates that a leader is supposed to come out and serve people without having any personal interests in the service. Leadership should be treated as a calling as this will help ensure that all individuals appreciate the leader in the first place. According to Peterkins (1996), a leader will not be accepted by other employees of the organization in cases where he does not offer the best style of leadership that is acceptable by all employees. Therefore, democratic style of leadership is effective because it leads to positive outcomes from employees and ensures that the set goals can be reached within the required time. These assertions apply effectively to Mr. Duke and the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. It is worth noting that Mr. Duke does not hold personal interests in the delivery of leadership service to people. He works in line with the requirements of organizational employees as long as they are relevant to ensuring that the organization succeeds in its operations. These findings highlighted in the article also relate to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. as they influence performance of its employees. Performance of the organization can be understood through the stated outcomes of employees within the organization.
Democratic style of leadership is commonly associated with freedom among employees of the organization. The research by Ray (2012) emphasizes the view that the definition of democratic leadership is not sufficient, and several advancements in the definition need to be made. Therefore, the study suggests that it is vital for individuals to understand democratic leadership in terms of the characteristics of the leader, motivational skills, courage, symbolism, and the level at which employees within the organization are given the freedom to participate in the decision-making process of the organization. These observations effectively relate to the leadership that is portrayed by Mr. Duke. Firstly, he gives his employees enough power to participate in the decision-making process of the organization. This illustrates his characteristic of selflessness and the urge to ensure that the organization gets the best results as desired. Additionally, these assertions relate to Mr. Duke because of his communication and conceptual skills that enable him to succeed in managing Wal-Mart Store, Inc. To the organization, these assertions indicate the effective relationship that emanates from the use of democratic leadership.
In his article, Rok (2009) studies the relationship between ethical standards and the type of leadership that is utilized in organizations. Rok is also investigating effectiveness with which democratic style of leadership can facilitate proper work with external stakeholders. Rok argues that leaders can only strengthen the relationship between the organization and its stakeholders by using participative leadership. He also notes that participative leadership gives individuals an opportunity to communicate well within the organization outside the organization because of the assurance that they will not be victimized. Therefore, Rok concludes that effective relationships can only be built through democratic style of leadership and not any other form. These assertions relate to Mr. Duke and his style of leadership and the entire Wal-Mart organization that he leads. It can be noted that he gets immense support from all employees at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. because of his adherence to democratic style of leadership. Additionally, he has built the image of the company using democratic system of management. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., on its side, has developed a better corporate image emanating from support and appreciation derived from the public. The company has remained committed to serving its stakeholders and providing them with the level if democracy that exists within the organization.
It is vital to note that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. utilizes a decentralized organizational structure. This implies that different departments that make up the organization have the ability to make independent decisions that boost the overall development of the company. This type of organizational structure is also relevant because it ensures that consensus is obtained before overall decisions affecting the company are made. Democratic style of leadership adopted by the leader is beneficial for the entire performance of the organization in several ways.
First, democratic leadership ensures that effective decisions are made. It is worth noting that significant decision are made under democratic style of leadership because of the consultations that are made between different people. Notably, individuals are able to present their views, and this makes it easy for the leader to get the best direction on the kinds of decisions that are supposed to be embraced within the organization.
Secondly, it promotes the level of coordination within the organization. Employees are able to work in harmony because of the use of democratic style of leadership, which eliminates any form of threats and intimidation. Additionally, employees would be able work with a high level of coordination because of the belief that the organization appreciates them and is ready to promote them to higher levels.
Last, democratic style of leadership adopted by Mr. Duke promotes communication at Wal-Mart. The channels of communication are open, and employees are free to raise any issues affecting them within the organization. This helps in the promotion of negotiations and in elimination of some elements, such as strikes, among employees within the organization.