Leadership refers to the ability of a leader to lead a group of people towards a definite direction (Draft, 2014). Questions are raised on the ability of the leaders if their company has not been able to secure high profit margins or has been involved in some ethical conflicts; even high profile leaders are not spared of such criticisms. They are regarded as the agent of change, guidance and motivation (Bertocci, 2009).
Entrepreneurship encompasses acts of organizational creation, renewal or innovation that occur within or outside an existing organization (Cuervo, Ribeiro and Roig, 2007). On the other hand, entrepreneurs are individuals who carry out the above mentioned responsibilities and act as an input factor and an optimizing agent (Iversen, Jørgensen and Malchow-Møller, 2008).
Decision-making can be defined as the art of choosing the best solution from an array of alternatives. An organization normally incorporates a number of departments and at each level it is required to make choices. For example, decisions need to made regarding entering a particular sector, production technique, number of employees, etc.
Human Resource Management (HRM) is a structural way of employment management so that there is alignment between individual and organization’s goal. (Storey, 2005).
This paper deals with the various aspects Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Decision-Making and HRM and provides the experience of Steve Jobs for better understanding of these important links in an organization.
Proponents of trait theory have opined that leaders are born but not made, i.e., leadership is a natural quality and cannot be developed through learning (Bowerman and Wart, 2014). Leaders possess certain specific characteristics that make them different from the common masses. In 2004, Judge and Bono undertook a study in trait theory and its importance and concluded that about 12% of the researches in trait theory since 1990 have associated personality with leadership (Riggio, 2015). Trait theory of leadership can be treated as an adaptation of Great Man Theory which also advocates that leadership is an inherent quality and not a mere subject of development (Wagner, 2008).
According to this theory, characteristics like, height, energy level, intelligence and overall appearance were driving forces in cultivating leadership qualities in a person. Steve Jobs had certain traits in him that made him a great leader like, independent thinking, passion, courage to step forward. He had taken the reigns of Apple when he was fully aware of the company’s imminent bankruptcy. Although he was an authoritarian leader yet he was a great motivator. Such traits when got the right exposure not only turned Steve Jobs life but also the face of technology (Issaacson, 2011).
This theory is criticized because of its simplistic way of explanation and greater importance of personality rather than situational factors like, expected rewards, nature of the task and interpersonal relation when working as a team (Gegenfurtner, 2007). This theory identifies only handful traits in a leader but currently, leadership comprises a lot more.
Decision-making by an authoritarian leader- Under authoritarian leadership, the leader is in control of his or her team and makes the entire strategic decision making without involvement of any of the team members. Many companies wanting to have an error-free organizational structure opt for authoritarian leadership style. Researchers all around the world see this form of leadership in a negative light but the success of Apple is an exception. Steve Jobs was known for his authoritarian leadership practices. He was guided by his own vision and took all the decisions himself without any involvement from his subordinates. This nature had found its way to the production floor via his managers as well (Wagner III and Hollenbeck, 2014). In case of Apple III he did not allowed the committee of engineers to change any of his designs (Issaacson, 2011).
Democratic leadership- It involves participative decision-making process. The team members along with the leader works as a close knit group where the latter helps the former to reach a joint consensus. Like authoritarian leadership, this form of leadership also has its own trickle-down effect which gets reflected in the attitude of the managers and also on the production floor. According to studies, modern business organizations prefer to have democratic leadership rather than any alternative style, like authoritarian leadership. A democratic leader owns the right to make the final decision but engages in delegation of responsibilities (Pride, Huges and Kapoor, 2009).
Laissez-faire decision-making- Here the leader shares his authority with his or her team. Minimal control is exercised by the leader and team members have complete freedom of doing their work in their own-way. Researches show that laissez-faire form of leadership does not provide successful outcomes. According to the whistleblower at the Enron, the CEO was clueless and was the main reason for the failure of Enron (Wagner III and Hollenbeck, 2014).
Passion- Small businesses develop out of passion. The owner needs to be passionate about the product that his or her company will produce because then creativity and correspondingly innovation will find its place in the production process. (YP Marketing Solutions, 2015).
Customer Connection- According to Public Affairs Pulse Survey conducted in 2012, positive response were received towards the owners of the small businesses because consumers’ perception about them that they are honest and ethical in their delegation.
Agility- Small can provide more customized solution to the demands of the markets with comparatively less gestation period.
Willingness to Experiment- Small firms has less capital at their disposal and this makes them more immune to the economic shocks. This scenario encourages them to undertake risks so that they can experiment with various aspects of a business.