Leadership Style at Nike

2715 Words11 Pages



Prepared by Narendra Hirani
Registration Number MBA/2443/12
April 2012

1a) Discuss and evaluate the appropriateness of the leadership style adopted by Phil Knight. Philip Knight’s leadership style can be analysed using the various leadership theories that have been developed. Their appropriateness can be evaluated based on the information available in the case study. Rensis Liekert developed four systems of leadership, exploitative autocratic, benevolent authoritative, participative and democratic. Knight’s leadership style at Nike can be described as democratic as per the systems developed by Riekert. According to Riekert, the
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We are also informed that Knight is subordinate oriented, as per the leadership continuum developed by Tannenbaum and Schmidt. In this approach the manager allows the team to develop options and make decisions within their mandate which has been agreed upon at the onset. In the case of Knight, it is demonstrated on more than one occasion that he is prepared to sit and watch from the sidelines, whilst his executives make decisions. This style is very suitable for industries whereby there is a need for development of new products within the organization. In Nike, we observe that they are always in the process of developing new products and therefore giving his senior executives a “free hand” in developing new ideas and executing them is vital to the success of the organization. Knight adopts the participative mode of leadership. The key characteristics of a participative leader are: * maintains free-flowing and honest communication; * remains easily accessible; * stresses development for his subordinates; * expresses consideration and support; * is willing to change. We note that Knight demonstrated all the traits listed above. The traits listed above allowed the other Nike employees to express their creative thoughts and allow Nike to develop new products and also new marketing strategies which have assisted Nike in achieving the success it has achieved so far. It is also
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