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Microsoft Company or organization is American Technology Corporation which is multinational with its headquarters based in Redmond, Washington. It is an organization which manufactures, supports, develops, licenses and sell personal computers, consumer electronics, services, and computer software. Its finest well-known software products operating systems line include Internet explorer, Microsoft office suite, web browsers, and Microsoft Windows. By 2016 Microsoft Corporation was the largest software company in the world which was due to its huge revenue. Also by the same year, Microsoft was one of the most valued corporations in the world.
The corporation was formed in April 1975 by two childhood friends to deal in selling and developing basic interpreters contracted by the Altair 8800. By mid-1980s with MS-DOS, they emerge and dominated the market of Microsoft windows and personal computer operating system. The organization`s IPO and the succeeding increase in its share price produced an estimation of approximately twelve thousand millionaires and three billionaires among its employees by 1986 (Michael, 2007). The organization has made some acquisitions since 1990s such as Skype technologies in 2011, and the largest being LinkedIn in 2016. It has also progressively expanded from operating market system. By 2015 Microsoft dominated different markets such as office software suite market and operating system market of IBM PC-compatible, even though the emergence of Android resulted to the company losing the majority of its general operational market system to Android (Michael, 2007). Microsoft also creates a variety of additional customer and initiative software for servers and desktops, which include cloud computing (Azure), software development (Visual Studio), and Internet search (Bing).
By 2000, the company replaced its CEO, and the incoming CEO proposed a service and device strategy. The strategy started by Danger Inc. acquisition in 2008, joining the production market of the personal computer in June 2012 for the first time with a surface link of tablet computers launching (Michael, 2007). Thereafter, through acquiring Nokia`s facilities and strategies division it formed its mobile. In 2014 they appointed a new CEO scaling the firm back to hardware and focusing on cloud computing, a change that has seen the company achieving the highest value of shares since 1999.
Objectives of the Organization
The main objectives of Microsoft Company include to reinvent services production for a digital work by enlarging footprint experience through the establishment of more business process skills, combined into content consumption and authoring, collaboration and communication tools. Another objective is to establish a cloud that offers customers quicker time to cost reduction, value, and develop agility and resolutions that distinguish their business. By providing an extensible, attractive, and powerful model to third-party enterprises and developers which will enable cloud platform applications and attachment of distinguished competences such as rich data management, advanced analytics, machine learning, and identity management. Another objective is to establish a more personal computing to create window devices and device platform which will help to fancy the company customers, drive gross margin, create chances for windows network more broadly, enable basically new product classifications, and increase services distribution. By bringing together Xbox Live, mobile, console, and new classifications such as HoloLens into an integrated play. Other objectives include to offer structure by which the board and management set goals and supervise performance, to protect and reinforce accountable corporate practices and culture of corporate integrity, to inspire the operative resource utilization, and necessitate responsibility for stewardship of those assets, and to preserve and create management responsibility to company owners by efficiently distributing responsibility and rights among organization managers, shareholders, and board members.
Leadership Practices of the Current Primary Leader of Microsoft
The current primary leader of Microsoft applies three types of leadership practices which include democratic, autocratic, and leissez-faire leadership styles. For most successful companies like Microsoft, their primary leaders display a mix of these leadership styles, since these styles run different departments in an organization (Gill, 2011).
Democratic Leadership Style
It is a style which involves empowering group members, assisting in decision-making processes of the groups, and distribution of responsibilities among members. It is a leadership style which is built on mutual respect (Gill, 2011). More often it is associated with participatory leadership since it needs teamwork between team members and the leaders who guide them. It is a style which mounts key responsibility on staff and their leaders. To the CEOs of business organization like Microsoft, democratic/participatory leadership style is the suitable style for them since democratic leaders become very effective in business when they surround themselves with skillful and experienced team players (Gill, 2011). They have huge responsibilities. Democratic leaders believe in people who consult with them to gain comprehensive experience and to display self-confidence. They also get involved in the process of decision making. Democratic leaders are goal oriented, they are focused on productivity, and this needs a productive team that meets targets, just like a Microsoft employee once said that when he got to Microsoft he found everybody in the company smart.
Leissez-Faire Leadership Style
This is a leadership style which is built on trust, the leaders here believe that the main key to prosperity is building a strong team and then move out of their way. And that exactly what the founder of Microsoft did, he built a strong team and then left them to do what they do best (Gill, 2011). This kind of leadership style is used in organizations or business departments which are involved in highly creative businesses where innovation is the key to success. And to be precise innovation and creativity is exactly what Microsoft needs. Mostly in this leadership style, primary leaders tend to recruit those people with strong skills, broader experience and education, those who are driven to prosper by themselves and self-motivated, those with verified achievement records on certain projects, and those who can work comfortably without supervision (Gill, 2011). And almost all employees in Microsoft suits the above descriptions.
Autocratic Leadership Style
It is a leadership style which involves one primary leader making all tactical decisions for the subordinate staff. Even though in recent years it has been out of favor, but to some extent, it is still predominant. For instance, it is a dynamic leadership style in most of the workplaces around us. It is essential to companies and organizations that concentrate on outcomes which are error-free like technology companies such as Microsoft (Gill, 2011). While it is one of the least recognized leadership styles, it also makes the list of commonly used leadership styles. Autocratic leaders mostly the CEOs of companies like Microsoft have a role to drive people they guide to complete tasks without creating mistakes and perform their work at their best.
How the Current Leadership has Affected Microsoft Culture
Since the appointment of new CEO in 2014, few changes have been witnessed especially in culture. For instance, the new CEO once quoted that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, therefore, under his leadership there has been changes such as adjustment from a very static mindset, a culture of knowing it all to a more of development mentality of learning it (McCleskey, 2014). All culture, which has provided the space for learning, seeking to obtain knowledge, instead of communicating one`s knowledge to others. And now when you meet people from various groups across the company it is pretty clear that almost everybody has truly and well integrated into the new culture of Microsoft.
The new or current leadership brought a cultural revolution at the organization, the revolution with any luck has not taken verge off the company`s intellect but has conveyed a lot more energy, and compassion around the impression of people towards things, as well as their thought about things. Just thinking and talking more about human wants than useful wants (McCleskey, 2014).
For the better part of the time, the mission of Microsoft was to place the computer in every home on every desk. Obviously, the computer ran windows in a Microsoft world. June 2015, the current leadership exposed a new mission declaration which is now printed on every employee badge: saying that, empower every individual and each company in the universe to accomplish more. The new mission declaration came up with a new global view (McCleskey, 2014). With cloud first, mobile first, windows no longer everyone focus, and realization of this world we live in becoming more than a strategy. Microsoft as a company is meeting users on podiums that do not belong to Microsoft.
To witness more effects on culture by the current leadership. Today, when you look at Microsoft, it functions normally just like any other company or corporation with common objectives, and better level of collaborations between its business units (McCleskey, 2014). Its lead product is not windows anymore. Instead, it has taken a supporting role, earlier on this was to be supported by all other products. But now, it is about what windows can do to help the rest of the organization, such as how windows can improve cloud offering or how it can make office great.
SWOT Analysis Evaluating Microsoft Company
Since the change of leadership at the topmost level of Microsoft Company there has been a lot of speculations about a possibility in tactical changes in direction as well as sparked expectations that the original organization and the iconic founder who seemed to be struggling lately may be recollecting well. Therefore, SWOT analysis put these tactical moves in a viewpoint and evaluates the situation, to which the company is in at the moment. SWOT analysis involves evaluating strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats which are facing the corporation.
Microsoft has the Following Strengths
Microsoft has the strength of brand loyalty, over the past years Microsoft has enjoyed a remarkable lead in software and OS provider that resulted in over 90% market share for the PC OS. Most people are familiar with its OS which is easy to use and will continue using it. There are a number of brands that have the ability to contest with the corporation for the same reason. Also, OS which is entirely well suited and free to use for the general user gets it more difficult to entice users. Two, Microsoft has a robust distribution network, the corporation is working with almost all other major producers of computer hardware which include Dell, Samsung, Toshiba, and Lenovo as well as main computer retailers to ensure that all computers which have been sold have the software window which has already been installed. The organization also capitalized in Nokia as well as in Dell to make sure that its connection with the other organizations is tightened.
Some of the Microsoft weaknesses include poor investments and acquisitions. Very few of its acquisitions were fruitful and bring with them not just products and revenues, but new competencies and skills to the corporation. Huge Danger, Web TV, and Link exchange are just but a number of multi-billion acquisitions the company made but were soon enough divested or shut down. Another weakness is over-dependence on manufacturer’s hardware. Microsoft is a huge corporation dealing in software but it is unable to manufacture hardware of its own, thus depending on manufactures of computer hardware to develop products used to run OS windows. If prevalent and readily available substitute OS would be revealed, manufacturers of hardware might simply select the substitute and company could offer little to modify the situation.
Despite failing to see the rise of the internet and being entirely driven back by the wave of mobile, a glimmer of hope that can be seen by the company is found in the cloud-computing model, which the corporation has been largely gambling to take on the contest and acquire its position in leadership back. Also, Microsoft top leadership has an aggressive ambition in the direction of cloud computing, which is seen as a possible game-changer for the corporation. He even included it as one the main objectives of the company. The thought of him being a cloud-computing wizard has made the company to bank on him to ride the corporation to the next wave.
Microsoft Company is yet to face strong competition in software products. The corporation is on the pressure more than ever, of introducing fruitful OS both in mobile markets and PC since other competitors like Apple and Google have built their positions, and who knows more competitors are coming. Also, the company is risking possible lawsuits in the near future. Microsoft has been sued and lost a number of lawsuits in large scale for quite some time. And normally, lawsuits require money and a lot of time which makes it expensive in the long run. And as the company keeps on operating in the same manner, then they are in for a rude shock. Since the possibility of future expensive lawsuits is imminent.
Evaluate Strengths of the Current Primary Leader`s Leadership Practices Using Scholarly Leadership Theory
The theory which is portrayed by the current primary leader of Microsoft is management theory or transactional theory which concentrates on the role of group performance, the exchange that occurs between the people they guide and themselves as leaders, organization, and supervision (McCleskey, 2014). The theory is based on the idea that the role of a leader is to establish organizational structures that make it plentifully clear what is expected of the people they guide and the results (punishment and incentives) related to not meeting or meeting targets. When workers are fruitful, they are motivated by incentives and upon failure they punished (McCleskey, 2014). The transactional or managerial theory is usually compared to the practice and idea of management keep on to be an exceedingly common factor in many organizational structures and leadership models.
The strengths of Microsoft primary leader is the potential to build proper organizational structures that provide employees with a clear picture of what the company expects them to do and expect from them (McCleskey, 2014). This gives employees easier work when executing their duties. Proper connection and exchange between the leader and the people he guides is also a strength because through this channel he was able to state clearly his mission and objectives for the company when he took leadership. Rewarding successful employees is one of his strengths because when an employee is rewarded he gets motivated and continues the good work.
The outstanding weakness of the current primary leader is the punishment of the employees who in one way or the other have not met their expected targets. This was witnessed by the recent massive laying off employees at the corporation. Most employees were sent away due to poor performance (McCleskey, 2014). Another weakness is that employees are more dependent on the leader for direction, always waiting for further directions and to be supervised. The leader guide followers to a temporary relationship of exchange with him, such that the association incline toward temporary, shallow exchange of satisfaction and usually establish hatred between employees and him. In addition, there has been some criticism that he uses a one-size-fits-all general method of leadership (Xia, 2012).
The practices that I would recommend to capitalize on the prosperity of the primary leadership and the organization in future consist of reward and punishment to employees who did or did not meet their targets (DeRue & Wellman, 2009). This practice will influence employee’s attitude to increase their work performance since rewarded will continue the good work while those punished will try to avoid such humiliation next time through hard work. Another practice I recommend is the exchange that takes place between employees and the leader, the exchange allows them to complete required work, maintain the current situation of an organization, achieve their performance goals, help them achieve established objectives, help the company to avoid risks which are unnecessary, and concentrate on improvement of organizational productivity (DeRue & Wellman 2009). Also, employees will be able to minimize anxiety at their workplace, ensures that they achieve their self-interest, and allow them to focus pure objectives of the corporation such as customer service, increased productivity, and minimize costs.
Microsoft is the leading company in the production of software products in the world. Therefore they cannot be in a position to misread the rising changes and trends in customer choice at any cost. In fact, to be precise they should be able to feel and senses market changes and be in a position to act swiftly. A probable tactical change would be to concentrate more on the section of the enterprise because many other technology corporations appear to be exclusively concentrating on the section of the personal customer. Therefore in respect to future tactical changes by the corporation, it has been left in the hands of the current leadership to deal with the changes.
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Gill, R. (2011). Theory and practice of leadership. London: SAGE Publications.
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