Leadership Style of Conrad Hilton

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Leadership styles and theories in the fast-changing business world are very essential. The systematic approach and application of leadership theories in dealing with corporate changes is an asset that cans result in the productivity of a business. Research has shown that there is massive demand in the areas of leadership development and transformation of organisation (Carter., Ulrich & Goldsmith, 2005, p.10-17).

Application of appropriate leadership styles and methods, retaining employees, and upholding a good relationship with staff without forgetting compliance with value-based culture in a business environment necessary for growth. The goal is to critically analyse how transformational leadership methods influence the outcome of an organisation and in particular the concept of leadership and Business ethics and social responsibilities based on a case study of Conrad Hilton. Hilton is considered a giant American hotelier and founder of the Hilton hotel (Bailey, Mendez & Zhai, 2012, p.1), his leadership styles, approach, and business cultural practice defines the person who successfully led the Hilton Hotels for decades.

Management approaches

Described for his rigorous approach to things and motivational leadership by Guyah (2013), Hilton provided intellectual stimulation, individualised consideration, and motivation to his staff to achieve the desired results (Conrad Hilton Biography, 2018). Paying attention to the concerns of staff increased staff morale, this approach is vital since it makes an employee feel valued. There is the need for leaders to study their followers and accommodate their differences. Employees need to have a sense of belonging; this is achievable through continuously motivating them to focus on the core goals of the industry. By inspiring their followers and sharing their goals for the company, leaders will stand out as good role models for their employees as well as providing a fertile breeding ground for creativity and innovativeness. Hilton emphasised on creativity among his employees and allowing them to make independent and ethical decisions on matters pertaining the well being of the company. The advantage with this leadership style is that there will be tapping and harvesting of a great poll of creativities which helps the company to soar higher based on competition since that creativity successfully demands a great deal of freedom (Adair, 2007, p.30)

Though taking a risk in a business venture is an enormous gamble, Hilton in his prime days was a risk taker leader. After making a legacy in the hotel industry, Hilton invested in other areas such as travel services, car rentals, and credit card which were considered risky ventures; nonetheless, he established himself in these industries and made a fortune making him one of the wealthiest people in the 21st century. (Langone, 2018). Hilton’s determination in achieving his dreams is incomparable. Despite making mistakes, he kept his head held up high and never did he quit, Hilton, as a result, has created a significant impact in the world. Determination and the ability to take risks can pay dividends when it comes to business and investments. Visionary leaders need to do what he is best at and leave others to do the rest regardless of the level of risk provided you have a good contingency plan in place (Judson 2004, p. 176) Hilton’s successful transitioning from one investment to the other was not a walk in the park. Great risks have borne good results for many business leaders; therefore risk should not be a hindrance when contemplation about starting a business or taking an interest in other sectors. Leaders ought to know the best leadership approach is suitable for the success of the company.

Ethical decisions

Business organisations must perceive ethics and social responsibility more important than their gains (Valentine & Fleischman, 2008, p.657). To stay afloat and relevant in the hospitality industry, Hilton implemented ethical strategies to the best interest of his business, the staff, and the communities of his surroundings. For decisions that are ethically right, organisations should move from a mere concern with the profitability of the company and consider the impact the decisions will have on stakeholders (Hartman., Jardins &MacDonald, 2014, p.7). Since the society is made up of many business enterprises run by men and women of different cultural values, it takes an outstanding ethical obligation to make moral judgment calls that will paint the company a right image by ensuring communities’ well being. Putting short-term gains at the expense of the health of people by having no proper strategy for disposing of toxic wastes and embracing unfair labour practices is unprofessional and will soil the reputation of the company. Inferior image means a lousy relationship with the customers, massive loss due to a mass exodus of prospective customers is inevitable ( Kurniati et al. 2015, p.112-113) Customer retention is an essential business performance and therefore should be guarded jealously for the continued success of a business. In a business environment, it is possible to be mainly involved with decisions that touch on the financial well-being of the company. Disregarding the stakeholders may have a disastrous result for the company in particular and the society in general.

Social responsibility

Hilton’s philosophy of contributing back to the society has seen the light of the day. This philosophy has sensitised on the culture of the company about the principle of taking back to the community, Hilton realized this philosophy by establishing his foundation called Conrad N. Hilton Foundation which helps the needy across the world (Conrad N. Foundation, 2012). The foundation besides supporting the poor and the needy, it also caters for education initiatives, the homeless, and peace campaigns across the globe and the blind. These philanthropic projects have been able to achieve a significant positive impact on people’s lives as well as benefit the involved companies in one way or another, also, the reputation of Hilton’s companies have achieved a higher rating. Lantos (2002, p. 205) argues that these philanthropic projects are useful only when they do not incur extra expense on the consumer since the organisation’s funds support them. This social responsibility strategy is vital because it binds the community with the organisation otherwise maintaining a cordial relationship with the society. Forming charitable foundations by an organisation gives it an advantage over the rest by developing an excellent public image. The trend of giving back to the people motivates other companies to follow suit; this can lead to having chains of foundations that support various initiatives.

There is a misconception that environmental challenges always create a beast of burden on business and that the interest of the environment and company are in conflict. This misconception has seen business organisations claiming that products which are economically and environmentally sustainable create small business opportunities. In the long run, the winner is those companies that make their businesses more energy efficient which will reduce their costs of energy consumption significantly. The sustainability of the environment may also have a competitive edge when it comes to customers and the investors. Investors will tend to invest in environmentally sustainable companies. As more business organisations are rushing to adopt ecologically sustainable measures in place, it is worth noting that these businesses can capitalise on these initiatives to improve the profitability of their respective companies.


Business leaders are the engines of the organisation and should uphold a high level of professional strategies in their undertakings. Just like Hilton, leaders need to be self-motivated, persistent, tenacious and risk takers. Profit-making organisations' short-term approach, however, has impacted on society negatively. Leaders should, therefore, focus on the long-term sustainability of their organisations. For the viability of the business, social benefits, environmental preservation, and financial gain of an organisation should be a priority for all organisations. There is the need for commitment by all stockholders and stakeholders to ensure a solution created by business lest these actions will culminate in unhealthy environmental consequences together with the economic viability. While the culture of charity activities is rampant with firms in the world, it is good to identify the corporate social responsibilities that are in line with the company's culture and policy and that befits the company as well.


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Bailey, Morgan., Medez, Juan., & Zhai, Jianwu. (2014). Leadership profile: Hilton Conrad. P.1

Carter, Lous., Ulrich, David., & Goldsmith, Marshal. (2005). Best practices in leadership development and organization change: How the best companies ensure meaningful change and sustainable leadership.

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Kurniati, Rinirahayu., Hamid, D, Suharyone.,& Arifin, Zainul.(2015). The effects of customer relationships marketing and service quality to the corporate image, value, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty: European journal of business and management.7.p 112-113. Available at< http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=>. Accessed on [Accessed 5 April 2018]

Langone, Alex. (2018). The 10 richest people in America. Available at time.com/money/5095574/the-10-richest-people-in-america/

Lantos, G. P. (2002). The ethicality of altruistic corporate social responsibility. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 19(2), 205. 

Sean Valentine & Gary Fleischman. (2008). Professional ethical standard, corporate, social responsibility and the perceived role of ethics and social responsibilities: Journal of business ethics.82(3). P. 657. Available at< http://lik.springer.com>. [Accessed 5 April 2018]

January 19, 2024



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