Corporate Leadership is Cultural


The ideal leader and leadership would depend a lot on the type of culture or corporate culture in business. Culture is a way of life of a society or business organization. The best leader is one who can mirror the corporate ideals or mission-vision of a business organization. Thus, if the business organization is selling cars of a particular country, then the ideal leader is one who knows best about the car industry and the mission-vision and corporate goals of his/her own company on how to promote and sell its cars to its chosen niche. The ideal leader of Ford, for instance, is one who knows by heart the American car tradition and corporate values of his/her company.

Discretionary Powers of Business Leaders


All managers and business leaders have discretionary powers. What separates them from ordinary clerks or rank-and-file employees are their capacities to decide what to do for the good or bad of the company. Some leaders made bad decisions and inflict damage to the company not so much because they are evil or immoral people who were not screened properly by the management but because there is loose law enforcement system in the corporate culture. The brightest and efficient leader can commit illegal and illegitimate decisions if the checks and balances system of the company is loose and “toxic”. This reflects the type of leadership structure and culture of the organization. A rational and efficient corporate culture encourage transparent and charismatic leadership and provides a strong monitoring system. A company cannot expect its managers to be efficient and good leaders if the leadership structure, particularly the law enforcement system is weak. Business leaders have vast discretionary power and authority. And if these powers are not reined efficiently, the leadership style would be prone to abuse.


There are basically two ways of strengthening the law enforcement system of the company. The first one is the strengthening of the internal control of the various levels and types of personnel in the company. This can be achieved by strengthening the social bonds of the various social groups in the company through community building activities and programs. A strong social bonding can inhibit corporate deviance, making each employee a brother’s keeper. Spiritual programs too can strengthen corporate bonding of employees and managers.


The second form is empowering the monitoring and surveillance system of the company. If the social bonding is weak, external control is necessary to monitor abuses of corporate leaders. Putting up monitoring devices can be a great help to policy and law enforcement in the company. Regular evaluations by employees on the performance of their managers can also be of great help to monitor the performance of corporate leaders.

But law enforcement in the company can be of two types. It can be positive by providing incentives to people who perform well in the company and exceed corporate expectations. People respond to incentives. Thus, it is necessary for leaders to achieve higher goals rather mere obedience to the company rules and targets.


The second and the most common type of law enforcement is, of course, strengthening the rules, sanctions, and punishments to those who commit corporate deviance. This is the negative approach which causes a lot of conflict and distrust in the company and makes managers and leaders despotic. It is often desirable to use the positive approach by providing attractive incentives to those who follow rules and exceed corporate goals and targets.

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