Specialisation: Martha Stewart

Leadership and Organizations

Leadership is an integral part of success in every institution. In simple terms, it refers to the ability of a person to influence other members of the firm to follow a certain direction to achieve institutional goals (Padilla, 2019, p. 9). Presently, various forms of leadership may be used by leaders to promote their agenda (Torres, 2022, p. 2). The purpose of this paper is to evaluate how different forms of leaders have used various approaches to achieve their objectives. Jack Welch-General Electrical CEO, has effectively used a transformational leadership approach. The Essay will further contrast and compare his leadership approach to Howard Schultz-Starbucks CEO’s transactional leadership the former. Finally, it will explore how Martha Stewart differs from the above. Exploring the three varied leaders will help determine the best leadership approach an organization should adopt to impact positively and achieve the best results in its operations.

One of the most interesting leaders in this context is Jack Welch-the General Electric’s CEO. The renowned business scholar was the organization manager from 1980-2000. During that period, Welch facelifted a tremendous revenue growth of $26.8 billion to $130 billion (Hunt & Fitzgerald, 2018, p. 62). Notably, throughout his helm of the organization’s leadership pyramid, Welch rose from various ranks to ascend to the top leadership. During that period, he has shown exemplary performance through his leadership approaches in every aspect of his work. He ensured that the firm remained united in spirit to work towards the achievement of its goals.

One of the major reasons why Welch has continued to perfume exceptionally well is his transformational leadership approach. This style comprises three critical dimensions, which comprise effective actions and practices. Welch promoted these critical aspects of management by effectively using life experiences to make changes in the institution (Cardona et al., 2019, p. 60). He created a reasonable organizational culture by fostering a strong alignment of everything to the institution’s goals, mission, and vision (Zeeshan et al.,2019, p. 54). He further promoted his work through well-oriented ambition, optimism, and innovation. The approach made him influence the other members positively and create the expected organizational changes. In other words, he worked to effectively stimulate every aspect of member’s potential, thus achieving the best.

The distinctive characteristics of Welch’s leadership include adaptability, commitment, and empowerment. The aspect of adaptability has enabled him to make the required adjustments while at the same time exercising his influence in the institution. Through his commitment, he has managed to model a unique setting that discerns what most customers and other players desire (Insan & Andriani Yasin, 2021, p. 61). Subsequently, he has promoted employee self-esteem and confidence and aligned their feelings to specific proactive concepts. This trend has led to the need of most of the employees to contribute proactively towards the achievement of the objectives of the institution (Santoso et al., 2022, p. 182).

Furthermore, Welch has used creative leadership mechanisms, a great recipe for stimulation and imaginative response among the organization’s members. He also acted as a perfect problem solver to General Electricals’ challenges. These proactive approaches made him excel in almost every aspect of the activity he participated in.

Welch organized his team into small and independent units with specific performance contracts. Compared to the scenario before his tenure, the renowned leader was at the forefront of promoting optimal performance through the motivation of the sub-units. Through ideal management, Welch created a good process where the entire business promoted setting, planning, and managing the customer’s demands at the right time to help achieve specific goals. Further, he innovated new ideas for encouraging employees and setting a safe and standardized setting for business operations (Nugraha, 2021, p. 100). This strategy has been successful since the CEO has concentrated on doing what is right irrespective of the challenges he faced in the firm. His approach has consisted of other research findings, which state that intellectual stimulation is a powerful approach to maximizing employee performance.

Ultimately, the transformative leadership that Welch has used has contributed significantly to the organization’s growth. For example, during his tenure of 20 years, he facilitated a tremendous growth of revenue of $26.8 billion to $130 billion (Murari & Mukherjee, 2021, p. 2592). The institution has also improved its performance in the global stock exchange market and ign itself as an exemplary institution in producing electrical products. This trend may not be regarded as a mere achievement but a significant growth that has put the institution on the global roadmap. He has achieved the above growth through his consistency, commitment, and team leadership oriented toward the goal. Even though some critics believe that he acted as a hero, Welch operated independently with the main ambition of transforming the institution.

Criticisms of the transformative model believe that transaction leadership could be the best to create organizational change. One of the leaders who perfectly employed the approach is Howard Schultz–Starbucks CEO. Historical records indicate that even though the organization was doing well in the food and beverage sector, its international sales were not satisfied until the entry of Howard Schultz (Oktavia et al., 2020, p. 10). His radical skills ensured that he had set a clear vision with good intellectual stimulation, resulting in focus among the organization’s key players (Khan, 2021, p. 90). Further, the renowned businessman instituted programs that would support the employees, such as part-time workers, a stock purchase program, and veterans hiring, that highly motivated these players.

Unlike Welch, Howard Schultz focused on making the organization perform effectively in the global market. Therefore, he ensured that he blended his beverages in the form of classes that would meet international standards (Kanchana, 2019, p. 45). For example, he spurred the coffee status revolution by ensuring that he created the “American third place” in most areas where they served their products. That implies that the approach of transactional leadership aims to promote class and the status quo. The categorization created some of the best positions where Americans could stop and grasp a cup of coffee before proceeding with their journey (Pratama, 2022). Even though it was a great idea, critics believed that such a method promoted segregation among the social classes in America.

Subsequently, it is notable that Welch’s transformational leadership recognizes the predecessor’s contributions and weaknesses. This approach is contrary to Schultz’s, which is rigid and disciplinary to the former mistakes that the institution may have made (Donkor & Zhou, 2020, p. 32). For instance, in the first years of his tenure, Schultz took the opportunity to close all the sub-stores that were not performing as well as fired the extra employees who had minimal influence on the institutional progress (Kehr et al., 2022, p. 21). This trend is typical in transaction leadership, where employees are subjectively rendered to both reward and punishment without proper consideration of the impact of the action. Applying such a principle may negatively discourage employees and create a poor organizational image.

Contextually, it is clear that transactional leadership failed to achieve acceptance among the global community when Schultz ordered the creation of the “American third place.” The style proved ineffective in promoting unity and understanding among the employees and customers (Dube et al., 2022, p. 32). Further, by setting his standards, Schultz has proved that this approach is only effective when there is a need to centralize the management (Sheehan et al., 2020, p. 411). Compared to the Welch transformational approach that focused on creating positive change without any form of disparity. In other words, the Welch approach aims at creating the right principles of strategic change embedded in the organization’s vision and mission.

On the other hand, autocracy is another approach that global leaders have used to promote their organizations. One such leader is Martha Steward, who believed in developing her brand (Fosuaa & Junior, 2021, p. 34). Compared to Welch, Martha has presented a bad coercive leadership that may have yet to achieve much. She struggled to hold much power by creating a brand that does not have distinct institutional value but only maintains public order (Murphy, 2022). As an iron lady, she believes in creating a new style without caring about the form of causalities that she may have caused. This trend has led to the loss of appeal to most global customers and players in her business organization, thereby proving not to be the most effective approach to leadership in an organization.

Even though it is believed that Martha acted to attract the natural forces in the global market, he propounded a new doctrine that has yet to appeal to most customers. Unlike the transformational leadership that promoted every class of customers, Martha’s brand ambassador approach only appeals to certain classes. This trend has made her respond only to a few groups around the globe hence losing most of the customers. Her spirit of appealing to the Y-generation customers by acting as a brand ambassador has made her lose most of the old generation (Kuknor et al., 2021). This trend suggests that transformational leadership is highly effective and well-joined to the organization’s objectives compared to the autocratic approach.

In conclusion, based on the analysis, it is clear that Welch’s transformational leadership approach is an effective way of achieving the best as compared to transactional or autocratic. Welch’s approach is more robust, focused, and attached to the organizational objectives, vision, and mission. In the best interest, this approach is mostly geared at providing the right direction that may create the positive changes required in the institution. Unlike the transactional and autocratic, the former is decentralized and allows every member to operate effectively and provide the right changes required in the firm. The transformational model allows managers to maintain the team and effectively utilize the resources while simultaneously motivating every employee to carry out their services effectively. Through his method, he created tremendous growth in General Electricals Inc. Therefore, potential leaders should continue with the trend and adopt Welch’s transformational leadership approach to help deliver the best results in their operations.


Cardona, P., Rey, C. and Craig, N. (2019). Purpose-driven leadership. In Purpose-driven Organizations (pp. 57–71). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-17674-7_5

Donkor, F. and Zhou, D., 2020. Organizational commitment influences the relationship between transactional and laissez-faire leadership styles and employee performance in the Ghanaian public service environment. Journal of Psychology in Africa30(1), pp.30-36. https://doi.org/10.1080/14330237.2020.1712808

Dube, P., Maradze, A., Ncube, C.M., Ndlovu, S. and Shava, G.N., 2022. Review of Leadership Styles in Higher Education: A Theoretical Approach. Indiana Journal of Arts & Literature3(4), pp.30-35.

Fouad, A.M. and Junior, A.I.A., 2021. The Effect Of Transformational Leadership Style On Employee Commitment: The Moderating Role Of Leader’S Emotional the Effects of Transformational Leadership Behaviors on Follower Outcomes and Leaders’ Influence. Journal of Business and Psychology, pp.1-22. Intelligence. Social Values & Society (SVS)3(1), pp.15-28. http://doi.org/10.26480/svs.01.2021.15.28

Hunt, J. and Fitzgerald, M., 2018. Styles of leadership. Leadership: Global and regional perspectives, pp.62-98.

Insan, A.N. and Andriani Yasin, N., 2021. Transglobal Leadership as a Driver for Increasing the Employee Performance. International Journal of Organizational Leadership10(1), pp.54-71. http://www.ijol.cikd.ca/article_60540_e6a4f03724217af930d3c3b363cb5347.pdf

Kanchana, K.P., 2019. All about Leadership; Be one. OJAS, p.45. https://jaipuria.edu.in/media/ojas_jan_july_2019.pdf#page=49

Kehr, H.M., Graff, D. and Bakaç, C., 2022. Followers’ Motives as Moderators ofhttps://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10869-022-09826-y

Khan, Q., 2021. Emotional Intelligence Supports Transformational Leadership-Style: A Survey of Local Government District DI Khan Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pakistan. Global Management Sciences Review, VI6, pp.89–98. https://web.archive.org/web/20220517164421id_/https://gmsrjournal.com/papers/xpyYiszsYU.pdf

Kuknor, S., Rastogi, S. and Singh, S.P., 2021. Me-Leader versus We-Leader: Bhagavad Gita Perspectives on Transformational Leadership. PURUSHARTHA-A journal of Management, Ethics and Spirituality14(2), pp.57-64. http://journals.smsvaranasi.com/index.php/purushartha/article/view/1202/681

Murari, K. and Mukherjee, U., 2021. Role of authentic transformational leadership for managerial excellence and sustainability. Ilkogretim Online20(4), pp.2592-2605.

Murphy, B.E., 2022. Female CCO Beliefs on Leadership Traits of CCOs. Public Relations Journal15(1). https://prjournal.instituteforpr.org/wp-content/uploads/Murphy_PRJ_15.1.pdf

Nugraha, A.P., 2021, January. The Effect Of Transformational Leadership Style, Transactional Leadership And Charismatic Leadership On Organizational Citizenship Behavior (Ocb) with Working Culture as an Intervening Variable. In IAIC International Conference Series (Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 100-112). https://doi.org/10.34306/conferenceseries.v3i2.469

Oktavia, I., Efferin, S. and Darmasetiawan, N.K., 2020. Leadership and Innovation in Family Business. KELUWIH: Jurnal Sosial dan Humaniora1(1), pp.1-10. https://journal.ubaya.ac.id/index.php/soshum/article/view/2852

Padilla, I., 2019. Transformational Leadership Practices and Their Effects on Motivation Amongst a Diverse Workforce (Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Northridge). (pp. 1-40). https://scholarworks.calstate.edu/downloads/pk02cd31h

Pratama, S.A., 2022. Literature Review The Effect Of Leadership Style And Work Culture On Job Satisfaction And Performance. Dinasti International Journal of Education Management And Social Science3(5), pp.743-753. https://doi.org/10.31933/dijemss.v3i5.1281

Santoso, N.R., Sulistyaningtyas, I.D. and Pratama, B.P., 2022. Transformational Leadership During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Strengthening Employee Engagement Through Internal Communication. Journal of Communication Inquiry, p. 182. https://doi.org/10.1177/01968599221095182

Sheehan, M., Garavan, T.N. and Morley, M.J., 2020. Transformational leadership and work unit innovation: A dyadic two-wave investigation. Journal of Business Research109, pp.399-412. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.10.072

Torres, M., 2022. How leadership Affects the Workplace and Employees in Local Government (Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Northridge). https://scholarworks.csun.edu/bitstream/handle/10211.3/223871/Torres-Martha-thesis-2022.pdf?sequence=1

Zeeshan, M., Bashir, S., Fatima, F. and Shah, R.A., 2019. Impact of Transformational Leadership and Employee Commitment on Organizational Reputation. UW Journal of Management Sciences3(1), pp.39-55. https://uwjms.org.pk/index.php/uwjms/article/view/36