Case Study Leading Business

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CaseStudy: Leading Business

CaseStudy: Leading Business

JeffBezos is considered as one of the most effective managers of themultinational companies in the modern world. Bezos is the CEO ofAmazon Incorporation, which is a global leader in online retailbusiness. This paper is a case study analysis of the leadership aswell as the management abilities of Bezos. The paper will focus onthe identification of the theory that describes Bezos’scontribution, creation of the environment for the manager tocontribute, and the determination of whether Bezos is a bettermanager or a leader.

TheLeadership Theory

Thetransactional theory of leadership provides the most suitableframework that can be used to describe Bezos’s contribution towardsthe performance of Amazon. This is confirmed by three assumptions ofthe transactional leadership that provide a clear description ofBezos’s leadership. First, the transactional theory is founded onthe assumption that people are motivated by punishment and reward(Odumeru &amp Ogbonna, 2013). Bezos demonstrates compliance withthis assumption by issuing threats to employees who make mistakesthat hurt customers. From the case study, Bezos is described as aharsh leader who asks employees whether they are lazy or incompetentwhen they fail to meet the expectations of customers.

Secondly,a leader who adopts a transactional theory assumes that people shouldcede all authority to their manager once they have agreed to engagein a certain activity (Odumeru &amp Ogbonna, 2013). This impliesthat the engagement of employees ends once the meeting convened tomake a given decision has been concluded. The manager assumes theauthority to ensure that the agreement reached in the meeting hasbeen implemented. In the case of Bezos, he organizes meetings andmakes an extra effort to represent customers with an empty seat, butthey cede the authority to him to ensure that the decisions made inthe meetings are implemented. This is further confirmed by the factthat Bezos is a demanding leader, who expects employees to live andoperate up to his own standards.

Third,transactional leaders focus on effective achievement of theorganizational goals (McCleskey, 2014). For example, Bezos evaluatesthe performance of employees on the basis of the 500 quantitativegoals set by the company. Bezos achieves this by being a directiveleader, who micromanages employees to ensure that they meet theseorganizational goals. Although the use of transactional theorydemonstrate Bezos as a directive leader who focus more on the needsof customers at the expense of the well-being of employees, thisapproach enhances efficiency in delivery of services and theachievement of the goals set by the organization.

AnEnvironment for Effective Contribution

Bezosis portrayed in the case study as a leader who creates an environmentfor managers and other employees to make their contribution duringthe company meetings only. From the case study, Bezos does not fearbeing confronted by employees and managers during the companymeetings. He creates an environment for the employees to argue theirposition, which is based on the supposition that the company will beable to generate the best ideas. Therefore, Bezos creates anappropriate environment for a manager to make effective contributionsduring the meetings.

However,Bezos does not create an environment that can encourage a manager tomake effective contributions towards the success of the organizationoutside the company meetings. For example, Bezos is a demanding and adirective leader who expects all managers and employees to meet hisown standards. Although this is done in the interest of customers, itlimits the autonomy of managers since there is no room for them toapply their creativity in carrying out their daily activities. Inoverall, Bezos does not provide an appropriate environment for amanager to make an effective contribution.

Bezosas a Better Manager or a Better Leader

AlthoughBezos has some characteristics of a leader, it is evident that he canbe considered as better manager. For example, managers carry outtheir roles by exercising their power over other people, whileleaders focus on developing power with their followers (Sanborn,2016). Bezos exercise power over company’s employees by pressuringthem to meet certain standards and pursue its 500 goals, instead ofempowering and encouraging them to make autonomous decisions.Secondly, managers are focused while leaders create a shared focus(Sanborn, 2016). The fact that Bezos issued threats to forceemployees to deliver services that meet the expectations of thecustomers and his own standards indicate that he has not shared hisfocus with the members of staff, which makes him a better manager.Third, managers are good at directing other people, while leadersestablish teams (Sanborn, 2016). Bezos is described as a directiveperson, who issues orders about the quality as well as the standardof services that are delivered by the company. Most of Bezos’scharacteristics depict him as a better manager as opposed to aleader.


Bezosis a transactional leader who believes that followers can bemotivated through punishment and reward. He assumes authority overother stakeholders (including employees) and focus more on theachievement of organizational goals. He is more interested in thesuccess of the organization by pleasing customers than the needs ofthe employees. He creates an environment that encourages a manager tomake an effective contribution during meetings. In addition, theapproaches that Bezos uses in running the company indicate that he isa better manager than a leader.


McCleskey,J. (2014). Situational, transformational, transactional leadershipand leadership development. Journalof Business Studies Quarterly,5 (4), 117-130.

Odumeru,J. &amp Ogbonna, I. (2013). Transformational vs. transactionalleadership theories: Evidence in literature. InternationalReview of Management and Business Research,2 (2), 355-361.

Sanborn,M. (2016). Differences between managers and leaders. Sanbornand Associate, Inc.Retrieved August 14, 2016, from

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