The successful implementation of servant leadership at a factory in the USA

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Author list: Moreira, F., Au-Yong-Oliveira, M., Martins, J., Branco, F., & Gonçalves, R.
Publication year: 2018
Start page: 78
End page: 86
Number of pages: 9
Languages: English-Great Britain (EN-GB)


This is a case study on leadership, a topic which has been much debated
in the literature, as solutions

for many diverse situations are still lacking and seem to escape us. The
case describes how an entrepreneurial wood veneer factory operates, in
the USA, with images included of a number of operations. The
manager-owner took us on a guided tour from raw material (logs) to
finished product (veneer wood). Waste is minimized at the factory in a
very stream-lined operation which has a minimal amount of managers in
place. Each worker is responsible for his or her job, done to
perfection, as one task rolls on to the next, without stopping. The
attitude of the innovative servant-type leadership in place is that
“win-win” situations are better for all, and there is enough profit to
go around. Servant-leadership-type leaders exist to serve employees and
exercise minimal management control. At this firm there are no
self-serving managers. Rather, mature and great working relationships
are developed. Being greedy would mean that unions would have to be
brought in. At this firm that was not necessary, by request of the
employees themselves. Hispanic workers are very good and are cherished
at this firm, in the heart of the USA. As leadership is dependent on
culture, the discussion also includes references to cultural aspects
relevant to management. The story is thus of a positive firm with
positive leadership and subordinates. We conclude that employees who
have emigrated from poorer countries in search of a better lifestyle may
indeed make excellent workers, despite what some political leaders have
announced in the media. We have found evidence that Spanish-speaking
individuals do not only work well under autocratic leadership, as
portrayed by the literature. Our study is thus revealing of a new
cultural-type involving workers working outside their home countries.
Under different leaders, in different countries and environments,
certain workers are prepared to go the “extra mile” and behave in a
completely different way as to what is expected from them in their home
countries. This is surprising and may have important implications for
multinational firms worldwide.


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Last updated on 2019-13-08 at 00:53