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Sears Holdings is a company in transition. Now, faced with adversity and the threat of bankruptcy looming its leadership has come under scrutiny. “Great leaders not only have drive; they want to lead. Also important is a high need for power, a preference to be in leadership rather than follower positions. A high power need induces people to attempt to influence others, and sustains interest and satisfaction in the process of leadership. When the power need is exercised in moral and socially constructive ways, rather than to the detriment of others, leaders inspire more trust, respect, and commitment to their vision (Bateman, pp 399, 2007).”
According to the text, “Control is defined as any process that directs the activities of individuals toward achievement of organizational goals. It is how effective managers make sure things are going as planned (Bateman, pp 520, 2007).” The combination of these two concepts, leadership and control help formulate an ideology that becomes an integral part of the success or failure of any business entity. This paper will give Team D an opportunity to delve into Sears Holdings’ leadership and control mechanisms. The focal point of this paper will be to identify the current CEO of Sears Holdings, and gain insight on his background, i.e., training, education, and previous employment. To identify his style of leadership, evaluate the effectiveness of this leadership style based on Sears Holdings’ performance, and to explain the various control mechanisms used in the organization to determine the effectiveness.
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Sears is in the process of restructuring the organization. The chairman of Sears Holdings Corporation, Eddie Lampert is confident in the new operational structure will be a success. The new structure will include five units operating businesses, support, brands, online and real estate (Tribune staff reporter). Sears is entering a new phase as a multi-channel retailer. Sears’ board members decided to shake-up the organizational chart by replacing the current Chief Executive Officer Aylwin B. Lewis on February 2, 2008.The board appointed Bruce Johnson as the interim CEO. Johnson joined the company in 2003 and was the executive vice president of supply chain and operation. Mr. Johnson has a BA, MBA and JD from Duke University.
Moreover, Mr. Johnson has experience as a retail executive and was a supply chain executive at French retailer Carrefour SA. He had global responsibilities for information technology, supply chain, store organization and internet business to business. Previously, Johnson was employed at Colgate Palmolive for 16 years in various roles and worked as a management consultant at Booz Allen and Hamilton and Arthur Andersen and Company. Mr. Johnson said "I am excited to be taking on this role and I am focused on continuing to transform Sears into a stronger, more efficient company”.
The leadership style that is exemplified at Sears Holdings is called transformational leadership. According to the text, “Transformational leaders is a leader who motivates people to transcend their personal interests for the good of the group (Bateman, 2007).” Sears Holdings is the parent company of Kmart and Sears, which allows Kmart and Sears to transcend their personal interest in keeping both companies profitable and to maintain the image of Sears Holdings. It allows the board of directors to decide whether they are in the right direction or not, and allow Kmart and Sears to continue their years of success through their personal input on any decisions made on behave of the company.
Effectiveness of Leadership Style
The leadership style is effective and efficient with respect to the decentralized approach. They allow the supervisors to put in their personal interests in the company. While giving them such flexibility, it opens doors for many ideas on how to place a hedge on technology and consumer satisfaction for upcoming years. A recent report on AOL finance page claims that Sears Holdings is company that might disappear by the end of 2008. Though Sears has many woes, including huge profit losses for several years and shrinking market share, there may be a brighter future ahead, if Sears can make the most of their transformational leadership and deliver dependable products and services at a reasonable price.
Audits assist the board in overseeing the accounting and financial reports of the companies financial statements and the effectiveness of the company’s internal control structure. The compliances of the company with legal and regulatory requirements which prepare the report required by the rules of Securities and Exchange Commission to be included in the company’s annual proxy statements are performed on a daily basis. The audit supports management to access, develop, implement, and monitor controls over critical business matters to promote effective and efficient operation, reliable for financial report and safeguarding of the company assets. Sears and its associates must follow generally accepted accounting principles and maintain appropriate control policies and procedures required by law. False or misleading entries or exclusion, unethical acts, or invasions of privacy are unlawful and are not permitted. Management of internal and independent auditors and examiners must be given access to all information necessary for them to conduct appropriate reviews.
Auditing matters should be directed to the audit Committee Chairperson C/O Corporate Secretary subject to protect consumers from unfair business arrangement and practices expected to comply with laws at all times. All allegations of fraud or other irregularities will be under the direction of the office of compliance and ethics, which will coordinate with the Law department and human resources.
In conclusion, the paper identified the current CEO of Sears Holdings, and gained valuable history on his background, i.e., training, education, and previous employment. The paper identified the style of leadership; evaluated the effectiveness of this leadership style based on Sears Holdings’ performance. Lastly, the paper explained the various control mechanisms used in the organization to determine the effectiveness. Thus far, the leadership styles and control mechanisms have proven to be ineffective. Sears Holdings Financial position and continue losses are a testament to that. In an attempt to gain market share matters were made worse with the addition of Kmart, a company that had woes of its own. Bruce Johnson has the daunting task of trying to resurrect the dead. However, it may be too little too late Sears’ Holdings demise may be inevitable.
T.S. Bateman, S.A. Snell (2007) Management: The New Competitive Landscape (7th ed.)
McGraw-Hill/Irwin, New York, NY