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Dissertation of MBA in leadership and sustainability
Strategic Leadership as A force Towards Sustainability in Automobile Industry
1. Chapter 1 - Introduction
1.1. Background/Rationale of the Study
The globalization has been one of the much-debated terms in recent times. With the advent of new technologies & newer modes of operations, almost all the industries across the world has received significant boost in terms of growth & expansion. The whole world has become a global marketplace with consumers asking for newer & innovative solutions daily. However, this has led to the starting point of extreme competition among the different industry leaders on one way or another. While some companies have started competition of prices, some have focused on innovation as their way forward.
1.1.1. Need for Sustainability
Automobile industry is also not an exception, as it also keeps on evolving in the context of growth & expansion. While many automotive companies are realizing great profits, but there have been quarters of sales figure falling on the backdrop of recession & growing consumer concerns. Like all other industries, automotive industry is starting to move towards a more sustainable approach where the companies could operate in a more flexible environment and thereby rope in customers to ensure constant sales & expansion. However, lack of effective leadership often leads to chaos and disorder and thereby even degrading the organisation towards failure (Garland et al., 2018). Sustainability is a theme which helps an organisation to float on the context of expansion, growth and changes. Hence, to align with the customers and to understand the market trends, the organisations are in dire needs of changes which would help them to become future ready or rather sustainable. Sustainability helps in further growth and expansion.
1.1.2. Strategic Leadership
Strategic leadership is a wide term in the context of the business world, but to be precise it could be defined as the potential of the manager to express the intent of strategy for the organisation and thereby portraying the strategic vision of the organisation, with an intent to motivate or persuade the stakeholders and the workers to work towards achieving the vision (Bass, 1999). Strategic leadership defines the vision and helps align the company stakeholders through the division of mission, objectives and operational level strategies. It helps in fostering a need for direction and in the process unite the resources for achieving the best results. This paper will try to highlight this aspect of sustainability of one such automobile company called Tesla Motors in the light of the evident force of leadership (Algahtani, 2014).
1.1.3. Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors is one of the eminent automobile companies of the world, which has it headquarter in California. CEO & Founder Elon Musk has been in the forefront of many businesses before opening the company. The company has started creating much interest among the potential customers, who love innovation and are inclined towards paying high prices for the same. Electric cars, autonomous vehicles, innovative cars are some of the major products of the company which are starting to create disruption in the world of transportation (Tesla.com, 2019). The stint of the company with space travel also deserve special mention. However, pulling out such big & humongous projects, do require strategic leadership and directive measures. This company could be regarded as one of the most eminent companies when it comes to studying such initiatives and implications. Problem Statement
1.2. History of the topic subject/ problem
Globalization & digitization have also resulted in making the consumers more aware & concerned about their daily activities and consumption pattern. As per PRNewswire, the sales of Green vehicles are set to rise at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 19% till 2023 (Prnewswire.com, 2019). This has directly translated towards the requirement of the products & services which are more sustainable and are long lasting along with greener perspective. The automotive players on the other hand, have also become aware of the customer feedback in the light of the eminent growth, expansion & positioning of the companies. The automotive companies are also striving towards optimizing their resources, increasing the effectiveness of their operations and in the meantime use greened alternatives across the value chain (Orsatoand Wells, 2007). While the above activities are contributing towards their increased operational costs, the automotive companies are juxtaposed between further adopting these initiatives against their initiatives of reduction of the operational costs. Seasonality is also taking a toll on the growth of the companies in this sector, as varied fluctuations could be seen across their sales figures across the different countries in which the companies are operating. However, in this quagmire situation one bleak hope remains in the form of market growth, increase in share prices and customers adopting more of innovative solutions. Hence, strategic leadership has slowly become one of the important mandates for most of the automotive companies of the world. Tesla Motors, which is considered as one of the most innovative companies in this sector (As stated by Third parties, analysts & consultants), is thus being taken as point of reference for the basic context of strategic leadership & its importance towards driving sustainability in the organisation, amidst external & internal hindrances.
1.3. Importance of strategic leadership for sustainability of the automobile sector
Strategic leadership is one of the high-endconcepts of business management, which have several implications for various industries across the world. Sustainability has also become a much-hyped term in recent times. In this context, it is highly relevant to discuss and analyze the factors of strategic leadership which help an organisation to achieve sustainability. However, very few journal articles, literature and even blogs have touched upon the topic of strategic leadership as a force of sustainability in the automotive industry. This dissertation will focus on understanding the same in the context of "Tesla Motors" and their leadership team & CEO. The dissertation will try to understand the leadership facets along with understanding some of the factors which help in the achievement of sustainability in the automotive sector as manifested through few other examples and then understanding the same in the context of Tesla Motors. This type of company specific automotive industry research has not been done, hence bears significance towards the research community in generating meaningful insights and knowledge. Despite being a loss-making company till now, Tesla has been instrumental to bring forward the most innovative concepts and that is why the rationale goes behind studying the company.
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1.4. Questions, Research Aims&Objectives
1.4.1. Research Questions
Research questions help in elaborating the various objectives and are mainly derived from the same. However, the research questions help in focusing on the specific needs. The research questions as derived from the research objectives are:
• How Tesla one of the pioneers of Green technologies & electric vehicles is struggling & innovating at the same time, owing to the strategic leadership, to move towards a sustainable future like other automotive companies?
1.4.2. Research Aim
The concept of globalization and digitization have started having significant impact over the different industries in varied forms. While some industries have been able to manage their processes more efficiently, some are facing the wrath of price increase of the supplies, while some are riding the wave of digitization for offering a wide range of benefits for the customers. In this context, the automotive industry is at a crucial juncture. At one end, they are aimed to produce innovative solutions daily and one the other hand, they are being instructed to either increase sales or reduce costs. Strategic leadership is the requirement of the day.
Aim - To understand the various factors of importance for the strategic leadership for the automotive industry, especially for the company Tesla and the ways by which Tesla Motors is working towards achieving sustainability in a dynamic highly competitive environment.
The research would evolve around in understanding some of the best practices and thereby understand the same with that of Tesla Motors from the perspective of the various executives in the automobile industry, so that recommendations could be given to the company on the basis of several gaps & challenges.
1.4.3. Research Objectives
The Research Objectives section help in formulating the research objectives, which could be enumerated as follows:
• To study the academic literature on theories related to leadership theories, styles, implications etc., along with understanding sustainability & corporate governance theories
• To study and analyze the practical applications related to the automotive industry
• To analyze the various factors of strategic importance, which contribute towards the sustainability of the automobile sector, with a focus towards green or electric vehicles.
• To generate insights about the varied hindrances for the automotive sector, to move towards a sustainable environment from the academic theories& secondary sources.
• Evaluate the importance of Strategic leadership and the importance of the same in the automotive sector.
• Analyzing the various approaches through which strategic leadership could help in achieving sustainability for the automotive sector, in the context of Tesla Motors
• To analyze the different steps & implications of Tesla Motors and their success and thereby relate back the same for the whole industry
1.4.4. Research Environment & data Collection
A mixed-method research would be carried out where there would be both the use of primary & secondary data points. Secondary data points, like qualitative data about around research objectives, automotive sector, Tesla Motors etc. would be collected from the registered or open databases with the help of keywords or key-phrases search. While the primary data points would be collected from the employees of Tesla motors along with others from the automotive industry &, as available in the social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, by using survey tool. The questionnaire for the survey would be created after the literature review and the primary data points would only be collected after the consent of the employees and after assuring them of the anonymity. At review check would be done at the first stage to understand their knowledge & understanding of the topic, so that credible data points are being collected.
1.5. Report structure
The2ndchapter will emphasize on the literature review aspects of dissertation and would help in understand the various facets of the topic, research objectives. The third chapter would be on research methodology which is mainly concerned with the different steps of the research and the description of the different steps which have helped in performing the research study. The next chapter would be on Data Analysis section, where the primary data points collected through the primary survey would be analysed and represented in the form of many graphs and figures. The next chapter would be on conclusion of the research and aligning the findings of the primary survey with that of the literature review. This would help in identifying the gaps and therefore give impetus & queues for recommendations to the company or the industry. The last chapter would focus on recommendations and evaluation of the research along with portraying the way forward.
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2. Chapter 2 - Literature Review
2.1. Introduction to Literature Review
Literature review helps in collecting information from the secondary sources which further help in contributing the cause of analyzing the objectives of the research, along with understanding some of the practical applications. The literature review done in this section comprises of analysis of the strategic leadership theories coupled with the sustainability theories along with practical examples form that of the automobile sector. The literature review would finally help in formulating the themes on which the research questionnaire would be developed. A detailed literature study will be conducted to understand how strategic leadership can help in achieving the sustainability in automobile sector along with academic theories.
2.2. Academic theories of Strategic Leadership theories
2.2.1. Strategic Leadership
Strategic leadership defines the vision and helps align the company stakeholders through the division of mission, objectives and operational level strategies. It helps in fostering a need for direction and in the process unite the resources for achieving the best results. Global leaders are considering sustainability practices as one of their key mission. This not only promotes the innovation for the environment, but also improves the brand image of the organisations.
2.2.2. Who are Strategic Leaders?
The managers who can project a strategic vision for any organisation then they are said to be strategic leaders (Babar, Behara & Koufteros, 2017). The leaders are not only able to show strategic vision for the employees of the organisation but also are able to motivate and guide the employees into achieving the strategic vision. This can also be termed as the utilization of strategies in management of an organisation and its employees. Such leaders can create an efficient organisational structure so that the goals can be achieved by optimum allocation of resources in hand. There are many challenges that the organisations face because of various changes in internal and external environment and the strategic leaders can overcome these challenges efficiently, as they are able to influence the employees and suppliers to work as per requirements. Strategic productivity is the main aim of strategic leaders (Banks, Ledbetter & Greenhalgh, 2016). Another aim of the strategic leaders is to let the employees feel empowered enough to relate the aim of the organisation as per their own professional goals so that they can put in their effort in a more whole-hearted manner (Boehm and Dwertmann, 2015). This is also done through proper reward and recognition system wherein the employees can obtain the best rewards as they go on achieving the objectives of the organisation, which becomes a great motivation for the employees. Thus, the employees try to perform more of their prescribed duties(Claudet, 2016). There is efficient planning, perception and inventiveness for achieving the organisational vision.
2.2.3. Traits of strategic leadership
The attributes that are looked upon in strategic leaders depends on the problem or challenges in hand (Day et al., 2014). For instance, if there is a problem with the operational processes in an organisation's then a communications expert should not be brought in to deal with it, instead and expert in operations should be roped in to manage the challenges. Some of the traits that must be present in all the strategic leaders are given as under:
There is a need to be clear communicators in order to keep all the resources in line for the achievement of strategic objectives (D'Innocenzo, Mathieu & Kukenberger 2016) The goal of a strategic leader is to bring all the employees on the same page and for that to happen they often-solo meetings with the employees to apprise them about the exact requirements.
The strategic leaders plan by looking at the details and thus they ensure that everything happens as per the requirements. Thus, they try and anticipate the challenges that may come up in the process. The strategic leaders try to plug in the weak areas in any organisational process so that they don't happen, and difficulties can be avoided well in advance (Garavanand Carbery, 2016). The strategic leadership helps employees foresee problems and suggest them ways to not fall into the problem areas.
The leaders do not only share the passion of being a charismatic leader, but they also commit to finishing the job that is bestowed upon them (Hoch and Bommer, 2017). They jump in the problems and are dedicated to not leave if the problem is not resolved. Thus, the dedication to finish the task is high for the strategic leaders.
The leaders are well-structured planners, which means that they include innovative processes into their strategies but do not always deviate from the industry approved best practices. In order to reach the objectives only the most appropriate pathway is chosen by the strategic leaders(Cullen-Lester and Yammarino, 2016). The decisions are not made in an impulsive manner, but the pros and cons are thought through properly before any decisions are taken. All the decisions are put through the lens of approval after seeing their viability in the achievement of long term and short-term plans.
Challenging the status Quo
The strategic leaders are very forward looking and they like creating ways for the increase in productivity and efficiency (Peterson and Smith, 2017). The new ways of doing tasks are embraced by the strategic leaders as they try to challenge older pre-set conventions at times.
Like the democratic leaderships, the strategic leaders understand that it is utmost essential to have everybody on the same page for the efficient achievement of organisational objectives. They try to put up responsibilities for smaller teams and if necessary, at the individual levels (Priest and Gass, 2017). The teams are made to understand that they must move ahead in a unified manner as they collaborate to achieve various objectives that are intertwined with each other. Which means that the output of all the teams are necessary for the overall achievement of the organisational objectives and so they must work in a unified approach.
The strategic leaders have the two most important characteristics of having vision and discipline. The leaders help to find out ways to remove obstacles and if required create newer ways of better doing something. The leaders are thus adaptive to change, and they tend to keep the organisation together in case of any unforeseen challenges.
2.2.4. Strategic leadership facets as evident from Literature reviews
Importance of strategic leadership is widespread. Starting from that of leading an organisation to helping an organisation to grow & prosper. However, some of the important impacts of strategic leadership is being shown below:
• The executives in strategic leadership positions encourage objective thinking as they break down the long-term goals into smaller short-term objectives. They communicate the message that achievement of these smaller short-term objectives is essential for achieving the long-term goals of the organisation
• The strategic leaders create a framework for coming up with the strategic decisions. This framework is known by the organisation's managers and employees
• The leaders help to build more commitment from the employees so that the employees can give their best in their work by seeing the application of their hard work into the larger landscape.
• Strategic leadership positions are created to imbibe a culture of inclusion and transparency. This enables free flow of information and knowledge(Raelin, 2016). When the human resource department can understand that what skill set people are required and in how many numbers then they are able to bridge the gap themselves efficiently. Thus, there is need to have free and transparent flow of information.
One of follow-up discussions of strategic leadership lies in the fact that strategic leadership not only helps in growth but also helps an organisation to sustain the withers of the dynamic environment and thereby encourage growth & change as the only constant. The sustainability & its link with strategic leaderships in the automobile sectors would be discussed in the later sections.
Sustainability denotes fulfilling our today's needs and requirements without compromising future generation's ability to fulfil their needs. Sustainability means not only conserving the natural resources, but it also encompasses the conservation of economic and social resources. Environmentalism, Socialism, conservatism is blended into the sustainability. The concept of sustainability is relatively new. However, the impact of sustainability is large and large global organisations are considering sustainability as their strategic initiatives.All the industries including Automobile industry is thriving towards achieving the goal of sustainability. As automobile industry is one of the biggest contributors of air pollutions, the industry is more concerned about the high emission rates. Even a few years back it was very much unreal to think that a luxury sedan or SUV car is run by electricity generated from battery.
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2.4. Sustainability theories
From 2008, a significant improvement happened in the battery capabilities. At the same time, the air quality was being worsened. Therefore, several nations wanted to reduce the greenhouse gas emission. Governments introduced subsidies, tax relief on battery operated electric vehicle. Tesla, Nissan utilized this factor and came up with their electric car and disrupted the electric vehicle market. The automobile industry leadership is focused on reducing the pollution and almost every large automobile maker are now focusing on manufacturing the electric vehicle. The strategic vision and leadership are driving the automobile sector towards a more environment friendly business world. Telsa being driven by Elon Mask, who himself is a key supporter of innovation, is utilizing the opportunity of creating a sustainable world by fostering innovation. The organisation is working towards improving the battery capacity and reducing the charging time so become more energy efficient. Sustainability in the automotive sector depends on variouscriteria. Business sustainability in the automotive sector can be understood as the way in which the organisations are able to generate enough funds to compensate for the costs associated with production of automobiles, replenish the usage of assets and invest in the future to keep on competing in the highly competitive business scenario (Sarrosand Santora, 2001). Thus, there is huge benefit that comes from innovation in the technology and service categories. The business processes are being constantly altered and improvised to include newer innovative activities to make them more sustainable. The idea to keep the organisation produce things of value and in turn remain profitable for an infinite time.
2.4.1. Academic Theory of Green Economics
Green economics refer to the practice of reduction in the risks to the environment, focusing on ecological scarcities and aiming towards sustainable development and to minimise environmental degradation(Vaz, Rauen, & Lezana, 2017).Many companies are embracing sustainable development in order to help in its production and marketing activities as well as making minimum negative impact on the environment. One of the biggest examples of sustainability in the automotive sector is of General Motors. GM does creative reuse and zero waste activities. The company produces more than 9 million cars every year and has a program for creative materials reuse. This program involves reusing of packaging supplies, worn out tires and metal pieces and so on. One of the biggest examples of how GM embraces sustainable practices can be taken from the oil spill in Deepwater horizon in the year 2010. There was the successful recycling of more than 2500 miles of oil-soaked booms into vehicle parts. The recycling project helped in curbing secondary environmental pollution by not letting the oil-soaked booms from going into big land fields. There are various GM products that are re used or re purposed into cooling and heating products, garden utensils and so on. The zero-waste initiative is a mindset that helps in diverting 100% of waste materials from landfills in Mexico, Canada and South America. The recycling activities can be termed as sustainable practices as these have been able to reduce environmental pollution as well as bring in profitability for the company. GM today has more than 140 landfill free areas and facilities and the company has been able to harvest a huge amount of revenue from them (Smith and Lewis, 2016). These activities had other positive impacts as well like the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions wherein more than 8million metric tons of carbon dioxide was prevented from being released in the environment in the year 2015 because of the various recycling and reuse programs in effect.An environmental challenge has been started by the automobile behemoth Toyota that is aimed at reducing environmental impact by the year 2050. Keeping the aim in mind the company has till now been able to sell more than 10 million units of hybrid and plug in hybrid vehicles globally. This has been estimated by various analyst and research agencies that Toyota has been able to save more than 7.66 gallons of gasoline globally together with reducing CO2 emissions by more than 77 million tons, which is a huge number on its own. Toyota introduced an electric vehicle called as Mirai electric vehicle that provides for 300 miles of driving range and a refueling time of only 5 minutes. The Mirai has only water as its major exhaust. The car was launched in Japan in the beginning but afterwards the sales was extended to California as well as some other US cities. The company has been getting Sustained Excellence Awards since a long time. The company benefits from huge cost savings from the decrease in electricity consumption levels. Toyota has many programs related to environmental management, reduction in greenhouse gases and optimized usage and disposal of chemicals. The company works towards zero CO2 emission target.
2.4.2. Academic Theory of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Corporate Social responsibility could be defined as the gamut of activities being performed by the organisation in alignment with the broader goals of SDG or Sustainable Development Goals, so that it could contribute back to the society. There are multiple examples of such cases, one being that of the story of Honda. Honda is a very ethical company. It is the first company to come out with the figure of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from its operations. The company has also done multiple commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in many of its facilities. For instance, the company has committed to reduce its GHG emissions in its Alliston manufacturing plant to half soon. In the year 1998, Honda started mass-producing the world's first car that ran on natural gas. The car's name was Civic GX. The insight was another vehicle that came from Honda, which specifically was a hybrid vehicle with extremely low emissions. Honda claims that all its new vehicles are 99% recyclable at the end of their usage cycle. Honda uses many environment friendly organic materials like sugarcane to build the internal instrument panels, linings on the roofs, upholstery and many other parts. The company has pledged to reduce environmental impact as well as negative effect on human beings with every car they manufacture.
2.4.3. Academic Theory of Corporate Sustainability
The acceptance towards sustainable operations have increased in recent times, thanks to the raised awareness of the consumers, coupled with translating the feedback to that of the manufacturers and government implementing strong regulatory measures to regulate the industry players against their discretionary actions(Sukitsch, Engert, & Baumgartner, 2015). The sustainable business measures come from new outcomes of Research and Development on technological and managerial skills. These changes need some time to be fully included in the production and management systems of the organisation. There are other cost implications as well when such newer policies and procedures are arrived at, but the automobile companies plan to recover the costs from the wide scale adoption and the benefits that are derived from that.
2.4.4. Academic Theory of Stakeholder theory
This theory relates to the theory of business ethics and the corresponding organisational management in the context of the sector. However, multiple constituencies are comprised of this theory as it suggests that different stakeholders are the actual entities which help run the business and generate values for the business. The automobile sector is one of the most important sectors for any economy ever since Ford was able to mass produce cars and banks were able to finance it. This sector contributes to the trade and commerce in a huge manner. The automobile sector is also an important customer of the steel industry as well as aluminum and petrochemicals industry. Sustainability of the automobile sector is important for the other sectors also for this reason. The big names in automobile industry like Toyota, General Motors, Honda etc. have been frontrunners in including sustainable processes in its production and distribution systems. Environmental impact reduction is a major part of sustainable initiatives that are taken by the companies.
2.5. How Strategic leadership could help in achieving sustainability in automobile sector
This sub-section would try to address the link that exist between the strategic leadership and the sustainability in the autombile sector under consideration. First it will try to highloght some of the trends which are instigating the strategic leadership to take actions & thereby formulate various initiatives to mitigate the risks of the duynamic changes.
2.5.1. Global Automobile Industry Future Trends
The research highlights the global automobile industry trends to understand the market. Analysts and researchers have predicted multiple key trends. This dissertation is an effort of collation the trends and creating an independent point of view. According to consulting firm PwC (Hanna, Kuhnert & Kiuchi, 2015) the automobile industry is currently facing its biggest transformation journey. As per McKinsey, the cost pressure will be more in coming years due to regulatory stringency (Mohr et al., 2013). Their findings can be summarized into four different future scenarios to explain the future perspective of the automobile industry.
Figure 1: Trends in the Global Automobile Market
Autonomous car market accelerates: The world is witnessing a huge transformation in autonomous driving space. This is dependent on the clearance from the government and lawmakers(Riehl, 2018). The automobile makers, technology giants, car aggregator service companies are collaborating with the academia and universities to conduct research on this. The technology companies are taking prime role in this journey. Google has been experimenting with the autonomous vehicle. Similar with aggregator companies such as Uber is also experimenting with Autonomous vehicle.
The competition among the car aggregators and rental services will become fierce. The startups will emerge to provide superior customer experience and will compete with the traditional players. Ride sharing services will have one or two major players in a region-specific manner. Technology players, which may come up with autonomous vehicle, could disrupt the ride sharing services in near future.
Rise of Electric vehicle: Strict government regulation for carbon emission and fuel efficiency will increase the need of electric vehicle. The increasing demand of electric cars will open new markets for developing nations such as India, Brazil. The governments need to back up this initiative and would have to provide opportunity for required infrastructure for charging the electric vehicle.
The strict regulation on fuel emission and efficiency would increase the cost of manufacturing of new car, which would increase the car-selling price. This would motivate the commuters to ride sharing instead of buying a new car. Therefore, the automobile makers will face a decline in sales globally. Many governments are nurturing this concept(Shaw, 2014).
The technology companies will tie up with the automobile companies to provide better tech specifications in the electric car, including seamless connectivity via cloud, improvement in the security features. This will help to match the continuously growing digital demand of the customers.
Emergence of new champions due to connectivity: Few years back, the global automobile industry was comprised of automobile OEMs and automotive suppliers. There has been a significant drift noticed in the automobile industry in recent past and it will continue to do so in near term. The industry will have multiple players and each player will play critical role. Automobile aggregators, Technology service providers, Consumer electronics, Communication specialist companies, Start-ups, emerging OEMs will play vital role in driving the automobile industry along with the traditional players. According to PwC the connected car market for passenger vehicle will increase to €122 billion in 2021 from €40 billion (Hanna, Kuhnert & Kiuchi 2015).
Regionalized automobile industry: This scenario explains the trends in a very restrictive political environment. The automobile maker will have a limited access to some of the key global markets including China. The markets, which will keep open for the global players, the Government will strictly monitor the automobile industry. The automobile companies will be forced to set up infrastructure in the regional markets. These plants will either assemble the car or will manufacture the equipment and assemble.
Shared Economy: In every possible scenario, one aspect is common, that is effect of shared economy. The usage of private vehicle will decline globally. This is predominantly due to stringent government regulations for emissions, increasing car value and mindset of millennials. Ridesharing helps in reducing the congestion, carbon emission and fuel dependency (Chan & Shaheen 2012). The fleet service providers, online aggregators will observe a high growth in their business in coming years. Technology providers will also disrupt this space by innovation and collaboration with the automobile OEM and service providers.
2.5.2. Strategic leadership in implementing Sustainability in Automobile Industry
In current days, automobile companies are facing a very stringent competition globally(Singh, 2018). The primary reason is dynamic changes in customer demands, and continuous increase of regulatory pressure. The automobile sector is going through a digital disruption predominantly driven by the emerging technology such as Internet of things, cloud, Artificial intelligence and others. All the key global automobile players want to differentiate themselves with their competitors by providing value added services powered by technology. Therefore, the automobile companies are more focused on improving the quality, embracing innovation and risk. The companies are ready to response quickly on regulatory changes to keep stable in the volatile market.
Hence, the leaders in the automobile industry are always open for these challenges in the demanding market. Strategic leadership can be interpreted as the top management's capability to define the future actions and motivating all the employees to move towards that direction(Jargons, 2019). The strategic leadership can be broadly classified into ten principle (Leitch, Lancefield & Dawson 2016). These ten principles of strategic leadership can also be implemented in the automobile industry. Overall, it can be segregated into three broad pillars. First is System and structure, second pillar is Policies, People and practices. Third pillar focuses on the self. This section will address various dimensions of strategic leadership in practicing sustainability in automobile industry based on this framework.
Figure 2: Three pillars of Strategic Leadership
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A) Automobile Industry ways - Practical Applications
1. Distribute Responsibility: Top leaders in automobile industry distributes the responsibility downward. By using effective communication practices the leader can disseminate his vision and strategy towards each and employee to make them aware about their responsibility. This approach provides opportunity for change and mind sharing(Beckmann, 2017). One such example is Toyota Motors in US. The President of the organisation used the locker room concept to hear from the employees and finally understood the loopholes. The solutions were suggested by him based on the effective communication. Line managers helped President in creating a process improvement roadmap.
2. Seamless communication:Organisations need to have a communication plan ready when it wants to achieve any challenging objectives(Ference, 2019). Any sustainability initiatives require seamless communication between the employees. The employees must be aware of the nuances and benefits of the sustainability initiatives. The leadership needs to communicate this message to all the employees to make them aware about the sustainability vision and mission. The sustainability initiatives in automobile industry are very much strategic in terms of company brand images.
3. Embracing innovation: One of the most essential principles of strategic leadership is embracing innovation. Leaders always thrive for innovation. In an automotive company the leaders promote innovation to achieve their sustainable goal. The organisations such as Toyota, Tesla, Honda are constantly innovating their product to reduce the carbon footprint and emission. The innovation helps to prepare products which can be recycled 100%. These initiatives help to achieve the sustainability goal. A strategic leadership helps to imbibe the culture of innovation among the employees. This quality helps to challenge the status quo, which is much needed to innovate a new product or services. Automobile industry is highly volatile, and the companies are highly competitive in nature. The increasing customer digital demand encourages the organisations to challenge the status quo and embrace innovation by using emerging technologies (Nambisan, Lyytinen, Majchrzak, & Song, 2017).
B) Policies, People and Practice
4. Embrace Failure: While adopting an innovation it is imperative that the experiment might emerge as a failure. The strategic leadership of an organisations always embrace failure. Even in case of implementing a sustainable plan it might be possible that the outcome of the initiative is not as valuable as expected. Still the leaders embrace and try to find different possibilities. The learning gathered from the failure is important for creating the next strategic vision.
5. Providing opportunities for others: The leaders provide opportunities to other potential leaders. The fundamental of strategic leadership. Even in a closed group or open meeting leaders need to listen to the others and brainstorm the possible solutions.
6. Continuous learning: The highly competitive automotive industry is always changing its business model due to continuous change in global business scenarios. The leaders embrace continuous learning in sustainable implementation.
7. Embrace Transformation: The global automotive industry is going through a disruptive transformation. The automobile leaders are focused on creating the sustainability plan. The leaders identify the key stakeholders who can transform the sustainability roadmap. Based on their inputs and analysis a proper roadmap can be created and implemented across the organisation.
C) Self Focused:
8. Dedicated: Dedication towards the mission and vision is one of the key principles of strategic leadership. The automobile industry leaders need to be dedicated to implement the sustainable practices in their organisations.
9. Time for reflection: Leaders learn from their mistakes. Automotive industry leaders are required to learn from their mistakes. One such example is Volkswagen. When it was identified that their engine has some emission issues the CEO resigned and took all responsibility.
10. Leadership as continuous practice: Strategic leadership is a continuous practice. It is a continuous process as like sustainability. Sustainability cannot be achieved in one day. So, the leaders need to devote their time and effort to make this happen across the organisation.
The sustainability practices can be incorporated in any organisation by following these seven steps.
Figure 3: Implementation of sustainable practices in an organisation
Stakeholder Analysis: A detailed stakeholder analysis is necessary to understand the effect of the sustainability practices. Today's business world is complex. The global automobile organisations are expected to give back to the society, nature from where it is taking resources (Orsatoand Wells, 2007). Therefore, before devising a sustainability plan it is very much essential to consider each stakeholder in this plan. Once the stakeholder identification is completed the organisation needs to prepare a statement of requirement of sustainability plan.
Creating sustainable development objective and policies: Next step is creating sustainable management policies. Generally, senior management creates this policy, which the employees would need to follow to achieve the common objective. The policies should clearly articulate the vision and responsibilities of the employees of automotive organisation.
Executing the sustainable development plan: It is essential to create a sustainability plan and execute the plan at enterprise level. This affects the entire corporate culture. This will also affect the employee attitude. This this is a very critical change management process, which the automobile organisations need to drive to achieve the sustainability goal. As a first step, the leaders should communicate the message of the changes to all the employees. For individual key stakeholders the role needs to be defined(Beckmann, 2017). From marketing, research, legal, HR, Finance to operation, each team needs to be involved during this change management process. The base management framework should remain intact, but a significant change is required at enterprise level to implement the sustainability practices.
Imbibe the sustainability culture across organisation: The leadership needs to ensure that the employees are supporting the changes due to incorporating the sustainability business practices. Most of the stakeholders support the organisations which operates in a responsible manner for its society. Effective communication is required to at organisation level to communicate the objective of the policy and possible outcome of it.
Measuring performance: The management reporting of the sustainability practices is essential to understand the success measure of the program. To measure the sustainability practices each unit should generate performance report in a standardized manner to achieve the common objective. There is a great opportunity for the Automobile sector to work with the governments and helps in establishing a standardized reporting practices and measures of the initiatives.
Reporting: Automobile company needs to create a meaningful sustainability report for internal leadership and stakeholders. This report is useful for management to understand the performance of the initiatives and accordingly to change their strategy. Companies are also publishing the sustainability report to maintain transparency for all the stakeholders.
Continuous Internal Monitoring: The leadership needs to monitor the progress continuously. By following the government regulation, competitor's movement and ongoing performance, automobile company can update their strategy. The organisations need to achieve the idea of Green consumerism, which is predominantly driven by the consumers who are socially responsible and willing to increase the ecological footprint(Viswanathan, 2018).
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2.6. Themes identification from Literature Review
The themes as identified from the literature review, which would further help in formulating the questionnaire for survey are as follows and divided into three sections:
2.6.1. System & Structure
• Presence of stakeholder analysis process
• Presence of continuous performance measurement for sustainable operations
• Presence of sustainability monitoring
• Presence of Quality management & sustainable groups
• Presence of practices which accepts failures
2.6.2. Policies, People & Practices
• Creative Environment creation (Motivation, Chance of failure) or sustainable culture
• Focus on Corporate Sustainability practices
• Focus on Green Economics
• Focus on Sustainability (New Ideas, Innovation, Futuristic thinking, Similar to other companies)
• Focus on Employee (Friendliness, Opportunities)
• Focus on training employees for sustainability & adopting changes changes
• Traits of Strategic leader (Communicator, Forward thinking, Dedication, Structured planning, Challenging status quo, unified approach)
• Focus on Discipline (Monitoring, Discipline, Policy Focus, Regulations etc.)
2.7. Summary of the Academic Theory - Literature Review
This literature review helps in explaining notions & theories related to Strategic leadership, Sustainability related to Automobile industry and linkage between strategic leadership in bringing sustainability in the automobile sector. Strategic leaders are not only able to show strategic vision for the employees of the organisation but also are able to motivate and guide the employees into achieving the strategic vision. The dissertation describes various traits of a strategic leadership whichare effective and efficient communication, forward thinking attitude, dedication, planning, challenge the status quo and unified approach. The leaders help to build more commitment from the employees so that the employees can give their best in their work by seeing the application of their hard work into the larger landscape. Coming to the part of sustainability, the section emphasizes on the fact that sustainability denotes fulfilling our today's needs and requirements without compromising future generation's ability to fulfill their needs. Theories like that of Green economics, corporate sustainability, corporate social sustainability and stakeholder theories are being discussed followed with case examples from the automobile sector. The review highlighted the sustainability practices in various automobile giants such as General motors, Toyota, Honda. All these companies are majorly focusing on reduction of carbon footprint, recycling their product and usage of alternate fuel and power. These organisations are focusing on innovative approach to achieve their sustainability goals. Concluding the discussion, it could be said that the Automobile industry is driving a huge transformation, which is predominantly driven by the emergent technology adoption. Many Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), technology giants are conducting research on Autonomous vehicle along with the academia. Due to the stringent regulation of emission norms the OEMs are focusing on creating electric car which is environment friendly. It was noticed that connectivity is the next big thing in automobile industry. However due to regulations the Automobile manufactures need to increase investment in establishing manufacturing plan in some countries. Consumers are relying on the car sharing services, which in turn decrease the private vehicle sales. The literature review also highlighted the role of strategic leadership in automobile industry for implementing the sustainability practices. The study proposes the three-dimensional framework. First pillar is System and structure, second pillar is Policies, People and practices. Third pillar focuses on the self. Various attributes of strategic leadership in Automobile industry was explained based on this framework.The research highlighted the seven stages of implementing sustainability practices. These are- Stakeholder Analysis, creating sustainable development objective and policies, executing the sustainable development plan, executing the sustainable development plan, Imbibe the sustainability culture across organisation, measuring performance, reporting, continuous internal monitoring.
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3. Chapter 3 - Research Methodology
Research methodology helps in selecting the specific procedures along with the definite tools, enablers & techniques which could be used to process, select, analyze, and identify the points about the research topic under consideration as found in the academic theories of Literature Review. It could be divided into several steps which helps collecting, collating & researching the data points. The different steps are being enumerated in the next sections.
3.2. Research Philosophy
Research Philosophy generally relates to the set of beliefs or the procedures which helps in defining the nature of the reality under study or consideration. The varied assumptions which are being taken under the research philosophy helps in set the context for the research to be completed. It is basically the belief by the help of which the data points would be gathered from the various sources. Mainly there are two types of research philosophies of Positivism & Interpretivism, with two more derived versions of realism & pragmatism(UASNS, 2015). While positivism deals with highly structured huge number of data points, but it is also useful for both the types of quantitative & qualitative data points. However, when it comes to interpretivism, only qualitative data points are the best fit as it deals with interpreting in-depth interviews or surveys of qualitative information. Realism is a new philosophy which where the research method chosen must be able to fit the subject matter.
But the most suitable research philosophy for this research is pragmatism, which can deal with multiple designs of methods along with dealing with both types of qualitative & quantitative data points(Rajasekar, Philominathan, & Chinnathambi, 2013). One of the biggest strengths of this philosophy is the flexibility as over the requirement, which renders its name.
3.3. Research Approach
Research approach could be defined as the steps or the plan which defines the steps of collecting, collating & analyzing the data points. This comes from the research philosophy but plays an important role in more specifying the method to the researcher. There are different research approaches mainly inductive, deductive, qualitative and quantitative. In the data collection part of the research approach, there are two methods mainly qualitative & the quantitative(Crescentini and Mainardi, 2012).
For the process of data analyzing the are again two methods, namely inductive and the deductive methods. The deductive approach mainly deals with the data points where the hypothesis needs to be developed first followed by the testing of the hypothesis. This approach is mainly suited for positivism approach, and in case there are huge amount of data appoints to be tested to come at the conclusion. But here the data points would not be huge in number and the data collection would also follow a mixed approach. Hence an inductive approach would be taken which will deal with deriving information from specific to general, unlike the deductive approach which deals with moving from general theory to specific information. However, for the purpose of this research, the inductive method will be best suited for the process of data collection would be a mixed method, which comprises of collection of both quantitative & qualitative data points from the respondents or the target groups under consideration(Gentles, Charles, Ploeg, & McKibbon, 2015).
3.4. Research Strategies
The next logical step in the research methodology is the research process which indicates the process by which the research is intended to be carried out by the researchers. However, there are many methods to choose from a gamut of research strategies which are present. For example, experimental research strategy mainly deals with creation of a research process which could help in testing the results of a practical experiment and hence this is not suitable for the purpose of the incumbent research under consideration. If it would have been studying a specific research problem with a community of practice, then the method to be followed could be action-based research. It mainly involves a practice which is reflection based, and in studying the inputs from the experts and the practioners(Levitt, et al., 2018). Then there is case study-based research which focuses on the aspect of different case studies related to the context & the culture of the research study under choice, and thereby helps the researcher to draw generic information & insights from the specific cases under consideration. This is mainly restricted to assessment of a single unit or single order. Another research strategy is the grounded theory approach, which is one of the strongest methods of analyzing the qualitative data points, as it builds upon the insights being generated from the qualitative data points only, by following an inductive approach. This means, that the results of the various data points are mainly derived from the already completed researches. Ethnography research helps in studying the cultural aspects of the group or the individuals under consideration and the archival research strategy is the one which takes into consideration the pre-existing materials & the information being present on the secondary sources in order to build upon a strong framework of research.
However, for the purpose of this research under consideration, the most suited research strategy is a survey-based approach. The use of survey-based approach is very common the research world, and it can help in generate both qualitative & quantitative data points for further analysis.
3.5. Research Choices
The research choice determines whether it would be a mono method or a multi-method or a mixed method. While mono-method deals with only one type of data points of either qualitative or quantitative in nature, multimethod deals with taking into consideration multiple methods at different segments(Östlund, Kidd, Wengström, & Rowa-Dewar, 2010). That is why the data analyzing techniques are multiple in nature and are used at different segments.
But for the purpose of this research, mixed method approach would be taken where a combination of both qualitative & quantitative data analysis technique would be deployed.
3.6. Time Horizons
The time horizon mainly helps in determining the timeline across which the research is being concluded. For this research a cross-sectional data collection would be done as the data would be collected from multiple individuals simultaneously over a short period of time(Ryan, Coughlan, & Cronin, 2007).
3.7. Data Presentation
The data points would be collected with the help of the MS-Excel tool so that analysis & formation of the graphs & figures could be directly performed using the same. Further the end results would be analysed& discussed.
3.8. Data Collection Methods & Target Population
Primary Data points would be collected by taking survey responses from the people of Tesla as available through the secondary sources like LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook. Along with the same, survey responses of also experienced personnel in the automotive industry would also be done so that the number of data points collected is large in number(Suresh, Thomas, & Suresh, 2012). Secondary data points would be collected from the various secondary sources such as the websites, blogs, journal articles, websites and related news items which contain information related to leadership, sustainability & growth at Tesla. These are being classified as the data points having academic credibility.
3.8.1. Sampling & Sampling Number
The sampling method which would be followed here is convenient sampling. Convenient sampling method is the method through which the researcher searches for the samples as per the convenience of the researcher. It would be difficult to collect the responses only from the Tesla employees, hence convince & network of the researchers across the social networks would be used to get in touch with the required respondents and the corresponding responses would be collected(Omair, 2014). The focused non-probabilistic method would be used for the purpose of the secondary sources searching. The combination is best suited for this type of mixed-method approach, as it helps in generating more & more information as per the requirement of the research. Also, the data points could be collected as per the focus and the need or as per the convenience of the researchers (Teddlie and Yu, 2007).
3.8.2. Selecting the number of respondents
The researchers would try to collect data points from atleast 50 such employees so that they could provide valuable information related to leadership style & ways of performing functions by Elon Musk at Tesla. This is found by considering a population size of 1 million who would be interested in such a survey, that is only the strategic leaders in the automobile industery, followed confidence interval of 14 and confidence level of 95%. While the answer comes to be 49 (Shown in Appendix C), so for the convinience the sample of 50 employees would be taken.
3.9. Ethical Issues
While performing the research, the researchers have taken care of all the ethical issues related to collecting data points through the survey. First of all they have taken infomred consent from all along with ensuring the anonymity of the survey respondents as disclosing the name or ID could lead to the breach of confidentiality with that of their present employers(Leonard, 2019). The privacy is also being taken care for, by storing the data points in terminals which stays under complete virus and spamware protection. Next, ethical considerations have been taken against the biasedness of the researchers(Resnik, 2015). At no point of time any personal opinion of the researchers have cropped in, making the solution more authentic in nature(Rao, 2008). Next, care has been taken for the questions to be straightforward & simple, so as to avoid misleading the respondents. Care has also been taken so that no biasedness from the respondents crop in. Finaly, all the secondary sources which have been used, have been given the due references so that credibility with respect to statements made or theories discussed are authentic & credible(Resnik, 2015). Also, an Ethical Checklst form is being attached in the Appendix D.
3.10. Reliability & Validity
Reliability & Validity are two very important concepts when any research is being performed, as they help in determining the quality of a research with respect to the different aspects of the research methodology and the ways in which the researchers have carried out the research.
Reliability helps in determining the extent by which the research could again be repeated or the same type of results could be obtained, when the research is again repeated under similar conditions in the future. The reliability of the research is guaranteed by creating the research process robust and by collecting the data points through non-probabilitic sampling methods, which has ensured certain amount of randomness in data collection but on the other hand also ensures the wide applicability of the process & the data points being collected. This being one the structured & standard procedures, so the same processes could be repeated in the future in order to generate same type of results and to get same type of values for other data points. The maturity of the respondents in terms of age & experience also contributes to the reliability of the research under consideration, as is being portrayed in the Data and Analysis section of this research. Also care was being taken to take into consideration the effect of biasedness, which was deliberately eliminated through the creation of structured questionnaire with unbiased research.
Vlidity could be refered to as the extent by which the the research has been successful to generate the required results as expected. Validity is ensured in the research at all points of time, by ensuring non-digression from the research objectives & collecting the data points as per the requirement & feasibility. The collection of data points & analysis truly represent the actual nature & focus for the research. Diverse popultion who in terms of gender and leadership exposure, makes the responses even more valid, as evident from the Data and Analysis section of this research. Validity is also being observed by taking into consideration the use of the respondents from that sector only along with many of the executives of Tesla Motors who are directly and indirectly related to the company. Hence, the research has been instrumental in bringining out the responses of the respondents belonging to r related to Tesla Motors in order to understand the strategic leadership & direction of the company leaders with respect to achieving sustainability in the future. Hence, the validity of the research is strong enough to justify the methods and the means.
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4. Chapter 4 - Data and Analysis
As derived from the research methodology section, a pragmatic research philosophy, followed by an inductive research approach would help in collecting data points from the respondents with the help of s survey. The survey-based approach has taken consideration the survey of different types of respondents or the target by the help of a sampling strategy and thereby choses specific number of individuals to derive quantitative or qualitative responses from them. The total samples being considered is 50 in number as derived from the combined combination of confidence interval, error of margin and approximately 1 MN population of strategic leaders. Finally, the survey is being floated in the social media and responses are being collected after taking care of ethical considerations along with taking informed consent from the respondents. This has helped in forming the base on the which the data analysis could be performed so that insights could be generated with focus for credibility of data points collected.
4.1.1. Survey Instrument - Questionnaire
The research methodology has helped in developing the way by which the research would be carried out with the help of the survey questionnaire. But the survey questionnaire pointers would be derived from the Literature Review itself as that would help in generating the relevant questions about the Strategic Leadership & sustianability in the Automobile sector (Please refer to section 2.7 for the identified themes and for the related literature review which have led to the selection of such themes). The detailed questionnaire is being given in Appendix A.
4.2. Presentation of Qualitative data analysis link & supported with literature
4.2.1. Tesla and Strategic leadership
Tesla Sustainable operations (As found from analysing Tesla related documents, news, reports etc.)
Tesla is one of the largest electric car manufacturers in the world. The company recently reached valuation of more than 50 billion USD. This is more than General Motors' market valuation. Thus, it became the most valuable car company in the United States. The reason why Tesla being only 14 years old overtook the valuation of 109 years old General Motors is because of the strategic leadership excellence of the company(Tesla.com, 2019). The production difference of both companies is also noteworthy. General Motors produces the same number of cars in 13 days as Tesla produces in one whole year. The strategic leadership at Tesla emphasis a lot on sustainable processes and policies as the heart of their business strategy. Evidence of this could be found in the various reports and executive talks for the company. The car makers all over the world usually rely on short term and midterm goals to improve profitability but Tesla had always focused on long term goals from its start. The company takes care that two of its most important objectives are met as it goes on producing cars. The company wants to spearhead a carbon neutral economy and apart from that, Tesla wants to create a new and sustainable business model, which would be based on zero emissions. Regulators also all over the world are asking the vehicle manufacturers to decrease their carbon footprint and increase the efficient use of energy to do less pollution to the environment.
Leadership at Tesla
The strategic leadership at tesla not only wanted to conform to these regulations but also to fix them as much as possible (Tesla.com Website, 2019)The value creation from Tesla thus became much more than just adhering to government specified regulations. The company's mission is to increase the speed at which world's transition to sustainable energy is done. This is done by focusing on renewable energy and electric cars. The inputs for business plans of Tesla has been understanding of societal requirements and building a long-term sustainable business model. The significance of Tesla's leadership can be understood from the fact that the company has remained largely ethical in its business. The companies like Volkswagen and Toyota are bigger in terms of market capitalization with net worth of $70 billion and $160 billion respectively but each of them has followed many unfair practices. Volkswagen created on the emission level declarations in the USA and the company must pay a total fine of above $20 billion as penalties. Similar is the case for Toyota wherein the company refused to admit its wrong doings when faulty braking systems resulted in many accidents in Toyota cars. Tesla also had its share of controversies. A driver in his mid-40s suffered a fatal accident when the autopilot feature in one of the Tesla cars he was travelling did not work as per requirement. A thorough analysis of the computer systems found that there was no major fault in those cars and so the cars of the model were not recalled by the company(Tesla.com, 2019). Tesla has kept on improving its systems and programs that go into the cars and thus constantly try to innovate and improve in its operations. Focus on the future is unwavering for the company because of the presence of sustainable and exceptional leaderships.This pattern of leadership is also being tried to be emulated by other car manufacturers. Tesla wants to envisage healthy long-term profits while bringing down the consumption of fossil fuels and building a sustainable environment. Tesla is headed by Elon Musk who has been a pioneer in building multiple companies which are in operation today in various industries. Thus, with such a strategic leader at the help of affairs the other leadership teams of the company fall in line with the long-term strategic goals of the company.
4.2.2. Thematic Analysis of Secondary data on Tesla Sustainable Leadership & Alignment with Literature Review
As derived from the Open-Ended questions, some of the pointers which relate to sustainability & leadership at Tesla are (Appendix
• Sustainable outlook through processes & policies
• Focus on fossil fuels and building a sustainable environment
• Pattern of leadership is forward looking
• Strategic leadership is seen through creativity & discipline promotion within the organisations
• Focus on employees is there but needs better articulation & amplification
4.3. Presentation of Primary data with analysis link & supported with literature
This sub-section is represented in two parts. The first part represents the various graphs and analysis of the graphs based on the responses as captured through the questionnaire. The second part tries to relate the findings in the first part with that of the literature reviews being performed across the industry and for Tesla.
4.3.1. Presentation - Graphs & Figures
Figure 4: Age of the respondents
The age of the respondents varies across the respondent's category, but almost 60% of them belong to the category of 36 to 45 while 22% of them belong to the category of 26 to 35. Almost, 72% of the respondents are aged above 36.
Figure 5: Gender of the respondents
In total there are 58% male respondents and 42% female respondents, showing a diverse sample population.
Experience in Automobile Industry
Figure 6: Experience in years of the respondents
Almost, 72% of the respondents have experience of more than 11 years in the automobile industry.
Worked directly or indirectly or supported strategic leaders in the Automobile industry
Figure 7: Leadership Exposure of the respondents
The leadership exposure relates to the experience of the individuals in working directly or indirectly with the strategic leaders of the organisation. In this case, almost 98% of the respondents or 49 respondents have worked or working directly or indirectly with the strategic leaders. This is evident from the results & the responses along with the background check of the sample as per multiple social media platforms.
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System & Structure
Figure 8: System & structure at place in Tesla
In terms of stakeholder analysis, almost 74% have responded positively, so also in case of the presence of continuous performance measurement of the sustainable operations. In presence of sustainable monitoring almost 80% of the respondents have agreed or highly agreed. In case of quality management, only 40% have responded positively, while 44% are not sure about their responses and 16% have responded negatively. In the case of the presence of failure practices, almost 72% have remained neutral or responded negatively.While the detailed linkage with Literature review is being done in next sub-section, the results portray the fact that there are high levels of agreement with respect
• Presence of Stakeholder Analysis Process
• Presence of Continuous performance measurement for sustainable operations
• Presence of sustainability monitoring
But when it comes to
• Presence of Quality management & sustainable groups
• Presence of practices accepting failures
There are not at all good agreement from the respondents.
Policies, People & Practices
Figure 9: Policies, People & Practices at place in Tesla
Almost 74% of the respondents have either agreed or highly agreed to the fact that there is presence of creative environment in the company when it comes to sustainable culture, while 50% have agreed on the corporate vision for sustainable practices in the company. However, 80% have agreed or highly agreed on the focus on green economics to be one of the major parts of corporate strategy for the company. Almost, 74% of the respondents have agreed or highly agreed on the focus on sustainability for the company. But when it comes to the focus on employees, 44% have either disagreed or highly disagreed and 22% have remained neutral. Also, 44% have disagreed or highly disagreed on the part that the focus training of the employees in Tesla is not that much evident, approximately 20% have also remained neutral to this statement.
While the linkages with the literature review would be done in the next sub-section, the analysis explains, high level of agreement on
• Focus on creating environment
• Focus on Corporate Responsibility practices
• Focus on Green Economics
• Focus on Sustainability
And Medium to Low level agreements on
• Focus on employee
• Focus on Training
Self - Strategic leaders including Elon Musk
Traits of Strategic Leader
Figure 10: Traits of Strategic Leader
Only, 42% have agreed that the strategic leadership at Tesla focuses on good communication, while 62% have agreed to them being forward thinkers. Almost 64% have also agreed or highly agreed to the fact that strategic leaders at Tesla are highly dedicated towards their work. But when it comes to structured planning, 40% of the respondents have either disagreed or highly disagreed. But on the contrary, 54% have agreed or highly agreed on the fact that the strategic leaders are challengers, while 74% of the respondents have strong support for unified approach being followed at Tesla.
Focus on Discipline
Figure 11: Focus on Discipline
Almost, 59% agree to the presence of strict monitoring of discipline, but when it comes to focus on policies & regulations, the views are varied. Even, the allowance of failure seems not to be supported by Tesla, as 54% of the respondents have disagreed or highly disagreed to the statements. Even, in terms of appreciating success, respondents have mixed views.
The open-ended options for the respondents, have resulted in varied responses in lines of areas of improvement or the best part of the strategic leaders in Tesla. The excerpts as derived from thematic analysis of the unstructured responses. The unstructured responses are disjunct and have also been not given in the appendix in order to maintain the anonymity. The themes emerging out of the same are:
• Leaders are innovative and forward looking.
• Leaders think of sustainability in terms of environment.
• The leaders at Tesla promote creativity but lacks in focusing towards employees.
• Tesla have stringent monitoring on projects and they hardly allow failures.
4.3.2. Link & support of Literature Review
The age of the respondents is evident of the fact that the responses have been taken from quite a matured audience, as most of the respondents belong to a higher age category. So, this also increases the reliability of the data being collected from responsible & accountable personnel only, who have lot of understanding & maturity in terms of consequences of their responses.
Diverse sample population is always better in terms of gaining different insights and information with respect to the various types of notions or pre-conceived ideas or gained experiences in various situations etc. This also makes the responses much more reliable.
Experience in Automobile Industry
The high work experience of the individuals is also evident of the fact that the data points which are being collected are reliable in nature, considering the inputs from the respondents being given in an honest & unbiased way. While, anonymity ensures this unbiased opinion, the high work experience supports the reliability of the data responses from these respondents.
Worked directly or indirectly or supported strategic leaders in the Automobile industry
Leadership exposure is one of the greatest strengths of the survey, as almost 98% of the respondents have leadership exposure in terms of directly or indirectly working with the leaders of the automobile organisations & thereby providing feedback or insights to the same for taking strategic decisions. Thus, the responses become much more valid in terms of the experience with which the responses are being made.
System & Structure
From the Reponses it is evident that stakeholder analysis system along with the system of performance measurement is very strong in Tesla (As evident from the analysis of the responses). Also, the company have a good monitoring system in place which focuses on monitoring the progress and the sustainable operations as evident from the responses. However, when it comes to quality management they falter to some extent and the failure practices or acceptance of failure is not on place. This is also in line with the findings from the secondary research data about Tesla, which states that the company has a strong focus towards sustainable operations. In fact, (Vaz, Rauen, & Lezana, 2017), have also pointed out in the literature review that focus on sustainable operations (From Section 4.2) is one of the major primary requirements for the organisations who wants to become green & promote sustainable in the long run. Tesla's operations seems to be somewhat aligned with that of the literature review statements as evident from the alignment of the responses to that of the literature review, but in terms of quality (Bass, 1999) as stated by researcher, Tesla seems to have lack of proactiveness approach, which costs the company much investments & overheads(Day, Fleenor, Atwater, Sturm, & McKee, 2014).
Policies, People & Practices
The policies, people & practices of the company Tesla have been surveyed across 6 questions covering the important aspects of focus on sustainability, sustainable culture, people & training. The responses have made it evident that Tesla has a substantial focus towards corporate sustainability & thus focuses on sustainable culture across the organisation(Tesla.com, 2019). This is also evident from the secondary research & literature review. It is also in alignment with the trends being seen by various researchers as expressed in the literature review (Mohr, et al., 2013). Literature review and academic theories also stresses on the importance of corporate sustainability across the organisation, which could be seen in Tesla also (Sukitsch, Engert, & Baumgartner, 2015). As per the Green Economics theory, the companies should also have consideration towards environment(Vaz, Rauen, & Lezana, 2017). For Tesla, this is also evident from the secondary data points and the primary responses. There is also proofs of Tesla focusing towards fossil fuel usages. But in some respects, Tesla still lags, which is highlighted in the responses. The first aspect being the aspect of focusing more on employees, while second aspect which could be derived from the first is the focus on specific & extensive trainings of the employees.
Self - Strategic leaders including Elon Musk
Majority of the respondents have agreed Tesla to have strategic leaders who are forward thinkers, dedicated, loves challenges and have unified approach. This reverberates with that of the literature review & secondary sources, which have stated that Tesla leadership is forward looking. Even the literature review of the academic theories of strategic leadership have stated that the strategic leaders needs to have forward looking vision, needs to be challengers, innovative, dedicated & have unified approach for success in the world (D'Innocenzo, Mathieu, & Kukenberger, 2016). This in line with the strategic leadership traits of Tesla. But in some areas like that of communication & structured planning, the respondents have raised a green flag, which is very much in opposition to that of the researchers' views on strategic leadership(Hoch & Bommer, 2017). Focus on discipline is evident from the responses, which is line with many of the researchers, who have stated discipline to be one of the major success factors for sustainability through strategic leadership. But when it comes to appreciating success or supporting failures or following rules & regulations, Tesla seems to lag in many places, which again is contrary to the researchers' views about strategic leadership & innovation (Peterson & Smith, 2017).
Open ended responses have revealed forward looking strategic leaders at Tesla along with the presence of sustainable culture in the company. This is in support with the views of the researchers who believe on the importance of strategic leadership & creative culture to be most important for sustainability & growth for organisations (Algahtani, 2014). As per the researchers, creativity and innovation management are also some of the important requirements for the strategic leaders to become successful in their forward-looking ventures (Vaz, Rauen, & Lezana, 2017). Although Tesla meets some of the requirements, in some of the areas like supporting failure or employees, it still lacks in many areas, which needs attention for its future sustainability & operations.
4.4. Summary of data and analysis
The data analysis is being performed by taking the responses of almost 50 respondents who belong to the automobile sector, either from the company Tesla or from other automobile companies who are aware of the operations, practices, policies, system, structure etc. for Tesla. The whole questionnaire was divided into 5 part so demographics, System & Structure, Policies, People & Practices, Self-Strategic leaders including Elon Musk and Open-ended question. The main aim was to capture the information related to the companies through these survey questions. Through the analysis of the survey responses as collected in MS-Excel, several insights were being generated which are being portrayed below:
• Data on demographics portrayed a diverse population with high amount of maturity in terms of age, diversity in terms of gender ratio, reliability & validity in terms of years of experience & leadership exposure.
• For System & Structure, the sustainable operations focus seems to be evident from the high percentage responses of the respondents & their support towards the same, which is also in alignment with literature review & secondary data points. However, there is indication of lack of quality management policies and lack of practices which accepts failures.
• Policies, People & Practices of Tesla as evident from the various responses of the survey respondents, secondary research & articulation of the literature review, Tesla have policies & practices which aim towards sustainability of the environment in which it operates along with promoting a sustainable culture in the organisation across the world. But when it comes to looking after the employees or focusing on their training it still lacks.
• Self - Strategic leaders including Elon Musk analysis have found out that the strategic leaders in Tesla are not only dedicated, but ar forward thinkers, challengers and have unified approach. But when it comes to communication & structured planning, they still have areas of opportunities. Even, in terms of supporting failure of appreciating success is not that much prevalent in tesla, as they lack in stringent rules & regulations.
• Open Ended responses of the varied respondents have highlighted that, indeed there are many areas of appreciation in the company Tesla. While the strategic leaders are forward thinkers and supportive of innovative culture, but they still lack in the ways through which they could support the failure & the success of their employees. Absence of stringent monitoring is one of the major requirements and area of opportunity for the company which needs immediate attention for the future growth & success.
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5. Chapter 5 -Conclusion
This section would mainly focus towards discussing the various aspects of the research study which have already been completed and discussed in the previous sections and focus towards describing the process and the methods which have been used to come to the due conclusion for the whole research. It would be followed by the explanation of the findings to that of whether the findings & the analysis have been able enough to meet the research objectives as stated in the first chapter and further analysis of the research questions. So, this section will perform the sanity check in accordance to the meeting of the research questions. After comparing the findings with that of meeting the objectives and the research questions, this chapter would also point out the various types of gaps which have been found in the leadership style & status of Tesla motors which will further help n developing the recommendation section.
5.2. Process of coming to conclusion
The whole research started with designing the research objectives which were aimed towards analyzing the various types of leadership theories which are relevant to the corporate world. Th research also focused on discussing the various facets of the leadership styles along with understanding the various styles and the ways by which the leaders across the world work. However, the focus was always towards bringing out the sustainability factor in terms of the environmental conditions (Both macro & micro-economic) which contribute towards shaping the various types of industries in the world(Bass, 1999). However, this research was more focused towards finding out the leadership implications of the automotive sector in accordance to the leadership styles and the sustainability considerations of the world(Boehm & Dwertmann, 2015). All through the research study, a specific across towards leadership & sustainability has made this research a niche one irrespective of other researches and researchers who tends to focus over a broad spectrum(Algahtani, 2014). The research specifically focuses on the leadership considerations at Tesla Motors and delves on understanding the leadership style, considerations, ways and initiatives of Elon Musk being the leader of the organisation(Tesla.com, 2019). The study of all the above considerations of the leadership theories, sustainability and that of its implications across the automotive industry have been captured in the literature review section. This has helped in developing the themes which were further segregated to develop the research questionnaire(UASNS, 2015). The research questionnaire was developed with an aim of understanding the perspectives of the varied leaders, executives & senior professionals in the automotive industry belonging to both the Tesla Motors and the other companies, with considerations and understanding that these executives have either direct or indirect understanding of Tesla Motors and its ways of working. While some of them were currently working in the company, some were the ex-employees, some others want to join the company, while some have direct or indirect relationship through collaborative activities or initiatives. The survey consisted of surveying 50 respondents who are either Tesla executives or indirectly related to the same from the Automotive sector(Teddlie & Yu, 2007). The responses being collected from the 50 responses are then analysed in order to generate insights from the same. The insights being generated are then compared & contrasted with that of the literature review and secondary qualitative data points in order to derive at the final findings and the related pointers. The questionnaire contained both closed ended and open-ended questions. While the closed-ended questions are analysed& represented against the graphs, the open-ended questions are being analysed through thematic analysis in order to come out with different insights. Qualitative analysis of some of the leadership style, initiatives & ways were also being analysed in the data analysis section (Chapter 4, Section 4.2.1) to come out with some of the generic insights. This was again compared against the literature review and the findings from the survey responses for generating insights & findings (Chapter 4, Section 4.3.2).
5.3. Meeting Research Objectives
Research objectives as derived from the research aims, have helped in formulating the areas of focus along with formulating some of the aspects which were missing from some of the contemporary research articles and journal papers. While there were many papers on either Tesla Motors or leadership theories, but very few or none tried to club them or produce a paper which have focus on sustainability, Tesla Motors, leadership activities, etc. Hence, while carrying out the research, each objective being crafted before were met. First, the practical applications with respect to the automotive industry were discussed in great details in the literature review and the data analysis sections. Leadership theories, their implications and the focus on sustainability for the automobile sector has helped in meeting the 2nd research objective. A detailed literature review has also helped in understanding some of the hindrances of the sustainability & the leadership activities towards sustainability towards a greener world. This has been rightly captured both in section 3 & in section 4. The fourth objective of strategic leadership discussion & its implications for the automotive sector was also covered in great details, which culminated in gathering information from the survey respondents and to understand some of the practical validations. Finally, the various approaches of strategic leadership in Tesla Motors were also understood first through literature review, followed by qualitative analysis of the qualitative secondary data points about Tesla from the secondary sources followed by validating or verifying the same from the survey responses and the insights.
5.4. Alignment with the Research Questions
The research question which formed the context for the whole research study is being reiterated as below:
• How Tesla one of the pioneers of Green technologies & electric vehicles is struggling & innovating at the same time, owing to the strategic leadership, to move towards a sustainable future like other automotive companies?
The research study under consideration has taken a top-down approach when it comes to meeting requirement of the research question. While the research question consists of several sub-questions, the first starting point of the research was to understand the ways by the leaders across the industries and more specifically the leaders of the automotive industry behaves in terms of their style of working or style of taking the company forward. After elaborating on the leadership theories, the next focus was on to develop understanding with respect to the need for sustainability in the leadership ways of working and the ways by which a leader could achieve sustainability in his or her ways of working. This was further narrowed down through the survey questionnaire which asked to evaluate the leadership styles, focus, structure, sustainability initiatives for the company Tesla Motors. There were also questions on the sustainability aspect leaders of Tesla Motors. This further helped in generating information about Tesla Motors and the ways it has been taking forward its initiatives of green technologies & electric vehicles(Tesla.com, 2019). The innovation aspects and the sustainability focus have also been touched upon in the questions about Tesla Motors(Bass, 1999). The various executives who have direct or indirect connections with the Tesla Motors were asked against these questions to gain their valuable perceptions & insights about the ways of working, leadership style, innovation and sustainability focus(Chan & Shaheen, 2012). This helped in answering the research question in terms of finding out some of the aspects working good in favor of the strategic orientation, while some of the aspects are still in nascent stage, while rest of the aspects need clear directions & articulations from the part of Tesla Motors to become sustainable & an eminent leader in an industry where sustainability has become an underlying understanding(Orsato & Wells, 2007). The last research objective was to find out the implications, which would be done in the next section where gaps would be identified with respect to the research findings from the survey responses and with respect to the alignment of the same from that of the literature review & qualitative data analysis in the Chapter 4, Section 4.1, 4.2 & 4.3.
5.5. Gaps identified in the Leadership style & status of Tesla Motors
The data analysis being performed in the chapter 4 helped in understanding the various aspects of Tesla Motors with respect to the leadership concepts, implications & aspects towards their strategic considerations of becoming greener. While some of the findings are in alignment with the ideal strategic leadership considerations, some of the other aspects proved to be in non-alignment with the actual requirements. These non-alignments as perceived by the respondents do bear relevance when it comes to the point of view of the employees and the external stakeholders of the automotive industry. This has helped in generating the gaps in the leadership style, initiatives, ways of working etc. for Tesla Motors in them strive to become greener and sustainable in the future. Some of the broad & specific gaps (As evident & developed from the Primary Research) which when bridged could make Tesla Motors one ofthepioneers of greener energy & electric vehicles manufacturer through strategic leadership are:
• Structure & Focus - The company might have reached operational excellence in many aspects or fields of operations, but when it comes to some of the specific purposes like that of the practice of accepting failures or practice of maintaining quality across the whole of the value chain, there seems to be lack of co-ordination and lack of management policies to guide such implementations.
• Policies, People & Practices - In some of the areas of the company, there are lack of evidences when it comes to inclusive growth & training of all the executives (Section 4.3.1). Focusing on employees for their all-round growth is lacking in the various initiatives & in their motive towards becoming one of the pioneers of sustainability in the automotive industry.
• Strategic Leaders - The strategic leadership, although incorporates some of the forward thinkers in the company, but there remain challenges when it comes to a unified approach. As evident from Chapter 4, Section 4.3 on Data Findings & analysis, there lacks a structured approach to handling talent and thereby appreciating success or promoting failures which are some of the basic pillars of innovation & sustainability. Absence of stringent rules & considerations guiding such structure seems to be missing in some parts of the value chain.
The open-ended responses have also helped in understanding the various aspects of the points mentioned above in Section 4.2.2 from Chapter 4. This is in alignment with also the qualitative data analysis on the secondary data points and thus bear significance for the company in achieving a leadership position in the future.
The section on conclusion is the culmination of the whole research and is the penultimate section for this research. It plays an important role in bringing the whole research to a logical end and to suggest ways of improvement. This chapter has explained the ways & the methods by which the whole research has been carried forward along with explaining the various aspects which were covered in the academic fonts. It was found that, the research objectives which were set for the purpose of this research were exhaustively covered through the literature review and the data analysis sections of the research. The research question, which involve the question of asking the sustainability of the company of Tesla, was also being answered. This paved the way for identifying some of the gaps in the leadership styles, initiatives, ways and processes of the company.
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6. Chapter 6 - Recommendations
This section would try to highlight the summary pointers of the research, along with incorporating the recommendations to bridge the gaps and short comings as observed from the analysis of the survey respondents.
6.2. Recommendations as evident from Conclusion
6.2.1. Short Term Recommendations
• Introduction of Training & Workshops - One of the major requirements for the company on an immediate basis is the introduction of a unified training approach for understanding the importance of greener future and thereby imbibe the seeds for sustainability.
• Top-Down Transparent Communication - While Tesla Motors is a very dynamic organisation, so constant changes are very much evident in the organisation. But the instructions or the adoptions for the changes should come from the top management and should cascade down to the lower level employees on a regular frequency. This would help in greater compliance and better alignment of company objectives towards moving forward with sustainability as the main aim.
6.2.2. Mid-Term Recommendations
• Changing of Company Practices & operational Initiatives - As of now, there are some departments which promote failures, but the overall practice of promoting failures does not score high from responses. Hence, company should start incorporating the same in the medium term so that the executives get the freedom to innovate, fail and repeat, so that disruptions could be achieved.
• Transparency in terms company policies - There lack transparency in terms of company policies and initiatives, as indicated from the responses. The company should be proactive enough to rectify the talent management policies and make them more transparent and thereby fuel the growth for honing talent in the organisations. This will also help the organisation to not only acquire good & responsible talent, but also to retain them and nurture them for company leadership positions.
6.2.3. Long Term Recommendations
• Benchmarking practices - There are evidences of the company not following unified approaches in many different operations, initiatives and activities. This has often resulted in many complications in the organisation resulting in misaligned objectives and failed approaches. This is evident from the responses. Evidences of failure is also evident in many areas as evident from qualitative & quantitative responses. Thus, the company needs to have a proper knowledge management practices which would record the best practices and enable the company executives to strive towards success and adopt the tried & tested approaches rather than starting from the scratch. There are also requirements for the company to scan the secondary sources and thereby benchmark the best practices and develop robust standards within the organisation.
• Collaboration - As an extension from the previous benchmarking exercises, the company could collaborate and initiate partnerships, as it has already been doing in order to achieve quick growth through inorganic & inorganic ways.
6.3. Research Limitations
While an exhaustive research has been carried out with respect to the different aspects of leadership & sustainability, there are many areas which have left it open for further criticism and interpretation. One of the foremost areas is the area of primary research where a mix of interviews from both the executives of Tesla Motors and other automotive companies (Not shown separately as enough data points not available for each of the groups individually) have been taken. Taking more of interview perspectives of the Tesla Motors' executives could have helped in generating more insights. Alsotaking more data points from the individuals of the automotive sector would have helped further in the cause of understanding the details of sustainability approach and thereby benchmarking the same across various institutions. Another limitation was that of the availability of the data points, which could have been further narrowed down with the availability of more time for the research.
6.4. Way Forward
Going forward, the research could as the context and the platform for further research in the future. It provides a holistic approach to the understanding of strategic leadership and the roles of the leaders especially of Elon Musk to understand his approach towards sustainability for the Tesla Motors. Researchers could use this as the starting point for further developing ways of integrating more and more data points from the executives of Tesla Motors and thereby make more exhaustive comments & recommendations based on more detailed gaps being identified. Also, the researchers could use this as a platform to understand about the sustainability initiatives & maturity of the different other companies and thereby could proceed towards benchmarking the same or developing specific standards. There are options for taking this research to the new heights by including primary responses from the leaders of the companies across geographies, so that a global view, alignment, differences and many other aspects could be understood. While paucity of time was a major hindrance, taking more time out for researching more data points could provide better insights. Taking more of qualitative insights could help in generating more & more specific information, which otherwise might not be captured through specific research questions with limited options. Overall, this research could act as the starting point for many further researches and initiatives of strategic significance for the sustainability in the automotive sector.
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