LEADERSHIP AT BATNA CASE STUDY

LEADERSHIP AT BATNA CASE STUDY

MGMNT 8250 Assignment #2 (15 marks) This assignment provides a case-based assessment of leadership to determine what makes an effective leader. The object of this assignment is to put you in the role of the decision-maker in the case, and go through the same process as the “real-life” decision-maker. The ability to analyze a situation, determine what needs to be done, and follow through with an appropriate course of action is critical to your success in business. Assignment Details: You are to read the case study and answer the questions. Report Structure: This paper will be a maximum of five pages, not including cover page and references and include:

 Title page – includes your name, date, course and instructor’s name  Introduction – brief abstract/summary/synposis of the case  Answer to question 1  Answer to question 2  Answer to question 3  Answer to question 4  Conclusion – provide a brief summary of your main conclusions (max two paragraphs)

 This report should comply with the formal report requirements (i.e. title page, introduction, headings, correct grammatically, no plagiarism, citations using APA format, etc.

 The report should be written in a professional manner without excessive abbreviations or

unexplained jargon. Point form may be used.

 It is expected that you will cite both ideas and direct quotes you have obtained from other sources. Failure to do so will be considered to be plagiarism.

 Turnitin is a requirement, and declining to use Turnitin could result in a zero grade.
In order to receive a first class grade, student(s) must submit a report that is well organized, well written, accurate, and complete in its analysis. Clarity and conciseness are important. First class reports will contain no spelling and/or grammatical errors, etc.

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Leadership at Batna

Ben Branson is the CEO of Batna, a web-based company that invites individuals and companies to send in ideas for new products. At age 17, Branson started his career as a web designer, but soon became bored with that. At 18, he came up with a new idea for a lanyard with integrated headphones to be used with the iPod, and that was the start of mophie, a company that makes a line of iPod accessories.

At Macworld 2007, Branson tried something new: a community-based decision-making process he calls “the illuminator project.” At the show, he handed out sketch pads to the attendees and invited them to design new products for mophie. Within three days, the company had three new products, and released them two months later. Although Branson considered that he was heading up a product development company, he eventually had to admit that all of his products were iPod accessories, and he did not want to be limited. Branson sold the mophie brand in 2007 and launched Batna.

Batna gives consumers the opportunity to influence new products and marketing strategies using the approach established in the illuminator project. At Batna, instead of a bunch of marketing people trying to figure out new products and how to market new products, consumers are invited to share their ideas and give feedback, which brings them into the product development cycle.

Andres Arango is the design coordinator at Batna. He coordinates the activity of Branson and the top designers at the company. Arango says that Branson has weird charisma and vision. When Branson originally told Arango about the illuminator project idea, Arango thought it was a little crazt. But he also thought the project was revolutionary, and that is why he joined the company.

Peter Wadsworth, an engineer at Batna, says that Branson realizes that he is not a manager, and that is why Branson demoted himself to bring in a seasoned leader. The company needed good management in order to get venture capital and to make sales. Wadsworth says that Branson is confident, but Branson realized that other people just saw a teenage kid running amok with other people’s money. Branson gets a lot of praise, but he does not have a big head about it. At the same time, he is not intimidated about meeting with celebrities or CEOs because he thinks everyone is equal.

Branson does not strive for consensus, and having being popular is not a concern of his. He knows his limitations and skills. He will not tell someone else what to do with their skill set. His communication ability is not always the best, and he does not give them a lot of leeway to work on projects when he sees that they are doing a good job.

Branson does not hesitate when he makes decisions, and he is prepared to live with the consequences of his decisions. Wadsworth says he would not trust Branson to take care of his dog, but does trust him to make good decisions on the big issues facing the company.

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Branson says that he closely supervises people in the company. He says he is a “madman.” He wants to make sure that his employees are happy (or at least sort of happy.) He does not know whether or not he is a good leader. He leaves that judgement to others.

Questions:

1. What is the difference between leadership and management? Is Branson a leader? A manager? Both? Neither? Explain your reasoning. (3 marks)

2. Describe the leadership style of Ben Branson in terms of the behaviourial theories learned in this course. What are Branson’s leadership strengths and weaknesses? (5 marks)

3. Using a contingency theory of your choice, determine which style of leadership Ben Branson should be using. (5 marks)

4. What is the difference between transformational leaders and transactional leaders? Is Branson a transformational leader or transactional leader? Explain your reasoning. (2 marks)

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