Leadership & Management at Merck & Co.

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Effects of Leadership in the Management Strategies of Merck and Company, Inc. Rana Satnani
MGT-330 Management: Theory, Practice, and Application.
July 2, 2010
Carolyn Harrison

There lies a division in the business world between managers who “do things right” and leaders who “do the right things” (Bennis, 2007, p. 13). The primary difference between good managers and fantastic leaders is the ability to take risks and make independent decisions. Ethical leadership is more important today than ever with the rising effects of globalization on management across borders. Corporations like Merck & Company Pharmaceuticals learn this lesson by thriving with superb management through crises. The impact of excellent leadership shows when companies prove they can survive and learn from problems.

Merck has a long history of working ethically to improve the health and well-being of the world population. The company started by Dr. Ernst Christian Friedrich Schering in Berlin in 1827 and opened for business in America in 1891 (Merck, 2010). Merck scientists are responsible for many important health care contributions, from the discovery of Vitamin B1, the first measles vaccine, antacids, to the first statins used to reduce cholesterol. Merck also takes pride in their commitment to animal health, revolutionizing veterinary science with the introduction of most pet medicines used today, such as antibiotics, and vaccines. Doctors worldwide await the annual publishing of the Merck Manual, providing valuable information on medicines and health conditions. Merging with Schering-Plough in 1971, Merck has evolved into the second largest pharmaceutical company in the world (Merck, 2010). Management builds on ethical leaders

To survive in progressively more competitive markets, companies have to attract and maintain excellent leaders to guide their companies in attaining objectives. Innovation and creativity lead managers to develop into powerful leaders, bringing inspiration to the staff and ingenuity to problem-solving processes. To produce managers with the highest potential for leadership, higher education institutes have a responsibility to focus on developing students’ ability to learn and plan for a lifetime of leadership. No longer can business management students simply study the technical aspects of business. According to Mabey (2008), the best graduate programs in America must ask two questions to strengthen the foundations of management learning: “(1) What managerial competencies, i.e., knowledge, skills, and personal attitudes do educated managers need to act successfully in today’s rapidly changing business environment ? (2) How do we learn, teach, and assess effectively in management education?” (p. 147). We are observing the best managers graduating from Masters of Business Administration programs in which students prepare with lifelong learning abilities coupled with interpersonal skills that inspire them to lead their employees to greatness. Clearly good managers can accomplish objectives, yet excellent leaders always questions why things are done the way they are and can recognize the significance of thinking creatively and from an open-minded perspective. A prosperous organization must embolden leaders to make ethical decisions to be effective for the long-term future in the corporate world. Velasquez (2006) states “when employees believe an organization is just, they are more willing to follow the organization’s managers, do what managers say, and see managers’ leadership as legitimate. In short, ethics are a key component of effective management” (p. 41). One strategy for effective leadership is always to act with ethics as the primary objective. This strategy works because empowering ones’ subordinates will help a manager complete his or her objectives, but acting as an ethical leader will earn trust and loyalty from the team. Both empowerment and ethics are what differentiates a manager from a leader....
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