Case Study: Nucor Steel Corporation.
Nucor Corporation is characterized by its owner‐operators who take pride in their work and teams and as a result have created great profitability for a traditional steelmaker. Nucor is known for many things including its pay practices that base earnings on performance as well as the value and trust the corporation places in its employees. At Nucor employees are rewarded based on their effort, treated with great respect and empowered to make decisions based on their expertise and knowledge. Nucor is a unique organization among its rust‐belt counterparts. To understand its success it is necessary to understand the leadership mentality, empowerment strategy, motivation and rewards base as well as its approach to change and innovation. All of these elements have turned Nucor into a desirable place to work with the potential for future success as it acquires new entities and grows.
When looking at the Nucor Case Study, it is advantageous to discuss the leadership styles in relation to the Vroom‐Jago Leadership Model as well as other concepts and issues of leadership. The initial leader to focus on is F. Kenneth Iverson, a former Nucor Steel President (1965‐1999) and legendary leader. His leadership fostered the close‐knit culture that exists even today.
When Iverson and Sam Siegel, Financial Vice President, initially assumed leadership roles, they exhibited the AI Autocratic style at individual and group level in selling off many wide‐ranging operations to focus on one area. They also made the decision to move corporate headquarters to where it is even today, Charlotte, NC. From that point leadership has continued to have a basis in the group with Nucor employees empowered to make decisions that will benefit the organization. Nucor Steel‘s leaders also exhibited other Vroom ‐Jago leadership styles as they evolved to the present day. Iverson installed radical concepts giving employees better pay and real power exhibiting GII decision Style: willing to accept and implement employee decisions. Current CEO Daniel R. DiMicco uses a different leadership style when purchasing 13 new companies and instilling the unique culture in those new facilities. Nucor management, as a whole still focuses on the people in the front line of their business predominately using DI individual style leadership and GII group level decision style.
Different perspectives of leadership also can explain Iverson and DiMicco. Both exhibit traits of charismatic leaders. The case study points out how employees are willing to accomplish tasks based on an emotional commitment to Nucor Steel. The example of electricians helping sister plants in another state on their own initiative shows, when crisis arose, the employees showed extraordinary behavior. All General Managers contact a new GM within 2 days of starting in a different factory, offering help, and meaning it. This behavior is unconventional, and counters to established norms in the current business culture. Only a visionary charismatic behavior from the leader could motivate such commitment.
Leadership approaches discussed here point out that leadership is an exchange process with employees. A look at transactional leadership and transformational leadership helps further explain Nucor's success. Transactional leaders help the follower identify what is done to accomplished desired results and ensure the resources are on hand to complete the job. Transformational leadership motivates followers to work for goals rather than on short term self-interest this leader is able to express clear vision and inspire other to accomplish that vision. Nucor's management, in this case study continually exhibit transformational leadership attributes. When Nucor employees innovate themselves out of tight spots, the leader’s charisma has instilled this sense of value respect, and pride. The General Managers reaching out to the new GM shows leaders reaching out to...
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