Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, has built a monumental business from the ground up. Through innovation and creativity, he gained valuable market share in an untapped market. By providing a great product at a great price, through exceptional customer service, IKEA has distinguished itself among some of the top international organizations.
The common thread throughout the case is a patriarchal style of leadership. Although Kamprad’s style of leadership has led to the success of his business, I will assume that problems are beginning to surface and that future issues are being questioned. Through his leadership, Kamprad has taken a hands-on approach to running his organization and is involved at great lengths in the day-to-day operations of his business. Simply defined, a patriarch is “a man who rules a family, clan, or tribe”. (www.websters.com) In this case, IKEA is treated and run much like a family, clan, or tribe. Everyone is expected to have the same outlook on their position, the organization’s goals first in mind, and perform their job to benefit the organization, not the individual.
The most immediate threat to IKEA is the difficulty in finding employees who will accept and adapt to IKEA’s philosophy. Job security is a tremendous issue with modern-day employees. Often, employees are more concerned with doing a mediocre job to secure their position than to take risks and be creative due to a fear of losing their job. Current economics has instilled a fear in employees that hinders creativity and the offering of suggestions and ideas.
Another threat perceived by some employees as well as by some consumers is that IKEA is expanding at a rate that is difficult for them to keep up with. Stores are being established at multiple locations internationally at a rapid rate. This leads to the issue of whether or not IKEA is capable of handling this level of expansion and whether or not they have ample qualified employees to fill all vacant positions within the organization. Also, it is a growing concern that IKEA’s well-established reputation of impeccable customer service will deteriorate due to an overwhelming amount of new clients, new demand, etc.
There is also the issue that employees find it difficult to follow the frugal spending procedures of IKEA when the company is making such a large profit. Kamprad personally follows the spending guidelines and expects all employees to do so as well. Employees find it difficult to “bargain shop” for supplies, travel accommodations, etc., when the organization is making more and more money every given year. If the money is there, why not splurge a little?
A final threat perceived by individuals within the IKEA organization is an inclination to believe that the organization will deteriorate when Ingvar Kamprad retires or otherwise leaves the organization. Due to the patriarchal style of leadership that Kamprad has taken, who will carry on this philosophy? Who will take over the position of motivator and promote enthusiasm and innovation once he is gone? Can anyone really take his place?
In theory, the patriarchal style of leadership that Ingvar Kamprad has taken towards running IKEA and its operations is done so in a very positive light. It is pertinent to the success of the organization to make employees aware of all the positive aspects of his leadership style. For example, Kamprad has a very humane and compassionate relationship with his employees. He views them as individuals, not as numbers, and makes every effort to personally meet each and every one of them. This type of interaction is vital if he is going to defend his leadership position. By gaining the respect, trust, and adoration of his employees, Kamprad can show those within the IKEA organization that he is truly looking out for everyone’s interests, not just his own, or just those of the IKEA...