Focussing on only one personality trait and how that may enable or inhibit organisational change can somewhat dangerous. Organisational behaviours is often referred to as a complex system of personalities and systems to enable a group to achieve one common goal. How each person within this group achieves this or works towards the common goal can vary dramatically based on previous experience, culture, their upbringing or the environment they’re working, amongst other factors. Therefore to focus on one area, can present many problems and challenges, particularly in a globally diverse culture. Machiavelli wrote 500 years ago, and while the principles may still be similar base don’t he political world, the business world needs to be far more adept to change, communicates globally, but also trades, and deals to increase its worth and act in its best interests within not just one community or nation, but across the globe encountering many different cultural and personality differences. Terence Ball compares Machiavelli’s prince to Don Quixote in the sense that “both are alike in failing to recognise the mutability of our moral concepts.” (Ball, 1984) In his article, Ball suggests Machiavelli’s model prince is a misguided moralist who attempts to resurrect an archaic heroic code which overlooks the changing nature of human frameworks.
While the article suggests that Machiavelli writings allowed for self interest in individuals to be harnessed to the common organisational goals, this can be somewhat confronting when the self interest behaviour is higher up the hierarchy within the business. While self interest and the common goals of the organisation may be aligned, with trade restrictions, legal frameworks and ethical and moral corporate behaviours becoming more scrutinised, it is important the organisation does not project an “ends justifies the means mentality” and even if they keep it hidden as Machiavelli would suggest, in modern times, how quickly would it become exposed in times of crisis or even celebration? Buttery and Richter found that the best way to manage complex business organizations is not through corrupting best management practice with the ideology of Machiavelli but to foster visionary well communicated business principles and practices.
The article focuses on Machiavellian need for power, and stronghold and one central leader maintaining charge through change. In modern organisations this sort of approach is often frowned upon and not seen as sustainable. A more modern approach so for a leader to surround themselves with good, knowledgeable and ambitious people working towards the macro organisation common goals, but also their micro departmental goals. This provides a more sustainable option for the organisation to flourish beyond the main leader. A recent example is that of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Often referred to as Machiavellian leader, who portrayed a very different persona behind closed doors compared to in public. The public face showed was “…compassionate, faithful to his word, kind, guileless, and devout.” (The Prince, Chapter XVIII, pp. 57) And although as leader he should have indeed had these qualities, he did not necessarily have them, as long as he appeared to have them. He was also prepared to do wrong and break his word if the need arose.
He was quick to make large sweeping changes and make profound political statements, such as the apology to the stolen generation. He worked off the belief that if there was an obstacle, simply remove it. However, by maintaining complete control and decision making, those below him, become disgruntled at being worked harder than normally expected, being blocked form decision making, and started to rebel, mainly through the media.
Slowly the insurgence and discontent grew to a point where a leadership challenge happened. This situation led to the current government holding a slender minority parliament based on the preferences of...
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