1. Describe Andrea Jung’s leadership style. How did her upbringing influence that style? What assumptions about human nature does she hold?
Andrea Jung is the quintessential transformational leader. Jung showcases her transformational leadership style through her charisma, delegation of authority, consideration of subordinates, and her ability to constantly modify the organizational structure of Avon.
Jung’s charisma is seen in the strong passion she has for Avon. This passion was clearly manifested when Jung turned down a CEO position at another company to remain the number two person at Avon. The genuine love that Jung has for Avon and its impact on society serves as a motivational leadership tool. The influence of Jung’s positive attitude toward Avon promotes an atmosphere of cooperation and teamwork.
Much like fellow transformational leader Howard Schultz, Jung is firm believer in delegating authority. An example of Jung’s trust in delegation was seen in her 2001 appointment of Susan Kropf to COO. Despite Kropf’s young age, 31, Jung believed she was the right woman for job. Jung’s instincts proved to be correct, as Kropf saved Avon roughly $460 million.
In working her way through the many levels of Avon, Jung was able to understand the importance of sales representative moral, as they were the heart of Avon. It was through this knowledge that Jung decided to increase representatives’ commission payouts. This action is a clear example of her consideration of subordinates and Jung’s transformational leadership style.
Jung’s leadership at Avon has always been characterized by her belief in modifying the organizational structure. Never were these modifications for her personal benefit, rather the benefit of Avon as a whole. From her initial changing of the vision statement in 2000, to her new business model in 2005, Jung has always put company goals ahead of any personal interests.
Andrea Jung’s upbringing has had a clear influence on our transformational style of leadership. Andrea’s parents instilled in her a strong work ethic at a very young age. This work ethic, combined with her Asian parent’s high belief in “in-group collectivism,” set the stage for Andrea to take great pride in groups that she holds near to her, such as her family and Avon.
On the contrary, Andrea’s upbringing was not one characterized by high individualism. A 2006 USA Today story states, “(i)ntroversion might be partially explained by culture, genetics and upbringing. More men are introverts than women. Masatoshi Ono, who resigned as CEO of Bridgestone/Firestone during the tire scandal of 2000, lived in Nashville for seven years but was practically unknown even by neighbors when he returned to Japan. Avon Products CEO Andrea Jung told USA TODAY in a rare interview in 2000 that she is not shy, but grew up in a traditional Asian household and was, therefore, ‘reserved.’ ” As the above statement explains, the modest climate that Andrea was raised in was not one were she was able to showcase her assertive and confident side. In Jung’s rise to CEO one of her main obstacles was revealing her aggressive side, a side that was clearly surpressed as a youth.
Andrea Jung possesses an array of assumptions on human nature. Jung is a firm believer in having a genuine love for what you do in life. She assumes that not doing what you want to do is a sacrifice that affects both men and women. Andrea also believes that innovation is the key to finding success in business, however, Jung assumes that this innovation can not be used in a means to hurt the company. Jung’s strongest assumption on human nature is a person’s sound principles and passion will guide them through both the good and bad times. Jung’s charasmatic demeanor, combined with her modest upbringing, enable her to have these optimistic assumptions on human nature.
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