Meg Whitman and Hewlett-Packard

Topics: Meg Whitman, Harvard Business School, EBay Pages: 7 (2025 words) Published: September 2, 2013
A study on Meg Whitman and Hewlett-Packard

George Davies
Dr. Laura Poluka
Business 520 Organizational Behavior

A Study on Meg Whitman and Hewett-Packard

Meg Whitman was born Margaret Cushing Whitman on August 4, 1956, in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, New York. The youngest of the Hendricks and Margaret Cushing’s three children, Meg grew up in Cold Harbor Spring, New York. Her father worked for Wall Street while her mother was a stay-at-home mom. Confident and bright, she didn’t shy from intelligence, and in 1974 she graduated from high school after just three years. She entered Princeton and earned a bachelor degree in economics. In 1979 she earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. Thereafter, she landed several positions: brand manager at Proctor & Gamer, consultant at Bain & company, Disney, Stride Rite, FTD and Hasbro and the CEO of eBay. In 2009, Meg entered into politics and ran as governor of California, but lost. Interestingly, the lost turn out to be a blessing in disguise when she was appointed CEO of Hewett-Packard two years later.

Analyzing Meg Whitman’s Leadership style and Philosophy and how it Align with Hewlett-Packard’s Culture
To understand what Meg Whitman, former eBay chief executive who now runs Hewlett-Packard, it is imperative and essential to revisit something she did 26 years ago. She had just become a junior partner at Bain Consulting, working for a brilliant but domineering boss, Tom Tierney. One morning Whitman walked into his office and asked if he wanted feedback about his leadership style; he nodded. Whitman grabbed a felt-tip marker and sketched a giant

steamroller on a nearby whiteboard. “This is you, Tom”. She explained. “You are too pushy-you are not letting us build consensus leadership”. (George, 2013) Tierney was stunned. But he eventually absorbed the message and tune down his stridency.

Meg Whitman knows that a great leader must involve all levels of the team that’s responsible for the day-to-day operation of the company. She is a leader that invigorates others to come on board and exercise their team talent. She is the kind of leader that Hewlett-Packard needs because she is decisive without being abrasive, persuasive without being slick, and also a team builder who knows that turnarounds call for repairing hundreds of small failings rather than betting everything on a miracle cure that might be a mirage. (George, 2013)

Fixing the world biggest tech company - with $120 billion in annual revenue and 330,000 employees is not a simple task. Bloated by more than 70 acquisitions in the past 15 years, HP isn’t just sprawling and stalled out, it may actually be running in reverse. The company has been losing its competitive edge under its previous CEOs and need a new direction. The gruesome task to revive the company had to fall on someone who knows and understand that Hewlett-Packard’s culture, philosophies, and policies must be applied and adopted to contemporary technology. Meg admits that the company would need to adjust to the changing tech world. Personal computers are at their lowest and dropping while tables and smartphones seems to be running victory in the market. (Cunningham, 2013) To further propel the drive to turn the company from a downward slope, the CEO has adopted a leadership style that is to approach the problem head-on, as she puts it, “problems are good as long as you solve them quickly”.

(George, 2013) Her favorite saying is “run to the fire, don’t hide from it”. Meg always thrives on these challenges.

Hewlett-Packard CEO’s Personal and Organizational Values
Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard was the CEO of eBay who shepherd that company, one of few online commercial success stories, from a $4 billion to an $8 billion behemoth. She has always lead with a no-non sense approach to work, and push for corporate integrity centered round practical advice for employees, managers, and...
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