Silvio Napoli Schindler Case

Topics: Management, Subsidiary, Leadership Pages: 8 (2782 words) Published: March 4, 2014
Silvio Napoli at Schindler India
Schindler is a Switzerland based elevator manufacturing company founded by Robert Schindler in 1874. Since its inception, the company has generated billion dollar revenues and is regarded as the technology leader in elevator manufacturing. Alfred N. Schindler, who is the 4th generation of the family to lead the company, has seen growth potential for the company in India and is attracted by the growing demands for elevators in that particular part of the world. After negotiations for a joint venture with a local Indian firm BBL has failed, Schindler decides to establish its wholly owned subsidiary in India. To lead the implementation of this plan Schindler has appointed Silvio Napoli, a Harvard MBA graduate as the head of the Indian subsidiary project. With the appointment of Silvio Napoli as the Head, several issues come up as the reality of starting up a new subsidiary in a country that is culturally different proves to be more challenging than what was initially anticipated. From having to deal with the newly formed management team taking orders for customized elevators, which is not part of the business plan written out by Napoli emphasizing the sale of standardized elevators only, to not getting full support from the European plants in regards to the request for parts and design specifications for the elevators, implementation of Napoli’s business plan is proving to be more perplexing than initially planned. Such issues raise the questions of whether appointing Silvio Napoli as the Head of the project is the right decision and how Luc Bonnard, who is the vice chairman of Schindler, would evaluate Napoli’s performance on the project thus far. Was Silvio Napoli the right choice for general manager of Schindler’s India operations? Assessing whether Silvio Napoli was the right choice for general manager position will require looking at his strengths and weaknesses, accomplishments, as well as his compatibility with the new management team and the host country. In terms of professional qualifications, Napoli is no doubt the right choice. A Harvard MBA graduate with various accomplishments up his sleeve, Napoli has the necessary knowledge and experience to lead a new subsidiary. He reports directly to the CEO of Schindler and is the only “non-member to attend VRA meetings” (Fagan, Yoshino, Bartlett, 2006, p. 3), which are reserved exclusively for the corporate executive committee consisting of Alfred Schindler, Luc Bonnard, and Alfred Spoerri. In addition to this, Napoli has a proven success record with regards to the Swatch Project, which is the first major assignment that he took, in which he redesigned Schindler’s entire supply chain to bring costs down and increase profits as mentioned by Fagan et al. (2006, p. 3). In addition to this, since Napoli is the person who came up with this business plan, it may be best that he is the one who leads the realization of such plan. Moreover, although Napoli’s strict and demanding leadership style is often seen criticized for not being adaptive to the culturally different management styles of his newly formed team, it is effective in helping Napoli achieve the task at hand. As Fagan et al. (2006, p. 6) describes “Napoli expected things to be done yesterday, but in India things do not get done yesterday”. From this, Napoli’s bureaucratic leadership style is evident. According to Grayson (n.d., Bureaucratic Leadership Style section) bureaucratic leadership style is most effective when you want things to be done precisely the way it is planned in an organized and timely manner. This means that such style of leadership is best suited for the task in hand at that time, as such tight control style of leadership has the ability to ensure efficiency in getting things done which in this case is to cut costs and increase productivity in the manufacturing of the elevators. Considering the partisan perspectives however, it also becomes clear that Napoli’s...

Bibliography: Fagan, P. L, Yoshino, M. Y, & Bartlett, C. A. (2006). Silvio Napoli at Schindler India (A). Harvard Business School.
Grayson, A. (n.d.). Leadership Styles. Retrieved from
Hoppe, M. H. (2007). Culture and Leader Effectiveness. Retrieved from
“Silvio Napoli Interview” Video shown in class
Xia, N & Rajogopalan, S. 2009. A competitive model of customization with lead-time effects. Decision Sciences, 40(4), 727-758.
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