Case 2: Maxwell Group

Case 2: Maxwell Group

I. Strengths and weaknesses in leadership development

We’ll evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the leadership development in both the entire Maxwell Group and the three subsidiaries.

i) Weaknesses

First of all, one of the reasons for the CEO of Maxwell Group to order Janet to investigate the leadership practice is because of the shortage of capable leaders in this company which indicates the leadership development practices in this company may be seemed to lack the effectiveness, which is the first weakness for the whole company.

Secondly, standing on the level of the whole company, we can also find there is a shortage of a unified leadership developing strategy in Maxwell Group that each of the three subsidiaries is responsible for their own developing strategy, which may make these developing programs or strategies lacking in the unified direction and hinder the senior management of Maxwell to control the development practices. Meanwhile, as the three subsidiaries implemented their leadership developing practices respectively, this may produce more costs for Maxwell Group.

Thirdly, in terms of the leadership development practice in the engineering company governed by James, there are two weaknesses. One is the high costs the company paid for the employees to attend the outside management training cost. The other is the high turnover rate of employees who finish these managerial trainings. That is to say, such kind of training not only cost this engineering a lot of money but also makes it losing talents. According to the hierarchy theory of Maslow that employees are often motivated by five basic kinds of needs as figure 2.0 shows (Stone 2010). This company offers employees the chance to meet their needs of job security and improved self- capacity, while it may also have less concern on the higher level of needs of employees such as the esteem or self-actualization, which may result in the high turnover rate (Stone 2010).

Figure 2.0 the hierarchy theory of Maslow

figure 2.0

Fourthly, in the consumer products making subsidiary governed by Alexis, it is also seemed to lack a full concern with the fairness in training chances for employees. According to the equity theory, each employee should be offered with equal chances or else some conflicts or resistance may occur just as some employees compliant in Alexis’s company that they don’t own the equal chance to develop, which indicates the leadership developing practices in this subsidiary lack of fairness (Stone 2010).

At last, the political behaviors taking place in the electronics subsidiary operated by Jon also shows its weakness in the design and development of leadership developing programs. According to the equity theory (Stone 2010), just because employees aren’t given the equal chances to get development chances, there are some politics.

ii) Strengths

The major strength of the leadership development practice in Maxwell Group also results from its lack of unity. As the three subsidiaries own more flexibility to design and manage the leadership development practices or programs by themselves, these developing programs or practices may be more suitable and effective for potential employees in the three subsidiaries to actual offer their employees their most desirable developing and trainings to product expected results.

As the hierarchy of needs theory indicates, at different level employees own different needs on their career developing (Stone 2010). Therefore, in the three subsidiaries, they also offer their employees with the most desirable developing programs such as the MBA training in the engineering company, cross functional projects in Alexis’s company and executive capacity developing in Jon’s company.

II. Changes

Based on the above analysis, we find that there are both strengths and weaknesses of the leadership development practices in Maxwell Group. Therefore, we recommend this group to makes some changes to strengthen these strengths and remove weaknesses.

On the one hand, it is so necessary and crucial for Maxwell Group to unify its leadership developing approach to make this practice more cost effective and produce greater benefits to make up the vacancy of capable leaders in this Group. The human resource department of Maxwell Group had better formulate a developing strategy for leadership development to define and unify the actual direction that the leadership developing programs intend to get (Stone 2010).

On the other hand, specific training and developing programs should be carried out basis on the full consideration of both the external and internal environment of Maxwell Group of the internal strengths and weaknesses as well as the external opportunities and threats for this group with reference to the SWOT analysis as below (Stone 2010). From the SWOT analysis, we can get these points. First, employees in Maxwell owns great ambition to develop them for the position of management in the future, therefore professional training and developing design based on their actual developing needs may meet their needs and improve their sense of belonging to their company (Stone 2010). Second, to unify the training curriculum, study times or places may save the cost for Maxwell and also produce expected returns (Cascio 2010). Third, besides meeting the training and developing needs of employees, further evaluation of their needs of future career including the monetary needs or career developing needs may reduce the rate of turnover and retain great talents for this company as well(Cascio 2010). Furthermore, the outside courses may be too expensive, since the teaching sources are relatively rich at the modern times, Maxwell may employ two kinds of means. One is to invite some experts from the academic groups or big companies to offer employees the leadership training. The other is to invite the people from senior management in Maxwell to share employees with their practical experience and knowledge in this company, which may produce effective results and save costs a lot as well (Cascio 2010).

Figure 3.0 the SWOT analysis on the leadership developing situation for Maxwell Group


In addition, culture development should also be emphasized by Maxwell Group to foster a united and harmonious working environment for people in this company (Kefela 2010). For instance, team building may be a suitable choice for Maxwell to develop the cohesion of its people in working teams and the sense of belonging, which may remove many political behaviors and conflicts among employees (Rahman & Kumaraswamy 2008). At the same time, other employee benefits such as social activities, holiday parties, and travel chances sponsored by Maxwell may also assist this group to improve the sense of belonging of employees towards their employer and reduce the turnover rate (stone 2010).

III. Recommendations

Besides the investigation implemented by Janet on the perspectives from the three directors in Maxwell Group, we recommend more information should be explored so as to give the CEO a relatively thorough report.

First of all, the perspectives of these ordinary employees on the leadership developing practice and performance in Maxwell Group in the three subsidiaries should also be obtained and analyzed. For instance, peoples comments on the strong points and the weak points of the current leadership developing activities may be more practical than that from the three directors due to they are the right people who are experiencing these practices (Stone 2010). Therefore, their suggestions and perspectives owns great value for the CEO to develop a relatively complete understanding of the entire developing practice on leadership issue in Maxwell Group and then support the future effective management on this issue.

Secondly, the job analysis, background and working situation evaluation for employees in the three subsidiaries are also recommended to be summarized and then given to the CEO. Different working environment and job content may shape different working attitudes and developing requirements of people in Maxwell Group (Stone 2010). Therefore, such kind of evaluation may assist us to get a better understanding on both the leadership developing needs and the future career development needs. Of course, such kind of evaluation should be formulated in a concise manner for the CEO to get the key to the point.

Thirdly, the suggestions on how to improve the effectiveness and advantages of the future leadership developing programs to actual assist Maxwell group to grow expected and capable leaders are the most important issue for us to present to the CEO. Meanwhile, detailed developing design and implementation scheme should also be presented to the CEO. And most important, the budget on the leadership developing programs to nurture the capable leading talents in Maxwell Group should also be figured out for the CEO including the relatively detailed information on these budgets for different spending such as the cost on inviting trainers, teaching materials, course designing and implementation, training feedback collection and so on (Stone 2010).

Moreover, the expected effects of the future leadership developing program should also be offered to the CEO to make this investigation be more valuable and practical.

Furthermore, besides the inside situation of the leadership developing practices, the information and practices on leadership development issues from these competitors for Maxwell Group may also own the significance for reference (Stone 2010). For instance, the developing measures and training contents can also give us some inspiration for the future leadership development programs in Maxwell Group. And these strengths and weaknesses brought by the leadership developing practices from these competitors may also support the CEO in Maxwell Group to make more practical and effective modification on these programs in this company to remove weaknesses and improve positive outcomes.

IV. Conclusion

Based on the case of Maxwell Group on leading talent developments, we develop a relatively thorough analysis on three aspects including the current strengths and weaknesses of the programs, suggestions to make changes to remove these weaknesses and strengthen these strong points as well as suggestions on additional information presented to the CEO of this group.

Under the analysis and evaluation from the three aspects, we hope the future leadership developing practices of this group can produce more effective consequences to support the Maxwell Group nurture more capable leaders to support its future development.


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