Case analysis of Infosys: Leadership style perspective

By | April 14, 2014

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1. Introduction

From the case of Infosys it is easy to see that Narayana Murthy, the founder of the company has transform the 1981 year founded little software company into the first Indian company to be listed on the NASDAQ and become a world leader in IT consulting and software service provider, these achievement to a certain extent have close relationship with Murthy’s management practices in which his management philosophy and approaches, in the management’s perspective it would interesting and worthy to go into the case to study Murthy’s managerial skills and his philosophy. And below the essay will examine this great former CEO’s management practices in four aspects: business ethics, leadership, human resource management and strategic management in order to solve the following key issues and problems:

1.1 Leadership style analysis

1.1.1 Trait theory

The famous great men hypothesis could be easily understood with the comment that “the history of the world was the biography of great men (Carlyle 1907, p18)”; it is this hypothesis that forms the base for the trait theory of leadership. The trait theory suggests that there are a set of traits of the leaders that are not possessed by non-leaders which differentiate the leaders from common people. In another word, according to the trait theory leaders are born and thus cannot be trained.

1.1.2 Big five personality model analysis

The big five model (Goldberg, 1990) is a descriptive trait theory that examines the personalities of leaders with five dimensions that cover and sum up the most personalities of a leader, below the leadership of Narayana Murthy will be examined within these five dimensions.

1.1.2.1 Neuroticism

Neuroticism or emotional stability examines the leader’s tendency towards emotional fluctuations such as anxiety, insecurity, depression and hostility (Pierce & Newstrom 2006, p77). Obviously, a leader could not maintain stable in his or her emotion, he or she would easily become too emotional to make rational and balance decisions and because of the bad temper, relationship between the leader and his or her subordinates may be destructed as nobody want to follow a leader that is not preditable.

As in this case, during term when Murthy was in office, he always encouraged employees from all levels to come to his office to talk with him their experience and difference opinions about the development of the company. He was opened to different ideas and experiences. It’s hard to believe that a man with bad temper could accept this open door policy for a long time, so Murthy is hard to be disrupted by the outside mess but in contrast he is able to deal with it in patience.

1.1.2.2 Extraversion

The dimension extraversion examines the preference of a leader to be sociable; this personality of a leader is of critical importance as it is a leader’s routine work to deal with a lot of social activities such as press conference, meeting and charitable activities.

Murthy is a very sociable person, he was active in raising questions with the social problems such as poverty and election, and he was also the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry (Unknown 2005). Even after he retired as the head of Infosys in 2006, he appeared in the boardrooms of many multinational companies and business school to share his experience and philosophy, so he has a high score in term of extraversion.

1.1.2.3 Openness to experience

The term openness to experience measure a leader’s ability to break the convention and stay creative in the management practice, this personality could help a leader become more sensitive and imaginative to jump out of the old experiences and make advanced decisions that benefit the company in a long run.

Murthy was very creative and unconventional; he had his vision about the company, about the IT industry and his country as he was so confident about the Indian IT service industry back in the 1980s when the market condition was from away from maturity because of his so advanced prediction about the potential competitiveness of Indian IT industry.

1.1.2.4 Agreeableness

Murthy in his life always has a passion for the low class of the society who suffer from poverty, unemployment and illness, so he consider making differences to the widening gap between rich and poor as one of his beliefs of setting the Infosys. On the other hand, we can see that Murthy is an agreeable person from the fact that he concluded a supportive family as his second personal advice to his audience at the Wharton’s MBA commencement ceremony.

1.1.2.5 Conscientiousness

The term conscientiousness measures the tendency and preference of the leaders towards self discipline, duty and planned actions. This personality of the leader would help make the leadership practice become more predictable and understandable.

The conscientiousness in Murthy’s word could be understood as that “manage yourself, especially your feeling in a way that respects the dignity of others and yourself” and “being transaction oriented”, this is how he managed himself so well and always got prepared for work and the coming changes. The fact that he sets goal for himself, for the company and worked hard to achieve these goals shows that he is a leader with high conscientiousness.

1.2 Conclusion

From the good performance in the five dimensions of big five personality model and considering Murthy’s excellent leadership practices in addiction, it is safe to make such a conclusion that Murthy’s success as a great leader has close relationship with his good personalities, he is gentle, nice to people and stay calm in accidents but he is also creative and acceptable to different ideas, in a word, to some extent, he is a born leader which probably explains that good leaders are rare.

Reference:

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James E. Post, Lee E. Preston, and Sybille Sachs 2002, Redefining the Corporation: Stakeholder Management and Organizational Wealth, Stanford University Press, Palo Alto

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Som, 2006, Thank You Mr. Narayana Murthy, accessed on 17th April 2010 [online] available: http://www.linux-on-laptops.com/narayana-murthy.html

Unknown, 2009, Annual report, Accessed 16th April 16, 2010 [online] available: http://www.infosys.com/investors/reports-filings/annual-report/annual/Documents/Infosys-AR-09.pdf

Unknown, 2009, Infosys BPO Layoffs Job Cut: fires 600 contract employees, Accessed 16th April 16, 2010 [online] available: http://www.finance-trading-times.com/2009/03/infosys-bpo-layoffs-job-cut-fires-600.html

Unknown, 24th Oct, 2009, Infosys among Asia’s Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises, accessed 17th April 2010 [online] available: http://www.indiaprline.com/2009/10/24/infosys-among-asias-most-admired-knowledge-enterprises/

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