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Title: The successful implementation of servant leadership at a factory in the USA
Authors: Au-Yong-Oliveira, Manuel
Moreira, Fernando
Martins, José
Branco, Frederico
Gonçalves, Ramiro
Keywords: Cooperation
Wood veneer
Issue Date: 2018
Citation: Au-Yong-Oliveira, M., Moreira, F., Martins, J., Branco, F., Gonçalves, R. (2018). The Successful Implementation of Servant Leadership at a Factory in the USA. In C. Costa, M. Au-Yong-Oliveira, & M. Amorim (Eds.), Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ECIE 2018, University of Aveiro, 20-21 Sept.2018 (pp.78-86). Disponível no Repositório UPT,
Abstract: This is a case study on leadership, a topic which has been much debated in the literature, as solutions for many diverse situations are still lacking and seem to escape us. The case describes how an entrepreneurial wood veneer factory operates, in the USA, with images included of a number of operations. The manager-owner took us on a guided tour from raw material (logs) to finished product (veneer wood). Waste is minimized at the factory in a very stream-lined operation which has a minimal amount of managers in place. Each worker is responsible for his or her job, done to perfection, as one task rolls on to the next, without stopping. The attitude of the innovative servant-type leadership in place is that “win-win” situations are better for all, and there is enough profit to go around. Servant-leadership-type leaders exist to serve employees and exercise minimal management control. At this firm there are no self-serving managers. Rather, mature and great working relationships are developed. Being greedy would mean that unions would have to be brought in. At this firm that was not necessary, by request of the employees themselves. Hispanic workers are very good and are cherished at this firm, in the heart of the USA. As leadership is dependent on culture, the discussion also includes references to cultural aspects relevant to management. The story is thus of a positive firm with positive leadership and subordinates. We conclude that employees who have emigrated from poorer countries in search of a better lifestyle may indeed make excellent workers, despite what some political leaders have announced in the media. We have found evidence that Spanish-speaking individuals do not only work well under autocratic leadership, as portrayed by the literature. Our study is thus revealing of a new cultural-type involving workers working outside their home countries. Under different leaders, in different countries and environments, certain workers are prepared to go the “extra mile” and behave in a completely different way as to what is expected from them in their home countries. This is surprising and may have important implications for multinational firms worldwide.
Appears in Collections:REMIT - Comunicações a Congressos Internacionais / Papers in International Meetings

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