A Case Analysis on “The Big Promotion”


Paul McAllister, a CEO of a large software company, is in need to fill the company’s senior executive position vacated due to retirement. Two candidates who are both responsible for managing one of the company’s largest divisions are being considered and evaluated: Devon, a traditional and straightforward leader who motivates people through a reward-punishment managing style and provides skills and resources whenever the needs arise to ensure that his goals appropriately sets are accomplished on time or even ahead of time; and Isabella, a person with unconventional ideas that in many cases saved the company and who challenges the employees to think out of the box and treat the company more than their means to paychecks.

Although both are good and seemingly credible to handle the position, McAllister needs to weigh which between the two can most effectively handle the position and bring him less worry in the long run: a man who lacks the creative talent and vision that the position needs to have most or a woman who has a somewhat egoistical personality that may be amplified in a much higher position.


This paper will be taken under the keen eye of a Paul McAllister, the CEO, who will be working directly with the senior executives.


Guided by the synthesis above, this paper answers the question: Who will be better to fill a large software company’s senior executive position between Devon and Isabella?


  1. To describe a large software company and to define the required characteristics and leadership style for a senior executive position in a large software company
  2. To choose the right person who will fill up the senior executive position between Devon and Isabella




  • On the Software Company
  • Process is well-defined but operating processes are generally less efficient as changes in the industry is very fast
  • Development cycles are generally longer and the company has a long-term turnover roadmap, going out 5 years or more
  • Many employees will never meet the CEO or president.
  • Employees might specialized in one technology for years
  • On Devon
  • Determined; Pushes the boundaries and performs beyond the status quo to achieve an entirely new set of organizational goals
  • Can easily detect what is most important to individuals and to the organization as a whole.
  • Has a good business sense and is able to see what decisions will positively affect the organization
  • On Isabella
  • Articulates an appealing vision
  • Communicates high performance expectations and expressesconfidence that followers can attain them.
  • Engages in behavior that is perceived asnovel and counter to norms
  • Both Devon & Isabella we’re managing one of the company’s large divisions, and each one manages a different division effectively
  • Both Devon’s & Isabella’s leadership style arises from the unique situation they are operating/working.


  • Transformational Leadership

In transformational leadership the emphasis is on people of vision, who are creative, innovative, and capable of getting others to share their dreams while playing down self-interest and who are able to co-operate with others in reshaping the strategies and tactics of the organization.  To these qualities could be added the pursuit of high standards, taking calculated risks, challenging and changing the existing company structure, with even the potential for the display (when considered appropriate) of directive tendencies.

Characteristics of a Transformational Leader

Idealized Influence: Provides vision and sense of mission, instills pride, gains respect and trust.

Inspirational Motivation: Communicates high expectations, uses symbols to focus efforts, expresses important purposes in simple ways.

Intellectual Stimulation: Promotes intelligence, rationality, and careful problem solving.

Individualized Consideration: Gives personal attention, treats each employee individually, coaches, advises.

  • Charismatic Leadership

Charisma is believed to be the fundamental factor in the transformational process and is described as the leader’s ability to generate great symbolic power. Weber (1947) first described the concept of charismatic leadership as stemming from subordinates’ (or followers’) perceptions that the leader is endowed with exceptional skills or talents. In its origins, charismatic leadership was a focus in studying political and world leaders (Bums, 1978; House, Spangler & Woycke, 1991). Research of charismatic leadership has consistently found significant relationships with follower trust, effort, and commitment (Howell & Frost, 1989; Lowe et al., 1996).

Characteristics of a Charismatic Leader

Vision and articulation: Has a vision – expressed as an idealized goal – that proposes a future better that the status quo; and is able to clarify the importance of the vision in terms that are understandable to others.

Personal risk: Willing to take on high personal risk, incur high costs, and engage in self-sacrifice to achieve the vision.

Sensitivity to follower needs: Perceptive of others’ abilities and responsive to their needs and feelings.

Unconventional behavior: Engages in behaviors that are perceived as novel and counter to norms.

  • Transactional Leadership

In transactional leadership, it is believed that punishment and reward motivate people. This leadership also assumes that when people agree to do a particular assignment, a part of that agreement is that they give up all authority to their boss. The leader holds control and power over the subordinates. The main goal of the employee is to obey the orders of their managers. The idea is that when a subordinate takes up a job, he or she agrees to obey their manager totally. Transactional leadership makes clear that what is required and expected from their subordinates. It also mentions that subordinates will get award if they follow the orders seriously. Sometimes punishments are not mentioned but they are understood.

Characteristics of a Transactional Leader

Contingent Reward: Contracts exchange of rewards for effort, promises rewards for good performance, recognizes accomplishments.

Management by Exception (active): Watches and searches for deviations from rules and standards, takes correct action.

Management by Exception (passive): Intervenes only if standards are not met.

Laissez-Faire: Abdicates responsibilities, avoids making decisions.


  • Transformational Leadership

Pros: This effective leadership model will create an enthusiastic work atmosphere and it will drive the organization with innovations. The fact that people are working through self-motivation, will certainly guarantee higher output and efficiency. It will naturally develop future leaders from the lot of followers. People will work for the leader, even if the monetary and other benefits offered are lesser, as they will be inspired by his vision.

Cons: This theory is totally based on the ability of the leader, to inspire the work force to put their best in. Leaders of organizations may not have the force of character to achieve that.

  • Charismatic Leadership

Pros: Work usually done well; Workers inspired to perform; Workers valued.

Cons: Can be spectacular failures; Create a personality cult; Can wear out the workers.

  • Transactional Leadership

Pros: Sets clear goals with rewards for making them (however, it causes problems if they are not met)

Cons: Can be seen as a reward/punishment system; Leader is concerned with their own status quo and will put themselves before the followers; Management for exception is a poor example of a supervisor; Offers few advantages to followers and can be very unhappy work environment.



ACA1 – Choose Devon

Although Devon may lack the creative talent and vision Paul needed for his senior executive, Devon, being a traditional and straightforward, demonstrates his determination to achieve the company’s goals by setting appropriate goals, providing skills and resources to employees whenever it’s needed and motivates people through reward-punishment system, which both recognizes or corrects employees’ action, boosting their spirit to do their job better the next time whether they have done something good or not with their jobs as the sense of achievement gained through rewards inspired them to work much better; the same thing happens for employees who earned punishment as they are  challenged to do their job better to gain a reward. Devon’s lack of creativity and vision would be gained in time through new challenging goals and training. The time though to earn such skill is unmeasured. The good thing is, Devon has people under him who he can delegate the work to and who he will empower and motivate in return. And being in a large software company, he do indeed need more than his skills and knowledge. He needs people to help him up.

ACA2 – Choose Isabella

Isabella has indeed the creative skill and vision Paul is looking for in his senior executive. No need to train her much as she is naturally born with creativity in her blood. Besides this, Isabella motivates people to treat the company as their own, opening a sense of belongingness to them. Yet, her egoistic personality is frightening in a sense that the CEO can not always look out or observe when will be the times that her ego will rise. And since no one knows exactly when will her ego rise, she might unconsciously hurt the people around her. Being egoistic, she might take the credit more often instead of crediting the team or individual who really did the tasks or, worst, work by herself when a group work is very much necessary. Doing either one will have negative effect for the company and the people in it, some of which might remain unidentified.



The group recommends that Paul choose Devon. Devon is what one would consider as a transactional leader. He motivates and influences people through rewards and punishments; he also set clear goals for his followers to attain. This way is tried and tested and would garner expected outcomes. Another good thing about this is given that Devon is goal oriented; management would not be hard pressed to train him to achieve some of the traits such as charisma that would equip him to be a better leader.

Given that he still lack the necessary skill Paul requires as a senior executive, Devon would have time to know the people below him who he could trust and build as a group.


In order for Devon to achieve the necessary traits for a senior executive of the company like being a visionary, Devon will undergo a series of professional trainings and seminars alongside management courses.

  1. Devon will be briefed and oriented to the responsibilities expected of a senior executive.
  2. Devon will have a turn-over of materials and files that was from the previous senior executive
  3. Devon will be assessed for his management knowledge and skills
  4. Devon will be given a knowledge and skill enhancement plan, based from the assessment results, in order to fully competent and efficient being a senior executive
  5. Devon will undergo a series of seminars and workshops for skill enhancements (ie: diploma seminars held in DLSU)
  6. Devon will take courses for management decision making, operations, finance, organizational behavior, marketing, etc. (ie: MBA course in DLSU)


The entire process that organizations go through to fill management positions is essentially an exercise in trying to identify individuals who will be effected leaders. Search might begin by reviewing the specific requirements for the position filled. What knowledge, skills, and abilities are needed to do the job effectively? In this case, we try to analyze the situation to find candidates who will make a proper match.

There are several ways that we can use in identifying and selecting leaders.

  1. Testing- e.g. Personality test, look for traits associated with leadership; testing to find a leadership-candidate’s score on self-monitoring also makes sense. High self-monitors are likely to outperform their low-scoring counterparts because the former are better at reading situations and adjusting their behavior accordingly; access for emotional intelligence, high EI should have an advantage, especially in situations requiring transformational leadership.
  2. Interviews-also provide an opportunity to evaluate leadership candidates. For instance, know that experience is a poor predictor of leader effectiveness, but situation-specific experience is relevant. One can use interview to determine if a candidate’s prior experience fits with the situation you’re trying to fill. In addition, interview is a reasonably good vehicle for identifying the degree to which a candidate has leadership traits such as extraversion, self confidence, a vision, and verbal skills to frame issues or a charismatic physical presence.
  3. Situational Factors-use this knowledge to match leaders to situations. Does the situation require a change-focused leader? If so, look for transformational qualities. If not, look for transactional qualities. One might also ask: Is leadership actually important in this specific position? There may be situational factors that substitute for or neutralize leadership. If there are, then the leader essentially performs a figurehead or symbolic role, and the importance of selecting the “right” person is not particularly vital.




Organizational Behavior Book

Robbins/Judge, ESSENTIALS OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR, 13e, (Prentice-Hall, 2009)


Characteristics of Software Company Size. (2009, December). Retrieved from The Software Purist: http://www.softwarepurist.com/blog/index.php/characteristics-of-sw-co-size/


Defining Transformational Leadership. (2007-2010). Retrieved from Leadership Training Tutorials & Articles.: http://leadershiptrainingtutorials.com/index.php?q=Transformational_Leadership

RAO, V. S. (2008, June ). Key Characteristics of Charismatic leaders. Retrieved from Cite Man Network: http://www.citeman.com/3500-key-characteristics-of-charismatic-leaders.html

Problems With Transformational Leadership | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_8241960_problems-transformational-leadership.html#ixzz1bUYNgsCK



About marvzmartinez
an Engineer

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