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Leadership Overhaul at Nissan Motors
David P. Day Sr.
7 Apr 2022
2
Abstract
Organizational leadership is often the pacesetter for the trajectory of a company. They
develop strategies and implement the policy that propels the company in a positive direction.
Nissan Motors has been dealing with recent leadership shortfalls and challenges that have caused
the company to lose sight of the primary goal of growing the company and continuing to grab a
larger market share in the automotive markets around the globe. These shortfalls have severely
impacted the culture within the organization as well as hurt the revenue stream for the
organization. Scandals within the organization have made headlines around the globe as the
truth behind them seems to be torn from a Hollywood script. Now that the company has suffered
through two CEOs that failed to implement an effective strategy to stop the profit loss and level
the finances within the company, it is time to examine the need and the potential outcome if the
new CEO were to focus on Strategic Leadership.
3
Leadership Troubles
Nissan has faced leadership challenges for many years as an organization, the
culmination of which was the 2018 and 2019 incidents involving the then CEOs of the company.
As far back as 2011, leadership began making decisions that harmed the future of the company.
“Starting in 2011, the company offered dealerships deep discounts on some models, in pursuit of
a 10% share in the North American markets. In 2018, the company was offering incentives
averaging 16.7% of the price of its vehicles, compared to an industry average of 10.6%” (Sugiura
et al., 2019). As a result of these decisions, vehicle sales were nearly doubled, however, profits
sagged to 1%-2%. This also had a negative effect on the personnel within the organization as
there was a very strong feeling that the organizational leadership’s focus on discounting and fleet
sales cheapened the brand and made it less desirable. At the height of the rental fleet sales, 40%
of total sales daily rental fleet sales.
In addition to the poor strategic decisions made by leadership and because of those
decisions, Nissan has been dealing with heavily declining sales. Nissan has maintained a very
large lineup of vehicles, which has spread the focus of the organization across the entire model
lineup. In the market space today, a very broad focus is not helping Nissan Motors, as well as
the failure of the company to update the models and provide potential buyers with a reason to
upgrade their vehicle to the newest model. Many Nissans models were severely neglected when
it came to refreshing the model and adding new technology to entice buyers. Nissan’s failure to
stay current with automotive technology and provide incentives to drivers has caused many
drivers to abandon the brand entirely as leases expired due to no changes to the models as
renewal time approached.
4
High-profile scandals seemed to plaque Nissan Motors for a few years even when they
were just guilty by association. In 2016, Mitsubishi Motors was caught manipulating fuel
efficiency tests on some models of vehicles that they produced for Nissan Motors. In 2018,
150,000 vehicles were recalled by the company due to inspections being conducted by
unqualified workers before the cars were sent out for use. In 2018, the former chairman of the
Nissan Motor Company, Carlos Ghosen, was arrested due to an investigation associated with a
large-scale financial scandal. This scandal has not only shaken the company to the core, but it
has also caused a divide within the leadership and investor community as there are differences in
opinions as to how the fallout of the situation should have been handled. Since the arrest, the
company has reported 3 years of straight losses. “In 2019 Nissan had $400 million in operating
losses.” (Taylor, 2020). To add insult to injury, the CEO that replaced Ghosen, Hiroto Saikawa,
was forced to resign from the position in 2019 due to receiving an improperly inflated bonus
went a step further to expose the serious governance issues within the automaker. “Internal
factional battles that began before Ghosn’s arrest are unresolved, as is the future of Nissan’s
fractious relationship with its biggest shareholder, Renault. Nissan has to rediscover its ability to
innovate and compete in an automotive industry that is rapidly shifting toward autonomous and
electric vehicles — and beyond that, toward entirely new modes of mobility. And, in the
immediate term, it has to move quickly to reverse the decline in its American business before it
becomes terminal.” (Sugiura et al., 2019).
Redirecting Focus
If the Nissan Motor company is going to address the poor decisions and execution by the
past leadership of the organization, the new leaders need to focus on a strategy going forward
5
that is executable and within reason to help Nissan gain back the market shares that it has lost in
the global market the last 10+ years. By focusing on the strategic leadership competency that we
have covered, the new incoming leadership could potentially set the stage for a recovery that
positions Nissan to make up the ground it has lost over the last several years.
The leadership of the organization must possess the ability to predict the future and
determine what decisions need to be made now that will have the company on the correct path
for years to come. These decisions cannot be made in a vacuum, they need to be made by the
leadership team with consultation from the employees that make the vision happen. Strategic
leadership would include the leadership collecting data and determining the direction the
company needs to head to correct many of the issues that are affecting it. This type of leadership
can cause ripples throughout the organization and have a very large impact down to the smallest
office. This is where the execution of strategic leadership could help correct the course and
address many of the issues that have been negatively impacting Nissan Motors.
If the current leadership of Nissan Motors was to sit down and come up with a strategy
that they feel is executable and would positively impact the organization, I feel it would help
many of the deficient areas that have been identified within the company. While operating
within the confines of the current environment, leadership would make the appropriate decisions
to influence the direction for years to come. These decisions will set the battle rhythm for the
entire company and for the rest of the employees to follow suit. Some of these items include
identifying the models that they want to continue to upgrade and produce, then eliminating the
others. The benefit of focusing on the most popular and most profitable models would be to
centralize the production focus and eliminate the production, operational, and marketing costs of
producing the less popular models. Operations cost within the organization could be further cut
6
by slowing or eliminating the expansion of the company to less profitable and emerging markets
to allow them to focus on the developed markets they are already established in. The
decentralization of the company when it is struggling can severely impact the organization as it
has funds and resources spread across multiple different areas. Abandoning those markets that
are not profitable or developed should have money and resources for the company.
Conclusion
Nissan Motors’ issues have not materialized overnight, many years of poor decisions by
leadership and poor execution by employees have led to these current-day problems for the
company. With this in mind, the actions needed to correct the course for Nissan Motors will not
happen overnight as well, it will take years to repair the damage that has been done to the
company. As new leadership comes on board to take over the organization the decision, they
make for the immediate future are just as important as the strategic decisions they make for the
company in the future. A successful company cannot operate without a plan or strategy, that will
be an important piece of the leadership team’s policy going forward as they try to turn around the
company. The leadership team needs to ensure that strategy is inclusive to the other employees
within the organization, a combined effort is more likely to be successful than a divided effort.
Poor leadership has divided Nissan Motors for too long, now its time to unite.
7
References
Ferris, R., (2020, November 25). Nissan is trying to bounce back from turmoil and
losses. CNBC.com. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/25/nissan-is-trying-tobounce-back-from-turmoil-and-losses.html
Taylor, T., (2020, December 25). Nissan tells us how it blew it. Motorbiscuit.com.
https://www.motorbiscuit.com/nissan-tells-us-how-it-blew-it/.
Sugiura, F., Regalado, F., & Fang, A., (2019, October 16). Beyond repair? New Nissan
CEO has bigger problems than Ghosn. Asia.nikkei.com.
https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/The-Big-Story/Beyond-repair-New-NissanCEO-has-bigger-problems-than-Ghosn
1
ORGL 63CS: Capstone Project
Jessica Agnew
UIW
03/31/2022
2
ORGL 63CS: Capstone Project
Introduction
As companies strive to remain profitable in this competitive business world, they face
massive challenges. The increased competitiveness in organizations demands that leaders
identify any emerging and pressing issues and develop appropriate solutions for them. This
capstone project seeks to identify the challenges and pressing issues experienced by San
Francisco-based tech company Uber. The paper will critically analyze the pressing issue given its
history, background, and current situation. There will also be recommendations and the expected
outcomes if the recommendations are implemented.
Uber Technologies
Uber Technologies Inc. is an American tech company founded in 2009 to provide
mobility services to its clientele. Initially, the company sought to connect individuals in San
Francisco who needed rides in the city with limousine and town car drivers that sought to make
an extra coin. In 2010, the company launched an app to help connect these individuals. The
company launched its food delivery services in 2014 and a helicopter taxi service in 2019, the
same year it went public. Currently, the company operates in approximately 72 countries and
10,500 cities. Its services include ride-hailing, food and package delivery, freight transport,
motorized scooter rental, helicopter taxi service, and partners with local operators to offer ferry
transport services. Customers get the quotes before seeking the services of Uber, where the
quotes depend on the demand and the supply levels. Due to the nature of its services, the
company prioritizes the safety of all its clients. This has led to partnerships with different
stakeholders, including but not limited to safety advocates and technology companies, to develop
new technology that can enhance client safety. The company has seen several competitors and
3
faced various issues that threaten its sustainability and market position throughout its more than a
decade of existence. The pressing issue faced by the company and addressed in this capstone
project revolves around ethics and leadership.
The Pressing Issue-Ethical and Leadership Issues
Despite Uber’s rapid expansion in the recent past, various issues concerning bad
leadership and unethical conduct have cropped up. The leadership of any organization is
imperative to propel the organization to success. However, Uber has had various scandals that
demonstrate poor leadership, impacting employee performance. First, Uber employees have
complained of a culture where the leaders are reluctant to address the employees’ challenges and
complaints. For instance, in 2017, a former female engineer at Uber Technologies came out to
detail issues of sexual harassment in the company. The employee reportedly complained to the
human resource department but was shut down with the excuse that the perpetrator was a firsttime offender. Later, the female engineer would discover that this perpetrator had done the same
to other female engineers, with the HR department giving the same excuse for not punishing
him.
The company’s leadership has also been arguing with employees, which negatively
reflects the organization (Weinstein, 2022). Such behaviors represent bad leadership as there
were no investigations, and employees do not feel safe working within the organization. The
female engineer was even threatened with her job for complaining ‘too much’ about sexual
harassment (Becker, 2020). Employees need to feel safe at work to have morale and motivation
to perform better. The organizational leaders also need to express themselves to employees in
ways that demonstrate they care about employee welfare, which is an element that is lacking in
the organization. This then leads to high employee turnover rates, which is detrimental to any
4
organization. At Uber technologies, the number of female employees reportedly reduced from 25
percent to 6 percent within the period the sexual harassment victim had worked in the company.
There have also been a couple of ethical issues concerning the company. One of the main
issues has been passenger safety, where passengers have complained of assault by the drivers.
The company’s approach to this is that the drivers are independent contractors, which is a poor
approach to the problem facing such a disruptive company. When employees behave unethically,
they represent the company they have been contracted for, Uber. Thus, this increases the
possibility of the said company losing its reputation and clientele base. The working conditions
of Uber drivers also present an ethical issue. The working conditions and the earnings often
amount to less than minimum wage (Chee, 2018). This has led to various class action lawsuits
launched by drivers, but the company still maintains that they are independent contractors. The
lack of consideration for the drivers who can be viewed as the company’s employees is unethical
and represents poor leadership. Companies should strive to ensure that they improve the working
conditions of their employees to boost morale and consequently increase their market share.
There have also been concerns about the company’s willingness to use unruly methods to
suppress stories highlighting the sexual harassment in the company and among clientele. This is
unethical and demonstrates a company that is not willing to work towards improving its
reputation and changing poor operational practices.
These ethical and bad leadership issues demonstrate a company with poor
communication between leaders and employees. It also demonstrates a company where the
leaders are using traditional leadership styles. There is the imposition of policies instead of more
modern leadership strategies where the leaders influence employees towards positive change.
This then causes the employees to become rebellious and have lower morale and job satisfaction,
5
which eventually lowers the company’s productivity. Communication between leaders of
different departments is integral to identifying the root causes of problems and developing
solutions as a team. It is also important for organizations to develop strategies for bottom-top
communication. This ensures that the employees are involved in the company’s decision-making
processes, change initiatives, and be free to air their grievances. The absence of communication
causes the leadership at Uber to set unrealistic and conflicting goals affecting the employees’
productivity.
Recommendations
The problems at Uber technologies demonstrate a need for a complete overhaul of the
organizational culture. This will help change the bad leadership tendencies, create clearer
communication channels, and establish ethical conduct, eventually leading to a better-performing
organization (Spott, 2018). These changes will also increase the productivity and motivation of
the employees and significantly reduce employee turnover. The main question becomes how to
initiate this complete overhaul of the organizational culture. The first recommendation is for the
company to amend its code of ethics. Most companies have a code of ethics defining the
expected behaviors and the possible punishments for misconduct. However, there is always the
problem where most companies rarely re-visit these codes to accommodate the changing trends
globally. The former CEO and co-founder of the company, Kalanick, had structured the
company around 14 corporate values. These values created an organization where employees
were ‘always hustling’ and fostered a ‘toe stepping’ culture (Spott, 2018). The amended code of
conduct should promote a communication, respect, and teamwork culture. Uber technologies
should solicit buy-in from the employees and independent contractors on various issues to ensure
the code of conduct addresses these issues. This will help employees feel valued, and part of the
6
team as the code of conduct will address their challenges. The employees should also be subject
to training on the new code of ethics so that their behaviors can reflect positively on the
company.
Secondly, the company should focus on improving the current leadership. Good and
ethical leadership are vital for the expansion and growth of an organization. The CEO who had
enabled the toxic culture and unethical practices at Uber, Kalanick, stepped down, and there was
a new leader. However, there is the understanding that changing organizational culture cannot
happen overnight. Thus, the recommendation is for the current leadership to include mandatory
training for managers on the amended code of conduct, communication, and general leadership
competencies. This will help the leaders understand how to implement changes and take on a
more transformational role in leadership rather than the commanding role, which will boost
morale and productivity (Manzoor, Wei, Nurunnabi, Subhan, Shah, & Fallatah, 2019). There
should also be a confidential system introduced to ensure employees and independent contractors
can blow the whistle on destructive practices in the company without fear of retribution or
discrimination.
Outcomes
The implementation of the recommendations above would create massive success for
Uber Technologies. One of the outcomes expected is that there would be a change in the
attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors of both employees and the managers. Including both toplevel and bottom-level employees in the amendment of the codes of conduct ensures that they
feel valued and part of the organization. This drives up their morale and motivation leading to
more positive attitudes to work and the company overall. The other outcome would be a
reduction in reports regarding sexual harassment for both the employees and clientele. The
7
amended code of conduct coupled with training will ensure that all employees understand their
responsibilities and the consequences of conducting themselves against company policy. This
will drive an improvement in the behaviors that they previously exhibited. The amended code of
conduct will also help the employees, and the leaders have a point of reference for ethical
decision-making. The expectation is that this will significantly reduce the instances of poor
ethical decision-making and bad leadership. From the code of conduct that fosters a culture of
teamwork and respect, there is also the expected outcome of better communication among
employees and leaders. This improved communication will ensure that leaders understand the
challenges of employees and lead to improved workplace conditions driving up the motivation
levels of the employees.
8
References
Becker, P.A. (2020) Work Alienation and Disengagement: Sexual Harassment and Uber. In:
Dhiman S. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Workplace Well-Being. Palgrave Macmillan,
Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-02470-3_29-1
Chee, F.M. (2018). An Uber ethical dilemma: examining the social issues at stake. Journal of
Information, Communication, and Ethics in Society
Manzoor, F., Wei, L., Nurunnabi, M., Subhan, Q.A., Shah, S., & Fallatah, S. (2019). The Impact
of Transformational Leadership on Job Performance and CSR as Mediator in
SMEs. Sustainability
Spott, P. (2018). Uber: A Case Study in Strategy, Leadership, and Change. The College of St.
Scholastica
Weinstein, B. (2022). Opinion: Four other ways Uber is ethically challenged. CNNMoney.
Retrieved 15 March 2022, from https://money.cnn.com/2014/11/21/technology/uberethics-oped/.
ORGL 63CS Capstone Essay Grading Rubric
Name of Submitter: Jessica Agnew
Name of Reviewer: William Wood
12
Great
backgroun
d on your
organizatio
n and how
they came
to face
their
organizatio
nal issue
Clearly
presented
the
pressing
issue of
Uber
which was
ethical
concerns
and poor
leadership.
I believe
the
competenc
y that you
highlighted
for Uber
was ethical
leadership.
10
8
4
0
Mostly
develope
d
Partially
develope
d
Touched
upon
Ignored
Tot
al
12
Mostly
develope
d
Partially
develope
d
Touched
upon
Ignored
12
Mostly
develope
d
Partially
develope
d
Touched
upon
Ignored
12
Partially
develope
d or
marginall
y
supporte
d
Minimall
y
develope
d or
supporte
d
Ignored
10
Rationale
for
expected
outcome
tenuous
at best
Ignored
8
Introduction
of the
organization
under
consideration
Fully
develop
ed
Identification
of the
‘pressing
issue’ facing
the
organization
Fully
develop
ed
Identification
of and
rationale for
the chosen
area of
competency
Fully
develop
ed
Specific
recommenda
tion in the
chosen area
of
competency
Fully
develop
ed and
well
support
ed
Adequat
ely
develope
d or
marginall
y
supporte
d
Identification
of the
expected
outcome
after
addressing
competency
1
Rational
e for
expecte
d
outcom
e
support
ed very
well
Rationale
for
expected
outcome
supporte
d well
The
recommenda
tion was to
focus on
culture
change
through
leadership
and a code of
ethics.
Rationale
for
expected
outcome
touched
upon
Out comes
for Uber
were
identified,
however,
they lacked
supporting
documentat
ion.
The “match”
between the
chosen
competency
and the
organization’
s pressing
issue
APA
formatting
Syntax
The two
matche
d
perfectl
y
APA
Style
fully
adhered
to;
word
count
adhered
to
No
syntacti
cal
errors
I think that
you nailed
matching
the two
but would
benefit
from
citations.
Great I
didn’t see
any issues.
Good job
with subheaders
Great job
on syntax.
The two
matched
well
The two
matched
somewh
at
The two
matched
a little
The
competency
and issue
were totally
unmatched
12
Occasion
al errors
in
formattin
g
present,
word
count
violated
slightly (<
100
words)
Rare
misspelli
ngs or
word
usage
errors.
Errors in
formattin
g
present,
word
count
violated
moderat
ely (100200
words)
Many
errors in
formattin
g
present,
word
count
violated
significan
tly (> 200
words)
No
apparent
attempt to
employ APA
Style
12
Scattere
d
misspelli
ngs or
word
usage
errors
Numerou
s
misspelli
ngs or
word
usage
errors
An
embarrassm
ent
12
Add 4 points
90
Total Points (100 possible)
94
ORGL 63CS Capstone Essay Grading Rubric
Name of Submitter: Jessica Agnew
Name of Reviewer: Nathaniel Vallejo
12
Fully
developed
10
Mostly
developed
8
Partially
developed
4
Touched
upon
0
Ignored
Fully
developed
Mostly
developed
Partially
developed
Touched
upon
Ignored
Fully
developed
Mostly
developed
Partially
developed
Touched
upon
Ignored
Fully
developed
and well
supported
Adequately
developed or
marginally
supported
Partially
developed or
marginally
supported
Minimally
developed or
supported
Ignored
Identification of
the expected
outcome after
addressing
competency 1
Rationale
for expected
outcome
supported
very well
Rationale for
expected
outcome
supported well
Rationale for
expected
outcome
touched
upon
Rationale for
expected
outcome
tenuous at
best
Ignored
The “match”
between the
chosen
competency and
the organization’s
pressing issue
APA formatting
The two
matched
perfectly
The two
matched well
The two
matched
somewhat
The two
matched a
little
The competency
and issue were
totally
unmatched
APA Style
fully
adhered to;
word count
adhered to
Occasional
errors in
formatting
present, word
count violated
slightly (< 100
words)
Rare
misspellings or
word usage
errors.
Many errors
in formatting
present,
word count
violated
significantly
(> 200
words)
Numerous
misspellings
or word
usage errors
No apparent
attempt to
employ APA
Style
No
syntactical
errors
Errors in
formatting
present,
word count
violated
moderately
(100-200
words)
Scattered
misspellings
or word
usage errors
Introduction of
the organization
under
consideration
Identification of
the ‘pressing
issue’ facing the
organization
Identification of
and rationale for
the chosen area of
competency
Specific
recommendation
in the chosen area
of competency
Syntax
Total
An
embarrassment
Add 4 points
Total Points (100 possible)
100

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