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The Best Suited Leadership Style For Pepsi

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Critically Evaluate the Most Important Leadership skills and Competencies.



The case study present that director, Jorge Rubio wants to change the structure of Pepsi to a flexible organizational structure. There are various leadership models and styles that Pepsi can consider (Pears & Shields, 2013). Few of these leadership includes transformational leadership, charismatic leadership, servant leadership etc. The objective of this report is to discuss the case study and discuss the best suited leadership style for Pepsi. The paper would also discuss the skills and competencies required by Pepsi. The shift to new organizational structure would not be easy and there would certain challenges. One of the key challenges for Pepsi would be change management challenges. The paper would also discuss the various issues that the management of Pepsi should consider. Based on these issues, the paper would discuss some of the recommendations for Pepsi. It is important to mention that change should be manage in an effective manner (Roe,2014). The focus on transformational leadership and servant leadership would enable Pepsi to achieve its goals and objectives. The case study presents that the current office of PepsiCo, Mexico lacks standardization. The future or the targeted stage of PepsiCo requires that the employees should be more independent in their working.

Analysis: Modern theories of leaders

The key theories of leadership for this case scenario can be discussed as:

Transformational leadership style – (Need to add more references and depth required)

A transformational leadership style includes the focus on vision and transformation from the current state to future state to achieve the mission and vision. While other types of leadership, particularly transformational leadership, can help others succeed and grow, it is only in servant leadership that the leader’s primary focus is the followers (Riggio & Reichard, 2008). In the business world, transformational leadership is a model in which the goal of the leader is to inspire and transform the business into a successful enterprise by inspiring people around the leader (Bjugstad & Thach, 2006). The transformational leader is ethical, morale, and acts in the best interest of his environment, business and coworkers. These principles can be found on other cultures and religions and can be applied to the business world (Boies & Fiset, 2015).

In an organizational setting, a transformational leader is one who can visualize the end objectives of the organization. It is critical that the leader should have the ability to communicate the long term vision of the organization to different stakeholders (Schreyogg, G. and Sydow, 2010). The focus of transformational leadership is to transform the existing state of organization. Therefore, it can be said that change management is a critical part of transformational leadership. Often leaders will find it difficult to manage the change in the organization. However, transformational leadership will start the change process by communicating the drivers of change to all the employees. It ensures that all the people are united on the change front (Avalio & Walumba, 2009). Transformational leadership would generally have a plan in place to manage the short term and long term objectives of firms. Transformational leadership also have the ability to motivate people and inspire them to achieve desired goals and objectives.


Servant & Charismatic leadership – (Need to add more references and depth required)

Servant Leadership is a style of leadership that depends on interpersonal abilities plus authentic and or trained supportive behaviours to lead others to become followers (Day & Antonakis, 2012). For example, individuals will come in droves due to their leaders’ ability to engage with them with compassion, empathy, respect and so forth. Additionally, Greenleaf’s assertions are central to this model, thus servant leadership successful development. These core elements for servant leadership development are as following; awareness, empathy, commitment (development), community (building and development), conceptualization, foresight, healing, listening, persuasion, and stewardship, (Northouse, P. G., 2015 p. 227). This servant leadership model is very complex but very effective if engaged in every level. On that note, there are supportive behaviors for any given scenario, that allow servant leadership to overcome mild to difficult situations in any environment. Lastly, all individuals have needs due to this imperfect world pulling them in all different directions whether at home or work, which calls for authentic leaders that have a vocation more than those that are trained to be leaders (Daft, 2011).    

Based on above discussion it can be said that PepsiCo must focus to have servant leaders in place. Servant leadership can be considered a long term transformational approach to both life and work (Daft & Marcic, 2012). Because servant leadership is a commitment in both life and work, this model can be considered a vocation. Not everyone will have the desire or drive to become a servant leader. A servant leader connects with their staff and fosters a sense of a team approach. Listening and communication build trust.

The servant leaders are followers fist. The servant leaders want to lead by example. This style of leadership places efficiencies on developing commitment levels from others by authentic motivation (Avalio & Walumba, 2009). Overall, a model servant leader can be viewed as authentic, humble, listener, kind, and so forth. As mentioned they are more concern with others than themselves. A servant leader is one who is able to generate the trust and respect among different stakeholders. In fact, trust and respect are two critical traits of servant leaders. Generally, servant leaders have a different aura in them that helps them to have healthy relationship with employees (Liden, Wayne, Liao & Meuser, 2014). The servant leaders have a charismatic personality that helps them to create good impressions in the minds of followers.


Skills and Competencies of leaders

To perform management functions and assume multiple roles, managers must be skilled. Robert Katz identified three managerial skills essential to successful management: technical, human, and conceptual (Trevis & Certo, 2014). These skills can be briefly explained as:

  • Technical: It includes the focus on process and technology or knowledge of business and industry knowledge (Zaleznik, 1992).
  • Human: It means the capabilities to manage the people (Vroom & Jago, 2007).
  • Conceptual: Top level managers need conceptual skills that let them view the organization. The specific skills under this include the ability of planning and organizing (Shamir, 1999).

            The two key skills that PepsiCo must focus on would be human and conceptual. The conceptual model demands that organizations should focus on building leaders and not managers. There are remarkable differences between being a leader and being a manager. In the Bible, Peter, the apostle gave a good description of a leader when it is written, “feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint but willingly…by being ensamples to the flock.” The four functions of management were initially articulated by Fayol in 1916 (Northouse, 2016). He identified them as planning, organizing, staffing, and controlling. In more recent publications, the staffing function is more commonly referred to as leading. In the article 4 Differences between managers and readers, Plucknette suggests differences between being a leader and a manger includes characteristics on how a leader and a manager interact. Motive and drive production (Plucknette, 2014).  I do think it is both possible and desirable to be a leader and a manger.  I agree with what Plucknette says about how a manger/leader has expectation for their employees while also modeling behaviors he expects to see which can result in eliminating employees not performing (Plucknette, pg. 18).  While being a leader/manger may not be desirable to all, which is why it is rare to have such a leader of people (Plucknette, 2014).

The focus on human needs for PepsiCo would mean the focus on human or employee needs. When people consider that servant leadership is based on values and virtues, it is easy to see from there how servant leadership can be viewed as a vocation, as many who live values-based lifestyles see their lifestyles as a “calling” “…he is primus inter pares from Latin, meaning "first among equals." The servant leader sees those he leads as peers to teach as well as to learn from; they are willing to lead others to reach an agreed upon goal, but he doesn't believe that being the leader makes him better than others (Bennis, 2007). Virtue-based servant leadership is intended to stem from an individual’s world-view and how they live their life in general, if they do not believe the concepts and live the principles, then they are not truly practicing servant leadership.


The ultimate question for PepsiCp is why should one practice servant leadership? The values of servant leadership lean heavily toward human consideration and morality (Whetstone, 2005). Without having a sound, unified worldview that justifies use of servant leadership; one falls prey to the reality that, ultimately, the reason is either utilitarian/pragmatic or situational.” (Wallace, 2007) If a leader views people merely as a means to an end, and utilizes aspects of servant leadership simply because they believe it will gain them some personal advantage by causing people to work harder to achieve a goal, then the basis of the theory itself is being undermined. A situation of this nature could very easily unravel as those in the followership position may react negatively if/when any disingenuous motivations/sentiments are discovered. It can leave followers with a myriad of negative emotional and psychological consequences (Schreyogg & Sydow, 2010). “If we take a purely situational approach, stating servant leadership can only work in certain settings and contexts, we again undermine some of the key values described in the theory. In the situational approach, humans are only to be valued if their culture or personal beliefs align with the theory. Pragmatism and situational ethics both fail as reasons for practicing servant leadership.” (Wallace, 2007) For the situational leader, servant leadership may be viewed as a tactic or a tool, but they need to tread lightly, as mistaking servant leadership for a means of manipulation could be a very detrimental error (Zaccaro, 2007).


Other issues to consider

Leadership takes the ability to guide and influence others.  Important characteristics of an effective leader are sharp perception skills, responsiveness to other’s needs, organizational skills, good communicator, the ability to motivate your team, and be good at setting goals (Northouse, 2016). This can be challenging for most; therefore leadership isn’t for everyone.  It takes a special talent. Servant leadership in my opinion being a servant leader is a mind state.  It’s one’s philosophical beliefs based on their ideology as leader. Both can parallel based on the leaders personality traits (Northouse, 2016). A servant leader will lead by example.  In order for an effective servant leader to maintain a certain level of respect from their subordinates, you must be fair and equitable. Being a servant leader takes keen skills that are unique in nature.  It can be challenging, but it's well worth it when your team is happy with you as a leader (Northouse, 2016). Servant leadership is driven by a genuine desire to provide good and fair leadership.  In order to do so, one must be honest and trustworthy (Northouse, 2016). One of the key issues for PepsiCo would be change management issue.


The above paper discusses the case study of PepsiCo. With the above discussion, it can be said that servant leadership is the most important leadership style for the organization. A leader will knowingly or subconsciously, use a style of leadership to lead a team of people but it is imperative to take note of the various leadership styles and adopt one that can help   him/ her to operate efficiently (Bass, 1990). Servant leaders selflessly strives to meet the needs of those they are serving. The leader believes in increased moral courage to help others (Caproni, 2012). A vocation/calling is a person’s life purpose on earth.  A servant leader believes that it is his/her calling to treat others with dignity. They do not let their positional ego influence their behavior, but their ultimate focus is to serve others.



Avolio, B.J., Walumba, f.O. and Weber, T.J. (2009) ‘Leadership: Current Theories, research, and Future Directions’, Annual review of Psychology, 60, pp. 421-449.

Bass, B. M. (1990) 'From Transactional to Transformational Leadership: learning to share the vision', Organizational Dynamics, 18(3), Winter, pp. 19-31.

Bennis, W. (2007) 'The Challenges of Leadership in the Modern World', American Psychologist, 62(1), pp. 2-5.

Bjugstad, K., Thach, E. C., Thompson, K. J. and Morris, A. (2006) 'A Fresh Look at Followership: a model for matching followership and leadership styles':

Boies, K., Fiset, J. and Gill. (2015) ‘Communication and trust are key: Unlocking the relationship between leadership and team performance and creativity’, The Leadership Quarterly. Dec. 26(6) pp. 1080-1094

Caproni, P.J. (2012) Management Skills for Everyday Life. 3rd edn. New Jersey: Pearson Education.

Certo, S.C. and Trevis Certo, S.  (2014) Modern Management: Concepts and Skills.  13th edn. International Edition. Harlow: Pearson.

Daft R. L. (2011) Leadership. 5th edn. – International Edition, London: South-Western Cengage Learning

Daft, R.L. and Marcic, D. (2014) Building Management Skills. International Edition. London: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Day, D. V. and Antonakis, J. (Eds.) (2012) The Nature of Leadership. 2nd edn. London: Sage

Northouse, P. 2016.  Leadership:  Theory and Practice. 7th ED. Thousand Oakes, CA. Sage Productions

Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2013) Cite Them Right. 9th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Parry, K. and Jackson, B. (2011) A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about studying leadership. 2nd edn. London: Sage.

Liden, R.C., Wayne, S.J., Liao, C. and Meuser, J.D., 2014. Servant leadership and serving culture: Influence on individual and unit performance. Academy of Management Journal, 57(5), pp.1434-1452.

Roe, K. (2014) Leadership: Practice and Perspectives. Gosport: Oxford University Press 

Riggio, R.E., Reichard, R.J. (2008) ‘The emotional and social intelligences of effective leadership: An emotional and social skill approach’, Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23(2), pp. 169–185

Schreyogg, G. and Sydow, J. (2010) ‘Crossroads: Organizing for Fluidity? Dilemmas of New Organizational Forms’, Organization Science, 21(6), November–December, pp. 1251–1262

Shamir, B. (1999) ‘Leadership in Boundaryless Organizations: Disposable or Indispensable?’, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 8(1), pp. 49-71.

Whetten, D.A. and Cameron, K.S. (2011). Developing Management Skills. 8th edn.  New Jersey: Pearson Education.

Wallace, J. 2007. Servant Leadership: A Worldview Perspective. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 2(2). Retrieved from

Vroom, V.H. and Jago, A. G. (2007) 'The Role of the Situation in Leadership', American Psychologist, 62(1), pp. 17-24.

Zaccaro, S. J. (2007) 'Trait-based Perspectives of Leadership', American Psychologist, 62(1), pp. 6-16.

Zaleznik, A. (1992) 'Managers and Leaders:  Are they different?', Harvard Business Review, March-April, pp. 126-135.


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