The Leadership of Walt Disney

2337 words 10 pages
Biographical Study
The Leadership of Walt Disney
This biographical study attempts to demonstrate the ways in which Walt Disney’s leadership influenced his followers through his method of leadership and the extent to which his followers influenced his leadership style. This will be demonstrated with reference to relevant leadership theories, whereby section I shall relate the leadership style of Walt Disney with reference to ‘Transformational Leadership’, and more specifically: ‘Idealised Influence’, ‘Inspirational Motivation’, ‘Intellectual Stimulation’ and ‘Individualised Consideration’. Section II considers ‘Path-Goal Theory’ and section III ‘Contingency Theory’. Section IV deals with ‘Team Leadership’ with reference to
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127), all of which he was described by peers as “expecting the best and not relenting until he got it” (Kirkpatrick and Locke 1991, p.51). When Walt opened the gates of Disneyland he was wont to ‘walk the front’, that is, interact with guests and members, observe and gather firsthand information to diagnose problems and determine improvements for operational efficiency (Taylor and Wheatley-Lovoy 1998). Therefore, it seems evident that this leadership behaviour not only motivates subordinates towards goal productivity but gives them a sense of equality.
III. Contingency Theory
Although his motivation style was considerably task oriented, he was renowned for his strong relationships with others. Illustrative of this, and with reference to extant theory, ‘Contingency Theory’ is a method allocated by academics to differentiate whether a leader is ‘task’ or ‘relationship’ motivated (see ‘Least Preferred Co-worker’ (LPC) Fiedler 1967 in Northouse 2010). Aforementioned, Walt Disney’s leadership style (with a middle LPC score) is considerably relationship motivated with a large proportion of his attention directed toward the correct execution of task management (Kirkpatrick and Locke 1991). With this in mind, the contingency model for Disney illustrates a strong orientation to his position power, to positive agent and subordinate relationships and, an overall, high demonstration of


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