James F. Albaugh The Boeing's Innovator

James F. Albaugh’s Transformational Leadership Style

The Boeing Company is a leader and innovator in the aerospace and aeronautic industries (Sterling, 2007). James F. Albaugh was the Boeing’s CEO of the Integrated Systems Department, the president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Executive Vice President of the Boeing Company during the most important period of launching and promoting new design products (Daft & Lane, 2008). Albaugh has finished serving as an Executive Vice President of the Boeing Company on the 1st of October 2012 and celebrated his 34 years of committed work at the innovative and successful company (Bloomberg Businessweek, 2012). Albaugh holds Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics and Master’s degree in civil engineering (Daft & Lane, 2008). The leader saw new approach of communication through external and internal blogs, which are the main options of the company’s success (Daft & Lane, 2008).

The Boeing Company can be assessed as a customer-oriented enterprise that is focused on innovation, design and craftsmanship of its staff (Sterling, 2007). James F. Albaugh’s leadership style was a combination of the management and leadership, because he modeled the company’s leadership attributes, measured by combinations of goals, which were focused on the accomplishment of profit margins (Daft & Lane, 2008). The following facts prove the abovementioned statement: a) On July 2012 the Boeing reported net income of $ 967 million; b) The Boeing gained first position in the aeronautical studies due to its creative and innovative approach to the aircrafts’ and spacecrafts’ maintenance, modifications and designs (Evans, 2008).

 Since the main value of the Boeing company is to create an atmosphere that gives all employees the chance to make difference, Albaugh’s main tasks were the following: a) establishment of the direction, which was focused on the growth of 700 Boeing family airplanes and launching of Boeing 787 Dreamliner; b) setting of high expectations and inspiration of others, which were focused on designing of the supersonic aircrafts in the state-of-art facilities in co-operation with other entities around the world; c) respecting of the Boeing’s values, which were focused on the reducing of costs and avoiding of the spreading of the commercial and economic risks, that were associated with the design and manufacturing of these aircrafts; d) delivering results, which were focused on the development of modifications for the 700 family materials, such as new electrical system for fanjets and rocket engines, which would enable the aircraft to fly at the high subsonic speed (Pelletier, 2010; Sterling, 2007).

These attributes equals to the goals of transformational leader that creates a vision, aligns people, motivates and inspires them and produces changes (Sterling, 2007; Northouse, 2010). Therefore, Albaugh could serve as a role model to stimulate the followers to think about existing methods in new ways (Hughes & Beatty, 2005). Thereby, his strategic leadership helped him to gain success inside and outside of the corporation.

James F. Albaugh – a Leader and an Engineer of the Year 2012

Albaugh participated in the manufacturing and launching of two new jetliners, which are the 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 Intercontinental (Drexel University, 2012). The Dreamliner is called the first airplane in the 21st century that features the innovative use of composite materials and fuel-efficient engines (Pelletier, 2010). In order to finish the final assembly of 747-8 Intercontinental, Albaugh had to make sufficient impact on the technology and engineering of the project, using his coordinated management behavior, effective team’s coaching and essential strategies of transformational leader (Daft & Lane, 2008). The Boeing Company is known for outsourcing of its manufacturing business that made its supply chain globally dispersed (Pelletier, 2010). When the company faced delay of the products’ delivery, owing to their partners’ manufacturing irresponsibility, Albaugh had to focus on bringing the site’s business systems and manufacturing process into the line with the rest of the company (Pelletier, 2010). The attributes of his corporate leadership helped him to regain control over the company agenda and motivate his subordinates to continue with manufacturing the airplane on the existing Charleston Plants (Pelletier, 2010; Sterling, 2007).

Albaugh’s individual cultivation of knowledge and business helped him to encourage close connection between goals and rewards as motivation for the workers to provide better performance (Daft & Lane, 2008). Therefore, he had to perform the character of transactional leader, in order to combine attributes of the transformational leader and define managerial importance in the company’s technological development and proficient performance (Daft & Lane, 2008).

Albaugh’s persistence, education and management behavior helped him to become the president of the Boeing Company in 1996 (Drexel University, 2012). In 2012 Drexel University’s College of Engineering selected Albaugh as a Leader of the Year for his engineering and managerial innovations and achievements (Drexel University, 2012).

Albaugh’s quality of organizational strategy and excellent management activities helped to create favorable environment for innovative development of the committed workforce of team members (Sterling, 2007).

Gender Conception and Workplace Culture Effect on Albaugh’ Success

Scholars assume gender as important element of the comprehensive understanding of the leadership (Northouse, 2010). Gender determines contemporary notions of effective leadership styles that have moved from traditional autocratic style to more democratic (transformational) leadership (Northouse, 2010). Autocratic style is based solely on effective managerial activities and creates order and consistency in maintaining status quo (Daft & Lane, 2008). This style does not take into account long-term goals and does not compromise human values and principles (Daft & Lane, 2008). Transformational leadership was effective when the Boeing’s employees went on strike and the company’s management had to redesign job and align internal structures and systems to make them meaningful and challenging (Daft & Lane, 2008; Pelletier, 2010). Regardless the fact that female employees prefer supportive leadership and male-directive leadership, Albaugh shifted emphasis from controlling the organization to constantly regenerating motivations to work and stay organized (Sterling, 2007). Therefore, it is fair to say that gender did not fully impact on Albaugh’s success, because autocratic style would not have helped Boeing’s organizational evolution when it faced threat of decline (Pelletier, 2010). The company was in demand of creating new vision, recruiting commitment to it and changing the organizational culture (Daft & Lane, 2008).

Workplace culture requires compliance to the established values, concepts and systems (Hughes & Beatty, 2005). The Boeing’s workforce is organized and coordinated on the ground of the Boeing Leadership Model (Sterling, 2007). This model is a value that holds leaders accountable for their performance and determines efficiency of the concept “Leaders Teaching Leaders” (Sterling, 2007). The concept offers greater incentives across all the departments to encourage collaborative work within technical teams (Hughes & Betty, 2005). Albaugh possessed attributes of the business leader, technical coordinator and commands of the Boeing Leadership Center (BLC) (Daft & Lane, 2008; Sterling, 2007). As a CEO, he offered core leadership development and functional excellence programs that were constantly reviewed and updated (Sterling, 2007). As a system, BLC enables its subordinates to create kitting strategies and project work transfers (Daft & Lane, 2008).

Therefore, James F. Albaugh took personal ownership of the leadership attributes, although his managerial activities depended on the workplace environment (Daft & Lane, 2008; Hughes & Betty, 2005). However, Albaugh’s main task was to bring together members and suppliers of the Boeing’s aircraft projects and embrace Boeing’s strategic decision (Sterling, 2007). His engineering and managerial skills helped him cultivate knowledge more effectively and share it on the group level, in order to convert ideas into the marketable products (Daft & Lane, 2008). Albaugh’s innovative approach to the design of the product and its implementation helped him to gain awards, owing to his technical and business knowledge (Drexel University, 2012). Regardless the fact, that Albaugh finished serving as an Executive Vice President of the Boeing Company in 2012, his extensive experience in manufacturing and development of the innovative design, helped him to make a prominent mark in the company’s success and achievements (Bloomberg Businessweek, 2012). 

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