Alan Mulally Role In Ford Motor Company

Table of Content

The definition of leadership is often described as the act of establishing a clear vision, effectively communicating this vision to others, and resolving conflicts among individuals responsible for fulfilling the company’s vision (Kelly, 2009). The most successful leaders are able to efficiently coordinate and engage all members of the company in order to achieve desired goals and objectives. Given the ever-evolving desires and needs of consumers, leaders must establish robust organizational cultures to ensure continued growth and progress for companies.

Hellriegel & Slocum (2011) state that Alan Mulally’s leadership has led Ford to make strategic moves during the economic recession. According to Ferrell, Hirt & Ferrell (2009), an effective leader is task-relevant and succeeds by adapting their leadership style to the individuals or groups they are leading or influencing. Understanding the internal operations of a company allows a leader to swiftly and effectively adjust their leadership approach to address specific individual or group situations.

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According to Ferrell, Hirt & Ferrell (2009), leadership is seen as the crucial connection between organizational effectiveness and individual performance within an organization. Effective leadership behaviors are believed to enhance performance in the face of various challenges such as innovation-oriented competition, price and performance rivalry, diminishing returns, and market volatility. In this context, this paper aims to discuss Mulally’s leadership style at Ford Motor Company and illustrate how his actions align with this particular style.

Mulally’s leadership style, focused on delivering results, has proven to be highly effective for Ford Motor Company. His emphasis on two-way communication has played a crucial role in the company’s achievements. Mulally consistently ensures that he communicates his objectives not only to top executives but to all employees. Effective leadership involves motivating a group of individuals towards a shared objective, a principle that Mulally acknowledges and regards communication as a fundamental component of the company’s success.

Mulally engaged various individuals including employees, analysts, consultants, and production managers. He perceived it essential for all members of his team to attend meetings in order to possess full knowledge, thereby enabling the success of Ford Motor. Despite lacking prior experience in the automotive sector upon joining Ford, he skillfully executed substantial restructuring efforts, rescuing the company from the financial crisis. Upon his arrival, Mulally inquired about an unavailable product and attentively listened to the reasoning behind its unavailability from senior executives.

Ford’s CEO implemented a plan to prioritize the improvement of its namesake brand and utilize its global reach to manufacture cars for the international market. This strategy, known as “One Ford,” emphasized collaboration among executives, acknowledging the current circumstances, and creating models that would genuinely appeal to consumers. Mulally, being a team player, attributes Ford’s impressive advancements to his colleagues’ efforts.

In the modern business environment, it is not possible for individual leaders to effectively manage global companies alone. Nonetheless, the vision and determination of a single leader can initiate a successful turnaround. This discussion focuses on how Ford improved its performance through goal setting. According to Hellriegel & Slocum (2011), goals are desired future outcomes that individuals and groups strive to achieve. Goal setting theory serves as a motivational tool that provides employees with a sense of purpose, challenge, and significance in their work, as well as a feeling of fulfillment.

The Ford Motor Company has utilized effective goal setting for years to drive performance (Kelly, 2009). Goals serve to focus attention on specific activities while diverting it from irrelevant ones. Establishing goals and direction for a company is closely tied to its corporate vision. A corporate vision is a concise, inspiring statement that outlines what the organization aims to achieve in the future, often expressed in competitive terms. Before embarking on the journey to reach these goals, a business must visualize its aspirations without specifying the strategies to be employed. The Ford Motor Company envisions becoming the top consumer company for automotive products and services. Under the leadership of CEO Alan Mulally, Ford has successfully weathered recent economic crisis by setting goals and promoting behaviors among its employees. To evaluate Mulally’s communication openness, including aspects such as message transmission, trust, agendas, and goals.

In business, effective communication is crucial for closing deals and conveying messages to others. It is widely recognized that communication is a key skill for leaders. According to Kelly (2009), Mulally excels at communication by using a down-to-earth tone and articulating his business and plan clearly. Trust and belief in a manager’s good intentions for the company and employees are essential for employees.

Employees will be more motivated to achieve both organizational and individual goals if they believe that management is prioritizing their well-being. The leadership styles within an organization significantly influence its culture and how employees behave. According to Hellriegel & Slocum (2010), Mulally’s leadership approach is characterized by relationship-oriented behavior. This approach involves engaging in effective two-way communication, actively listening, motivating, involving followers in decision-making processes, and providing emotional support.

Mulally emphasized the importance of two-way communication within the organization by effectively communicating with all employees, not just upper-level executives. This communication included providing information about what, when, and how the company would move forward. The effectiveness of Mulally’s leadership style should be evaluated, and a recommendation should be made regarding whether he should continue with this style or adopt a different one. Mulally’s leadership style focuses on consistency of purpose, transparency, and collaboration in the management culture at Ford. He abolished calendar-based rotations of executives, allowing them sufficient time to prove themselves in their current roles. Mulally also implemented weekly update meetings where managers are encouraged to openly share their ideas and challenges, promoting problem-solving before issues escalate. To ensure accountability, Mulally established clear systems that track progress using color-coding: green for on-target initiatives, yellow for questionable ones, and red for problematic areas. These charts are displayed in conference rooms and updated regularly to keep everyone informed about status changes.

Alan Mulally’s leadership has played a key role in Ford’s success and prominence in the automotive industry, even during difficult economic times. Throughout his tenure, Ford has prioritized innovation and introduced energy-efficient and technologically advanced vehicles. Mulally’s leadership approach involves actively seeking input from team members when making decisions and actively addressing and resolving issues by closely collaborating with managers and employees.

Since this leadership style has proven to be highly successful at Ford Motor Company, I would not recommend a different style for Mulally. In conclusion, a leader’s style can either make a business successful or cause it to fail. Under Alan Mulally’s leadership, Ford not only avoided bankruptcy and a federal bailout, but also became the world’s most profitable automaker. Trustworthiness and accountability are the most important qualities of an effective and ethical leader, values that Mr. Mullaly has instilled throughout the organization since he assumed control.


The text includes references and citations for various sources. It mentions two books, “Business: A changing world: 2009 custom edition” by Ferrell, O. C., Hirt, G., and Ferrell, L., and “Organizational behavior: 2011 custom edition” by Hellriegel, D. and Slocum, J. W. Jr. It also includes a citation for an article called “A Leader When Detroit Needs One” by Kelly, K. M. from the Automotive Design & Production journal, volume 121, issue 5, page 40, retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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Alan Mulally Role In Ford Motor Company. (2017, Feb 18). Retrieved from

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