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Leadership in Crisis: Ernest Shackleton and the Epic Voyage of the Endurance

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1. In what context should the Endurance expedition be analyzed? As a scientific endeavor? An entrepreneurial venture? An exercise in imperial opportunity? By what criteria should the expedition be evaluated? Given your answer to the preceding question, was it a success or a failure?

The Endurance expedition should be analyzed as an entrepreneurial venture. Schackleton acted like an entrepreneur, and spent a great amount of time to raise the necessary funding for his expedition. Not only, he used his family connections to reach out for Britain wealthiest people, but sent them a personal letter along with a copy of the expedition prospectus.

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He managed to secure the needed £51,000 for the expedition. Eventually, he took a huge financial risk to accomplish his dream. He continuously adapted himself and his crew to changing ice/weather conditions just likes a business entrepreneur to changing market, or introducing a new product. His expedition did not accomplish its original mission, but as a leader, he succeeded and was able to get back his crew to Britain.

2. A managerial scholar has defined entrepreneurship as the “relentless Pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.” Using this definition, evaluate Shackleton’s actions on the Endurance expedition. Was Shackleton an entrepreneur?

I believe Shackleton could have defined entrepreneurship as the “relentless Pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled” as well, and he definitely was an entrepreneur. He faced with same problems as today`s entrepreneurs do such as, hiring, morale, raising money, profitability. He pursued opportunity and did it with as much resources as he had. In addition, the time for a polar expedition was not the best. Two weeks before the expedition starting date, the WWI had just broken out in Europe. He definitely had a hard time hiring crewmembers, sled dog trainers, or raise money for polar expedition in wartime. Which meant, he had to figure out everything by himself. Unquestionably, he had huge risk tolerance.

3. What parallels do you see between Shackleton and other entrepreneurs or leaders whom you have studied? What were Shackleton’s strengths and
weaknesses?

I believe that Steve Job`s determination and ability to see the “big picture” parallels well with Shackleton`s.

Strengths

Shackleton`s strength were his determination not to give up, the ability to promote optimism — he kept his crew`s spirit up to five months on Elephant Island, put his men first – crossing the Antarctica was his main objective, but the fundamental was to ensure that the crew survived, and flexibility – he had a flexibility to adapt to changes beyond his control in fast changing and hostile environment.

Weaknesses

Hardheadedness were some of his weakness. For example, he did not want to take the local whalers advice into consideration when they advised him to postpone his expedition to South Georgia Island due to ice floes and heavy wind.

4. Why are people today so interested in Ernest Shackleton? Since the mid-to-late 1990s, why have there been so many books (business/general interest), movies, exhibits, and other projects about Shackleton?

People today are interested in Shackleton, because this is a very inspiring and true adventure story. Since the mid-to-late 1990s, the business environment, especially the high-tech industry, changes as fast as the weather conditions in Antarctica. Furthermore, businesses seem to have limited resources just like Shackleton had back in the days. Business leaders can use the story as a leadership and managing resources template, or motivate employees in difficult times.

Reference:

Koehn, N. F. (2010). Leadership in Crisis: Ernest Shackleton and the Epic Voyage of the Endurance. Harvard Business School.

Cite this Leadership in Crisis: Ernest Shackleton and the Epic Voyage of the Endurance

Leadership in Crisis: Ernest Shackleton and the Epic Voyage of the Endurance. (2016, Nov 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/leadership-in-crisis-ernest-shackleton-and-the-epic-voyage-of-the-endurance/

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