Management and leadership within nike

Management and leadership within nike
Background of Nike

Nike is an international company dealing with a range of sports equipment such as shoes, shirts, t-shirts and Jerseys for various sporting activities including, football, athletics, basketball, cricket, tennis, skateboarding and golf. Nike is a premium company that sells well branded and expensive products that are known for their superior quality. Nike is well known for the trademark ‘just do it’ and it relates to the sporting spirit. This company has more than 500 factories in over 45 countries that are contracted to manufacture these products. With this extended production capacity, there is need for an elaborate management and leadership within the organization so that it realizes its goals and objectives. The company has adopted a marketing strategy whereby, it sponsors well known players in various sporting fields such as Ronaldinho, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong among others.

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Difference between Management and Leadership

Leaders and managers usually have vital roles within an organization that are paramount to its success. The two groups however, have unique responsibilities within Nike that are considered to be the backbone of the company and utmost necessity in creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture within Nike. Leaders provide the company with some sense of direction in terms of defining the mission and vision to be focused on by Nike while leaders provide the company with the technical maintenance that will keep it business and increase in profitability. Managers are the main people within an organization that look specifically at the individual’s performance at moment while leaders look at a team and their future prospects (Maund, 2001).

Managers within Nike do the planning for most of the sectors such as financial, marketing of products, policy formulation, and control of the major assets. They also exercise their power on any issue arising such as the decision making processes. In addition, they build industry standards for the company products, set systems running and document procedures that guides both the leaders and managers within the company. The leaders in Nike are responsible for building the large workforce and human resources within the company. They build teams and develop the necessary talents that are seriously needed by the organization to perform their duties. These leaders also inspire, mentor, set examples, innovate and revolutionize all the employees within the company in order to achieve the best from them.

Roles of Managers and Leaders within Nike

Managers and leaders within Nike are the main movers that the organization depends on in order to create and maintain a healthy organizational culture within the company. These roles cut across the board to include all the sectors in the company.

1. Set goals and objectives for Nike

This is the core role of both leaders and managers in an organization. The objectives and the goals of the company should provide and insight to what the company is up to. Within Nike in this case, the main objective is to become a leading sport equipment manufacturer in the world and to maintain this standard in the future. It is the leaders and managers that ensure that Nike Company aims towards this objective.

2. Monitor the company’s progress

This includes its performance in the market in terms of current rating compared to other companies. Where there is any negative progress, they provide guidance and direction and if there is an improvement it passes the information to the other employees and congratulate them for a job well done.

3. Making investments

They are responsible for making investments for the Nike Company by globalizing the products of the company. Such investments include building factories, training of the personnel on production procedures and to report the progress of the company to all the stakeholders of the company.

4. Communicate issues

Leaders and mangers communicate what they consider important to all the other employees within the Nike Company. Communication is the ideal tool for making sure that the company creates and maintains a healthy organizational culture within it. Communication can be in the form of giving instructions on how work shall be done within the company or reading out the financial progress of the company over a certain period of time.

5. Provide new ideas

With stiff competition from other companies, Nike is under pressure to come up with more improved products. The managers and leaders are expected to work in collaboration with the designers in Nike to come up with competitive designs of shoes, t-shirts, jerseys and balls. Provision of new ideas is therefore the responsibility of those in authority in the company and diverge this information to other employees.

6. Formulation of policies

Policies are the main movers of a company in terms of the strategic tackling of important issues. Policies range from legal restrictions, trade tariffs, industry standards, competitors advantage and company regulations.

7. Accountability and discipline

Every member of Nike is accountable for the actions they do that affect the organization. The management and leadership of Nike is therefore responsible for disciplining errant members of the community who go against the wishes of the company.

8. Others

Other roles for leaders and managers that are needed in creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture within Nike are;

Deployment of staff at various levels
Negotiate pricing for the company’s products and seek for favorable market elsewhere
Ensure that human rights, work ethics and safety measures are upheld within the company so that a conducive environment for working is created. Incidences such as workplace harassment are dealt with according to the company’s regulations and laws.
Four Functions of Management

The four  functions of management that are important in creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture within Nike are namely; planning, organizing, leading and controlling. All these functions of management centre on the application of leadership and managerial knowledge required in the development of Nike. [1]


1. Planning

This is the process of developing the company’s mission and defining specific methods of accomplishing it. It can be on a broader or narrow perspective depending on the scope of the goal. Planning comes in a number of ways since all sectors in the Nike company or rather any other business require some form of planning in order to stick to what has been planned.  First, there is financial planning which entails the budgeting allocations for all the programs being undertaken within the company. Sponsorship is part of financial planning in that money is needed each year to cater for the teams and individual players being sponsored by this company. It also includes the setting and monitoring the financial spending of the Nike Company in view of auditing any misappropriation of funds. Provision of benefits, compensations and salaries are also taken care of at this stage.

Another section of the company that needs planning is the policy formulation section. This is critical in that as a profit making company, strategies must be placed correctly to counter marketing issues such as competition from companies which manufacture the same product e.g. Reebok and Adidas and the production of counterfeit products which affects the company’s reputation. Local policy development, creation and implementation come hand in hand with policy planning. Human resource planning is crucial to achieving the best from employees.  Planning its recruitment, hiring, evaluating, training and maintaining the caliber of the workers in Nike is important ensuring that skilled workers are employed in the company. [2]

2. Organizing

Organizing is how the internal structure of the company is set. It generally focuses on the division, coordination of activities and how tasks are controlled within the company.

General company procedure demand good organization from the leaders and managers. At Nike for example the management is responsible for organizing the annual general meetings that brings together all the stakeholders on board. They also organize daily and monthly meetings within the specific affiliate factories when an issue arises. Proper organization of a meeting or how a project will be conducted results in a successful meeting.

3. Leading

Leadership is also described as directing people to do specific duties by influencing their personal behavior through incentives and motivation, teamwork, individual dynamics and discipline. The core purpose of leadership is to channel all the employees’ behavior towards attaining the company’s objectives. Leadership is thus essential in creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture within Nike. Leading does not necessarily come from that in power but from any individual who provides information and suggestions on the way forward. Decision making within Nike rests on the shoulders of the managers and leaders in the company who usually take risks whenever an issue that requires to be addressed arises

4. Controlling

Controlling is a sequential process that considers the establishment of performance standards that are in line with the company’s goals and objectives[3]. It deals with the measurement, monitoring and reporting the actual performance level of the company and finally recommend the necessary actions that should be taken on board to rectify any misconception. For any company to achieve its best properly instituted control measures should be put in place in order to have thing done the way it is suppose to. At Nike,

Leaders and managers control almost every aspect of the company’s production, marketing and sales sectors. There are specific supervisors who are strictly based in the factory to ensure that design rules are adhered to while the products are being manufactured. [4]

Recommended Strategies

Strategies are considered to bottom-up approaches where the junior members of the Nike Company submit proposals to the management who then considers the most viable ideas from those forwarded and built on methods of implementing them[5]. The strategies that Nike can use to create and maintain a healthy organizational culture within it include;

1. Functional strategies

These strategies are developed within every department of the company. The Nike marketing department can for example prepare an individual strategy that will meet the overall Nike objectives. Other strategies under this include; new product development strategies, legal strategies, financial strategies etc can also be set up as autonomous strategic business units is responsible for all of its operations but answerable to the company.

2. Operational strategy

This is a very narrow strategy that targets the day to day operations of Nike. It can be the branding department that makes sure that a specific number of products are produced within a specified period of time. The section is at liberty to utilize the resources available to it but they are not allowed to overuse the same without the corporation’s permission.


Managers and leaders within Nike have an obligation to further propel the company forward thus able to create and maintain a healthy organizational culture within itself if they stick to the above mentioned roles and strategies.



Allen, K. and Cherrey, C. (2000): Systemic Leadership: – Enriching the Meaning of Our

Work: Lanham, MD; University Press of America

Maundy, L. (2001): An Introduction to Human to Human Resource Management: Theory

And Practice: Macmillan, Palgrave

Meindl, J.R.; Ehrlich, S.B. and Dukerich, J.M. (1985): The Romance of Leadership:-

Administrative Science Quarterly; 30(1), 78 – 102

Thomson, C. and Rampton, L. (2003): Human Resource Management. Melbourne press,

New York



[1] Meindl, J.R.; Ehrlich, S.B. and Dukerich, J.M. (1985): The Romance of Leadership:-Administrative Science Quarterly; 30(1), 78 – 102
[2] Allen, K. and Cherrey, C. (2000): Systemic Leadership: – Enriching the Meaning of Our Work: Lanham, MD; University Press of America
[3] Sparrow, P. and Hilltop, J. (1994): European Human Resource Management in

Transition: Prentice Hall, New York
[4] Allen, K. and Cherrey, C. (2000): Systemic Leadership: – Enriching the Meaning of Our Work: Lanham, MD; University Press of America
[5] Thomson, C. and Rampton, L. (2003): Human Resource Management. Melbourne press, New York


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