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Case
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Reference no. A15-11-0019
Published by: Thunderbird School of Global Management
Published in: 2011
Length: 6 pages
Data source: Generalised experience

Abstract

This case provides readers with the opportunity to examine three different leadership styles. Amundsen picked his crew of only 19 men based on both proven skills, including skiing and cold-weather endurance, and his assessment of how the candidates would work together as a team. Amundsen also planned meticulously. He learned from the units and translated this learning into detailed preparations for the food and supplies, and worked with his team to develop new ways of doing things. His expedition was clearly much more focused on the singular goal of reaching the South Pole. Scott, by contrast, selected a crew of 65 men and hired a professional skier to train the crew. However, he failed to make the skiing lessons mandatory. Additionally, he grossly understocked his supply depots, which were also much more distant from one another than Amundsen’s depots. Shackleton held in middle position in which he engaged in participative and inclusive leadership, but still failed to plan as well as Amundsen. The positioning of this case near the beginning of a class or executive learning program provides opportunities for frequent references back to the style of leadership. 'Are we talking about Amundsen, Scott, or Shackleton leadership style here?' Reference to the Amundsen style refers to a leader who plans carefully, chooses people wisely, and innovates with them to improve the way things are done. Amundsen-style leaders also learn from the past. A Scott-style leader does not plan wisely, does not put sufficient thought into the selection of team members, and distances himself from the team. The Shackleton-style leader chooses his team members wisely and provides a motivating environment, but this style leader still lacks in the area of planning and learning sufficiently from past projects.
Other setting(s):
Antarctica

About

Abstract

This case provides readers with the opportunity to examine three different leadership styles. Amundsen picked his crew of only 19 men based on both proven skills, including skiing and cold-weather endurance, and his assessment of how the candidates would work together as a team. Amundsen also planned meticulously. He learned from the units and translated this learning into detailed preparations for the food and supplies, and worked with his team to develop new ways of doing things. His expedition was clearly much more focused on the singular goal of reaching the South Pole. Scott, by contrast, selected a crew of 65 men and hired a professional skier to train the crew. However, he failed to make the skiing lessons mandatory. Additionally, he grossly understocked his supply depots, which were also much more distant from one another than Amundsen’s depots. Shackleton held in middle position in which he engaged in participative and inclusive leadership, but still failed to plan as well as Amundsen. The positioning of this case near the beginning of a class or executive learning program provides opportunities for frequent references back to the style of leadership. 'Are we talking about Amundsen, Scott, or Shackleton leadership style here?' Reference to the Amundsen style refers to a leader who plans carefully, chooses people wisely, and innovates with them to improve the way things are done. Amundsen-style leaders also learn from the past. A Scott-style leader does not plan wisely, does not put sufficient thought into the selection of team members, and distances himself from the team. The Shackleton-style leader chooses his team members wisely and provides a motivating environment, but this style leader still lacks in the area of planning and learning sufficiently from past projects.

Settings

Other setting(s):
Antarctica

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