UBER: The State of Autonomous Transport- A Management and Operations Perspective Assignment Sample

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Human resource is the most valuable assets of an organization, the leaders and managers are the people who manage the humans as well as other resources of the company. Often, these terms are confused with one another, the leaders and managers play different roles in achieving the goals of the organization which would be discussed in this report. Uber technologies are used as a reference to understand the different aspects of leadership, management, operations management, and decision-making. The role of leaders and managers is defined and discussed in various situations and contexts in an organization. Further, the report discusses theories of leadership with an understanding of the positive and negative parts of the theories. Furthermore, the report includes the roles of leader and manager in operations management.

Comparison of a leader and a manager.

A leader is a person which defines the vision for the followers, the followers are influenced by the working of a leader. The leader can put people first towards a better vision and motivating them to achieve and enhance the goal. A manager is a person who commands the subordinates to complete a task to meet the objectives of the goals of an organization. There are many differences between the roles and characteristics of a leader and a manager in an organization such as a leader promotes changes in the organization where the response of a manager is reactive towards the change. The direction is presented by the leader whereas a manager plans the path to reach the goal. The leader decides the vision whereas the manager defines the mission of the organization. The roles played by a manager and a leader are explained in the table below (Thomson and Miller, 2018).



The leader creates the vision of the organization.

Managers create the goal and objectives to achieve the vision of the organization.

Leaders play an important role in disrupt innovation and induce change.

The manager maintains the status quo of the organization by managing the operations in reaction to internal or external changes.

Leaders create new methods of working to define a unique style.

Managers are known to mimic the competencies from the leadership styles.

Leaders are risk bearers.

Managers try to control the risk and minimize the negative impacts on the business.

The vision of leaders is for the long term.

The vision of the managers is for the short term.

Leaders manage the relationships within the organization such as stakeholders, suppliers, customers, etc.

Managers build the systems and processes for the smooth functioning of the operations.

Theories of Leadership.

The theories of leadership are the result of the examination of qualities of different leaders and analyzing the psychology of leaders and the result of the practices used by the leader. Some of the theories of leadership are discussed below to understand the different types of leaders.

Transactional theory of leadership:

The theory explains the approach of leaders is to reward the employees in return for something that the managers and leaders want for the organization to grow. The leaders of Uber Technologies such as Dara Khosrowshahi would approach the new product development team and ask extremely difficult questions from different members of the team to ensure that the team is working in the correct direction. While the managers would develop the systems and processes for the new product development and launch. The leaders give direction for the innovation whereas the managers play important role in the execution. The leader inspires for cheat codes, he, mentions that the engineers are cheaters, they look for shorter paths to complete the tasks which are effective in business as it helps to find the alternatives and serve the customer faster. Another philosophy of Uber's technology leader is to bend instead of break. The leader directs the managers and coordinators to build flexible systems and processes so that they can be easily changed if required.

Transactional leadership rewards motivated employees help to achieve the goals quickly, and the system of rewards and penalty is clearly defined. However, limited creativity is achieved through this approach as the goals are defined and less reward is awarded for personal initiative.

The chaos theory of management.

The organization is an unpredictable system that works in an order decided by the managers and leaders to achieve success. The formal methods dont allow any disorderliness in the system as it would disrupt the operations (Pettinger, 2007). However, applying chaos theory to management would encourage disruptive innovation. The theory suggests that the organizations management should focus on initiatives, entrepreneurial activities, and adaptability in the system. The introduction of Uber buses in some parts of the world is a fight against the chaos which causes customer dissatisfaction in busy cities. Uber believes to maintain a balance between order and chaos in business operations. This is achieved with influential leadership and managerial skills. The leaders are known to bring the disruption for innovation whereas the managers manage the changes.

Contingency Theory.

This theory of leadership explains that no form of leadership is perfect and cannot be applied in all situations. The organization is subject to various external as well as internal changes, therefore, a manager or the leader must decide the right course of action and form of leadership as per the situation. The leader of Uber Travis Kalanick was accused of allegations such as the creation of an unethical workplace to which he decided to resign which shows the leader needs to take different types of decisions that may not suit them but suits the organization. The change is a constant process and the leaders and managers must have the tactics to manage the change for the positive impacts.

The contingency approach is useful for managers for enhancing decision-making and skills. The organizational structure and planning can also be made flexible using this approach, the approach is dynamic thus, supports innovation (Schedulitzki and Edwards, 2014). However, it is a complex approach as change management is a difficult task in bigger organizations. It is reactive which may intervene in the process of development by delaying the process.

Systems Leadership/ systems Viewpoint.

Systems viewpoint defines the organization as the integration of interrelated parts. The four parts of a system are inputs that is the people, resources, capital, etc. Output; the conversion of the input resources with the help of capital and human resource. Transformation process; the management and technologies used in the conversion of resources into the output. Feedback; the satisfaction of the customers or the employee with the change reflects the feedback of the organization system (Manley and Titchen, 2017). The role of a manager is maximum in the building and managing of the system as the manager plans the human resources, sources of raw material, technologies to be used, etc. whereas the leader plays the least role in the development of the systems. However, the leader intervenes in any case of conflicts or confusion in the working of systems.

The leadership at Uber has seen a drastic change from Travis to Khosrowshahi as Travis is an autocratic leader who would do anything to win the race. Whereas the current leader of Uber has a vision a mission to establish an ethical medium of working in the organization. The company experienced loss due to the loss of human capital such as drivers, employees, etc. due to poor management. The employees complained about the low pay scales but Travis didnt focus on their demands resulting in a poor impression of the company (Rutsch, 2015). The current CEO, Khosrowshahi is a democratic leader who listened to the complaints of employees and passengers to solve the issue faced by the vehicle services of Uber. The CEO also managed the staff-ran clubs of Uber such as UberHue, Uberpride, Women of Uber, etc.

Role of Manager and leader in different situations.

 New Product development: New product development is the process of research and experiment where the company is focused to deliver the products that would solve the problems of the customers and bring in more customer loyalty to the firm. The leader is the vision creator for the process, the leader is responsible to circulate the vision among the followers, discuss the plan, motivate the employees for change, and manage the resistance if any. Whereas the manager plays role in the delivery of the end product. The manager takes care of the minute details such as the sources of raw material, the human resource required, capital investment, production capacity, quality of the finished product, feedback management, etc.

Employee engagement: Employee engagement in an organization is the assurance of an ethical workplace which motivates the employees to give their best contribution to the success of the company. Engagement is a two-way relationship built between the management of the organization and the employees of the organization. The leader and manager play important role in the establishment of employee engagement in any organization (Nasomboon, 2014). The leader plans the policies, builds trust with the employees by motivating them, discussing the problems and career path, etc. where the execution of the plans and policies is the responsibility of the manager in the organization. The mission and vision of the company must be clear and rewarding for the employees for their efforts and time in the organization.

Performance Management: It is a continuous process of managing the performance of the employees and the organization as a whole. There are various traits on which the performance is measured such as the number of promotions, employee turnover rates of the company, employee satisfaction, etc. There are various segments in performance management where the leaders and managers play different roles. The leader defines the goals and objectives of the company and the alignment of the employees goal with the companys goal is influenced by the leader (Nixon et.al, 2012). It a continuous process, therefore, the monitoring is controlled by the manager in the data management tools. The role of motivation is played by the leader whereas the manager measures the improvement of the employees by conducting various seminars, training, and educational workshops.

Operations management.

Operations management is ensuring the smooth functioning of the organization which refers to the minimum usage of the resources and maximum customer satisfaction in the standard economical value. It is the management of the process of converting raw materials into final goods and services. The leaders play role in decision making, discussions, motivation, etc. It is also called people management the people here refer to various groups such as the human resource department manages the employees, the sales department takes care of the customers, the stakeholders are taken care of by the leaders of the organization. There are many approaches used by managers and leaders for operations management. Some of the approaches are discussed below.

Six Sigma.

It is the operations management approach that highlights the importance of management in the manufacturing process. The principle of Six Sigma is abbreviated into DMAIC which is Define, Measure, Analysis, Improvement, and Control (Easton and Rosenweig, 2012).

Define: It is defining the process of manufacturing that is deciding the expected quality of the goods or service, what is the improvement goals, etc.

Measure: It is defining the metrics on which the performance of the process and produce will be measured.

Analysis:  It refers to finding the root cause of the issue, finding the reason for failure or underperformance of the process.

Improvement: It is the step that involves finding the solutions and alternatives for the problem identified.

Control: It starts with applying the solution on a small scale and measuring the results followed by the large-scale application after controlling the potential loopholes.

Six Sigma techniques are extremely important in the competitive business environment. The role of a leader is very essential as Six Sigma cannot be implemented without the top management efforts in training, resources, communicating the benefits of Six Sigma, managing the costs, etc.

Total Quality Management.

The process of total quality management in the operations management is a decision making for the long term which helps to achieve the economies of scale and benefit organizations such as Uber Technologies. The quality of the goods and services is pre-decided and the company maintains the quality by applying the principle of total quality management. It is a continuous process of detection and reduction of errors in the process (Zhang et.al, 2012). The primary objective of this approach is to minimize waste and improve the quality of goods and services.

The leadership maintains the purpose of total quality management by communicating and setting examples, establishing common grounds of growth between the employees and organization, understanding the stakeholders, etc.

Lean production.

It is an approach of operations management that implies minimizing the expenditure, waste, and maximizing the quality of the product or the service. The main objective of the approach is to improve the quality of the product or service and making the business efficient and responsive to the needs and wants of the competitive market. This practice equates the waste to the extra cost, thus, excluding and minimizing the waste has dual benefits, it will improve the quality and reduce the cost of the organization (Grabher and Van, 2020).

A leader maintains the lean production in the organization by creating an atmosphere of continuous learning and training with minimal cost involved and maximum output with enhancing the employees skillset.

Just in Time Inventory: Excess production increases the expenditure as the costs of warehouses, transportation, expiration, are added to the products. Uber has adopted the strategy by not collecting vehicles by maintaining networks with the people that own vehicles that can be used when needed.

The role of a leader in operations management is enlisted below.

The leader is responsible for understanding the needs and wants of the employees to ensure employee satisfaction and less employee turnover. The leader should understand the motivating factor of the employees and motivate the employees accordingly. The leader must enhance the productivity and potential of the employees which will improve the efficiency of the organization. the goals and objectives are defined by the leader.

The role of the manager in operations management is discussed below.

The manager plays role in planning, organizing, staffing, and controlling the operations. The manager recruits skilled labor and candidates for smooth functioning. Providing the right resource at the right place at the right time is the prime role of the manager (Bromiley and Rau, 2016). The distribution of the tasks and resources and managing the utilization of the resources. The control of the activities and meet the expectations of the processes decided by the leader and customer expectations.

The importance and value of operations management in achieving business objectives.

Operations are the primary activity that shapes the functioning and revenue of the organization. Uber technologies pay attention to managing the operations as it impacts the business objectives. The impacts of operations management in achieving business objectives is discussed below.

Market Research: market research is an important aspect of operations management as the market experiences several changes regularly (Anand and Gray, 2017). The operations management helps to match with the trends of the market so that Uber can produce or improve the services and products accordingly. The market research helps to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty towards the company.

Motivated employees: The efficiency of operations management reflects the efficiency of employees and their motivation towards the work. Therefore, it helps to reduce employee turnover, increase efficiency, and have an ethical work culture (Hitt et.al, 2016).

Revenue: The improvement in operations management helps to reduce waste, cut off extra expenditure, improve the quality of the product or service, which in turn increases the revenue of the company.

Customer satisfaction: operations management improves the quality of offerings of the organization which results in increased customer satisfaction in the market.

The factors that define operations management values are:

Global Competition: Due to globalization, businesses are not restricted to a specific area, region, or country. Companies compete with local as well as international players and modify the operations accordingly. Uber has faced many ups and downs in the global journey such as fighting with a local competitor in India, Ola. South America is the fastest-growing market for Uber, it is banned in many European countries due to protests, etc.

Technology: the operations need to be adapted as per the advancement in technology to stay competitive in the market.

Contribution to society: the organizations that focus on solving social issues, tend to grow faster than the companies that only focus on making profits by selling products. Uber tends to solve many issues such as timely and safe taxi services with reasonable costs.

Environmental concern: the operations must not affect the environment adversely as it is not feasible for sustainable development. Uber has taken various initiatives to address environmental concerns like greenhouse gas emissions.

Working conditions: human resource is the most important asset of a company and the work culture greatly affects the retention of employees which in turn affects the efficiency of operations.

The leaders and managers play their distinct roles in operations management and decision making as discussed in the above section. The objectives of the organization can be achieved with efficient working and quality management which is managed by the manager and the leader. The leader can motivate the employees to achieve the goals. The employees have a tremendous amount of energy which needs to be organized in the direction of development. This act is performed by the manager and leader. The leader and managers must clearly define functions in the management roles to not intervene with each other and cause conflicts. The managers and leaders must align with the goals and objectives of the organization. A realistic approach must be used to manage the changes and processes, the efficiency improvement is the primary goal of the leaders at Uber technologies.

The factors within the business environment that impacts the operational management and decision-making by the leaders and managers are discussed below.

Finance: Every action requires funds for the execution therefore the financial status of the organization plays important role in the decision-making by the leaders and managers. The funds must be used economically for the minimum input and maximum output. The profits and cash of Uber technologies impact the decision-making process (Herawan et.al, 2012).

Stakeholders: stakeholders of the company such as the employees, customers, investors, suppliers, etc. must be taken care of while deciding or implementing any policies or decisions.

Political and legal changes: The external environment of the organization is unpredictable; the legal changes can affect the decision positively as well as negatively. Uber technology maintains the compliance to not get involved in any legal and political issues which may impact the business and the reputation of the company (Hill and Hill, 2011).

Organizational Resources: the input in the systems such as technology, human resource, raw material, etc. impacts the decision-making by the leaders and managers.

Ethics and CSR: In the era where information is readily available, the customers, and employees are well aware of the business ethics and the responsibilities that a corporate has towards society. The decision making by leaders are greatly influenced by the CSR and business ethics as there is a risk of loss of socially active customers, poor publicity in case of any unethical work, and employee turnover as working for an organization with social cause provides the employee a purpose which retains them longer with the organization.

Sustainability: according to the Nielsen survey of 2015, the brands with a focus on sustainability outperformed the ones that dont. The customers are concerned about the environment and seek sustained growth without harming the environment. Uber has launched various strategies to lower greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental concerns.

Organizational culture and value also impact the decision making as power distance, avoidance, individualism and collectivism, masculinity and femininity, are some of the factors that define and differentiates the culture and values of a company which further affects the positive and negative aspects of decision making.

The relationship between leaders and managers influences the working of the organization. the aim of the leader as well as a manager is to provide enough resources and support to the subordinates to achieve the goals of the company. The roles and responsibilities of leaders and managers are interrelated and a healthy relationship must exist to ensure the smooth functioning of the operations. The leaders lead the teams whereas the managers are responsible for the execution of vision goals (Kim et.al, 2018).


The report analyses various concepts of leadership and management. The comparison is conducted to differentiate between the characteristics and roles of a leader and a manager. It has been identified that the leader plays role in directing the organization whereas the minute details and management of the resources and actions, systems building is performed by the manager. The operation management and various approaches of operations management are discussed along with the discussion of distinct roles played by the leader and the manager of the organization. The leadership theories are discussed along with the discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the theories concerning Uber technologies. Further, the section discussed the role of leadership in decision-making (Kim et.al, 2018). It can be concluded that the leadership in Uber technologies is decentralized among the employees for democratic leadership.


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