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Lesson #7, Assignment #6:

Chapter 8 Case Study


Review the Case Study, 'Frederick W. Smith - Federal Express' on pages 344-346 of your text, and
address the following questions in an essay of 700-800 words:
1. How do the standards set by Fred Smith for Federal Express teams improve organizational
performance?
The focus on empowerment, employee involvement and quality action teams has meant many things to
Federal Express:

Increased teamwork

Improved employee morale

Strengthened leadership skills

Improved productivity

Additional revenue through cost savings

More satisfied customers.

Employee involvement and the quality action teams are the key to improving and strengthening the
relationship between workers and management. Federal Express appears to be achieving their
organizational performance by taking the human side of quality and empowering employees and
putting people first.
Employees are encouraged to be innovative and to make decisions that advance quality goals. Federal
Express provides employees with the information and technology they need to continuously improve
their performance.
2. What motivates the members of Federal Express to remain highly engaged in their teams?
FedEx encourages its employees to be innovative and to make decisions that advance quality goals and
also provides employees with the information and technology they need to continuously improve their
performance.
Federal Express knows that acknowledging efforts is essential for a motivated and satisfied work force,
and that such acknowledgment stimulates new ideas and encourages better performance and team
spirit.
Federal Express also offers many types of incentive programs such as the Suggestion Awards Program.
As the name implies, it encourages employees to submit ideas that will improve company operations.
These must be ideas that lower cost, increase productivity, increase revenues, or promote safer working
conditions. Employees at Federal Express can earn $100 to $25,000 for ideas that are implemented.

3. Describe the role Federal Express managers play in facilitating team effectiveness.
The shifting sands of competition require that companies elicit an entrepreneurial spirit from workers
at every level of the organization, communicating the leaders vision but leaving the implementation up
to individuals. Federal Express has done this thru communication and collaboration.
Collaborative leadership is the art of pulling people together from different units or organizations to
accomplish a task that none of them could accomplish -- at all or as well -- individually.

Help employees see their common interests, and the benefits possible through joint effort.

Generate trust.

Help employees design a transparent, credible process.

Lead by showing, not telling.

4. What types of teams does FedEx use? Provide evidence from the case to support your answer.
Self-managed teams. Self-managed work teams are linked solidly with empowerment. Empowered
people, first of all, take personal responsibility for their work, ensuring that it has meaning so that they
do not become cynical.
According to the case study, Federal Express created Quality Action Teams. These teams acted as
self-managed teams with little direct supervision from management.
5. Leaders play a critical role in building effective teams. Cite evidence from the case that
Federal Express managers performed some of these roles in developing effective teams.
Through the use of empowerment, Quality Action Teams were created for employees to think outside
of the box. There was little to no management supervision of the teams but each of the teams provided
ideas and suggestions (that were later implemented) on how best to overcome some of the major
pitfalls that fed. ex. was experiencing.

Help employees see their common interests, and the benefits possible through joint effort.

Generate trust.

Help employees design a transparent, credible process.

Lead by showing, not telling.

Cumulative Case Questions:


6. The Big Five model of personality categorizes traits into dimensions of surgency,
agreeableness, adjustment, conscientiousness, and openness to experience (Chapter 2). Which of
these dimensions do you think Fred Smith possesses?

I would say that based upon my readings, Fred Smith possesses all of the big five traits.
I believe that being a great leader does not necessarily mean you embody all the leadership traits listed
here. Being a great leader means that you have the strategic vision to reinvent yourself and your
business depending on what the times require.
7. The normative leadership model (Chapter 5) identifies five leadership styles appropriate for
different situations that users can select to maximize decisions. Which of the five leadership
styles is practiced by FedEx team leaders?
Facilitative. The leaders met with a group of staff to explain and define current issues that federal
express was having. It was then up to the group to determine what issue they wanted to improve and
how they were going to improve the process.
8. The case reveals that at the Memphis hub, senior managers have been known to hurry down
from the executive suite to help load packages during emergencies in order to get the plane off on
time. FedEx leaders want to be seen as coaches, not managers. There are specific guidelines that
can help a leader become an effective coach (Chapter 6). Which of the guideline(s) does the
example above represent?
Fred Smith gave both praise and recognition to the teams and the individuals. He made staff feel that
they were part of the decisions by allowing them to be part of the process to find solutions to the
organizational obstacles.
Fred Smith was inspiring. He helped his teams unlock their true potential through raising awareness
and inspiring new ideas and encouraging creativity and innovation.
Fred Smith was energizing. He communicated effectively with all staff; he solicited suggestions and
built an organization of can-do attitudes.
9. Research on followership describes five styles of followership (see Exhibit 7-2, Chapter 7).
Which of these types will work best in FedExs team environment as described in the case, and
why?
An independent critical thinker. Independence might seem a strange trait to associate with
followership, but it is imperative; an effective follower is a follower by choice. This type of follower is
neither an opportunist hitching his/her wagon to someone else's star, nor is this follower coerced into
followership by the promise of reward for submission. One chooses to follow because he/she accepts
that others are better suited to lead, but never sacrifices his/her judgment to make that decision. This
type of follower follows, but not blindly. The effective follower retains independence and accepts the
consequences of his/her choices including the choice of leaders.