Leadership Style

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Leadership Style

Leadership Style


The Body Shop was founded in 1976 in Brighton England by Anita Roddick. Initially, her goal was to earn enough money to support her family. Today, the company is in 45 different countries and had earned £ 219.7 million in 1995. The Body Shop is in the cosmetics industry and seeks to integrate two core concepts; one that produces personal care products for a profit, and the other that creates a vehicle for social activism and environmental concerns. The Body Shop's business idea is “to dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change.” In this case we will evaluate the leadership styles of Anita and Gordon Roddick according to the Leadership approaches described by Northouse (1997).


After reading the Body Shop case presented in class, several leadership approaches in Northouse could be related to Anita and Gordon Roddick's leadership behaviours. However, we have decided to focus on the four major approaches that we have found most relevant for this case. These are the Trait Approach, the Style Approach, Path-Goal Theory, and Transformational Leadership.

Trait Approach

The Trait Approach suggests that certain people are born with special characteristics that make them great leaders. Northouse describes the major leadership characteristics to be intelligence, self-confidence, sociability, determination, and integrity.

Since the business is values based, and is lead by a woman, certain female traits, as presented by Northouse, are evident within the case. First, Anita demonstrated a sense of integrity throughout the case as she continually mentioned the importance of honesty and trustworthiness. For example, one of the Body Shop products was removed from the shelf after it was found out to be tested on animals. This is in correlation with her policy on humanity and animal testing.

Secondly, she also shows determination by strictly following her goals and values throughout the life of the business. This was noted in the Board of Director's Public Declaration that mentioned the top 32 points that employees were dissatisfied with. Anita was determined to solve these issues. Also, it is shown throughout the case that Anita displays self-confidence as she strongly believes in her values and ideas.

Style Approach

The Style Approach emphasises two types of behaviours; task-oriented and relationship-oriented. In the case, both types are found. Anita is a typical relationship-oriented leader whereas Gordon is primarily task-oriented. This is reflected in the case where it mentions the imbalance between their respective views where Anita emphasises quality rather than quantity but Gordon is more financially driven. Essentially, Anita strived for a more family oriented environment by developing sound relationships and providing top quality products.

A connection can be drawn here with the Women and Leadership chapter in Northouse in several respects. Typical female characteristics as shown by Anita include a belief in the right to work for self-fulfilment as well as for money, ability to share feelings, and the ability to listen. In terms of Gordon, Northouse suggests that a typical masculine strength is to focus on the task and regard it as ...
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