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British Petroleum (BP): Case study

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  1. What was BP's overall strategy with respect to organizational processes since Horton's appointment as CEO and through Simon's term? Did this strategy focus on people management and, if yes, in what ways? Was it successful or unsuccessful? How?
    1. What about Robert Horton
    2. What about David Simon
  2. Describe first Horton's and then Simon's leadership styles. Identify the differences, if any, between them. How do you perceive these two leaders and, in view of class readings and discussions, how appropriate or inappropriate in your opinion their actions might have been?
  3. Do you believe Horton's and Simon's leadership styles to be determined by personality or do you see them as acquired or both? Bearing in mind class discussions and readings, justify your answer
  4. What similarities and / or differences can you detect between the leadership styles of Emma, Jobs, Horton and Simon? When analysing your personal leadership style, who would you more easily identify with and why?

What was BP's overall strategy with respect to organizational processes since Horton's appointment as CEO, and through Simon's term? Did this strategy focus on people management and, if yes, in what way? Was it successful or unsuccessful? How? On June 1992, Robert Horton, Chairman and CEO of British Petroleum (BP), was ousted after only two years as the CEO. The other non-executive members of the board had had some doubts about Horton for some time. There weren't specific events that could explain this feeling, however, that prompted the directors to act. Lord Ashburton said, "It was an accumulation of feelings, of events, all quite small in themselves, we felt the company would be better organized if we had a change of individual". In 1957, R. Horton had joined the company as an engineering trainee, at that time, beginning his steady rise through the organization. Through years, Horton proved to be adaptable and street smart. He transformed his image from a Brit reputation and americanized himself and became popular. When he was named CEO of standard oil, he showed the necessity for personnel cuts and was able to convince people about this strategy by persuading that even if it's bad for employees, it's good for the company. As he said, "I wanted employees to know that my mission was to help the company recover, not to go around smashing things up". During his tenure as CEO, he restored morale and kept it high even through extensive corporate change. He was named BP's CEO in 1889.

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