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Leadership Approach in “The Devil Wears Prada” Essay

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Updated: Mar 15th, 2022

The Devil Wears Prada is a good illustrative base upon which numerous management aspects can be analyzed. The first point is personal characteristics that can be considered on the example of the film. It is evident that although Andy and Miranda are both successful and productive performers, their individualities are significantly different.

Researchers have established a list of “big five” personality traits that are of the highest importance for organizational performance (Griffin and Moorhead 67). At least two of the characteristics included in the list make Andy different from Miranda. First of all, it is agreeableness that is apparently more demonstrated in Andrea than in her boss.

The young woman eagerly cooperates with Emily tolerating with her needs and preferences, whereas Miranda, for example, does not want to adjust her timetable to the designers’ benefit. Secondly, it is extraversion that helps Andrea come into a closer contact with her colleagues. She openly shares her fears and rueful feelings with Nigel, while none of the employees is aware of Miranda’s problems with her husband.

The statistic shows that person-job fit tends to have a regressing character in numerous employees. Thus, a person who starts working in a company finds the new occupation more stimulating in the beginning that in the course of time (Griffin and Moorhead 66).

However, in Andrea’s case, the situation seems to be opposite. At first, the young woman experiences an evident person-organization misfit. The work does not offer any opportunities for her journalistic ambitions that can be proved by her complaints to friends and Nate. Nevertheless, the more engaged Andrea gets in the working process, the more changes her general attitude undergoes.

The viewer cannot help noticing how satisfied Andrea feels when her organizational skills and the critical thinking help her solve another infeasible task assigned by the boss. Thus, whether it is the latest edition of a Harry Potter book that she manages to find or her assistance in the formal reception – all this contributes to Andrea’s achieving the person-job fit.

Job attitude, stress, and behavior are the three factors that largely determine a person’s performance at work. The case of Andrea is particularly curious from this point of view as her perception of these aspects transforms throughout the film. First of all, one should admit, that the woman’s attitude to her charges is generally stable.

Thus, Andrea shows a high conscientiousness level from the very first days in the office. She is equally responsible and organized while doing the homework for Miranda’s children and preparing the magazine’s template. As to the occupational stress, Andrea manages to cope with it rather quickly. It is widely known that one of the key factors provoking stress is an extensive workload (Ganster and Perrewe 3).

Indeed, a viewer sees how confused the woman is by the multi-task character of her new job. However, in the second part of the film it becomes evident that Andrea is no more susceptible to panic – the woman looks ultimately relaxed during the important trip to Paris. Andrea’s behavior also changes to benefit – she stops waiting for her boss’s approval that prevents the woman from the constant feeling of dissatisfaction and lets her concentrate on the work itself.

Miranda’s leadership approach is of particular interest for the management analysis. To begin with, one can apply a situational approach to defining Miranda’s leadership style. According to this approach, a directing style seems to coincide with the managing character of the woman. This style is characterized by the highly goal-focused performance and low supportive behavior (Northouse 31).

Indeed, one can see that Miranda requires a full fit for the goal statement. Every order she sets in front of her employees, whether it is a coffee or an urgent call, is to be completed strictly following the instruction. The supportive effort tends to be minimal – Miranda does not employ any encouraging measures to her colleagues. It is not only that she does not help them in problems solving, but she also does not even thank them for managing the most challenging tasks she sets.

Moreover, Miranda expresses no support for her devoted assistant Emily when the former gets into an accident and becomes unable to accompany Miranda in her trip to Paris. The only point about Miranda’s approach that contradicts with the directing style of leadership is precise targeting. Thus, the woman’s orders sometimes have unclear instructions or a complete absence of the latter – she orders lunch from a particular restaurant and then refuses it, she changes the deadline of the tasks and requires the skirts without clarifying the details.

Therefore, one might conclude that Miranda proved to be rather efficient in the quality of a directing leader. However, according to the GLOBE’s study, the most successful leaders prove to have the attributes of transformational leadership manner. Such leaders employ an individual approach to the employees, use strong motivation technique and possess powerful natural charisma that helps them influence their subordinates (Waite 5).

If one considers Miranda’s case within the framework of a transformational leadership, it will turn out that the woman’s approach contradicts with the basic requirements of this concept. First of all, Miranda does not make any attempt to find an individual approach to her subordinates. The most vivid proof of this fact is that she uses one name for all of her assistants.

As to the motivation techniques, the woman considers her wordless approval to be the best encouragement for her employees. Although this is, apparently, a disrespectful manner, the film shows that it is rather efficient – Andrea, Emily, and Nigel do their best to deserve a silent nod from their boss. As to the inborn charisma, this criterion is obviously the most subjective one.

Nevertheless, one shall admit that Miranda possesses a certain charm and allure that make people admire her. The viewers can hear the reflection of this admiration in Nigel’s words when he discusses Miranda with Andrea in the corporate dressing room.

However, despite the powerful individual traits, Miranda cannot be called an efficient transformational leader, as her motivation and differentiation strategies seem to be completely different from what this theory suggests. On the whole, Miranda’s style has traits typical of several leadership models.

As far as it is a movie, her approach is depicted in a slightly exaggerated way that makes it hard to estimate. On the one hand, her leader’s manner is efficient – she receives the complete commitment from her employees, on the other hand, it has evident drawbacks – she has to cope with a staff turnover that is understandable from the general film’s context.

As it has been already mentioned above, the main drawback of Miranda’s approach is the lack of a wise motivation policy that makes employees quit the job in a short period of time. Therefore, one can suggest an introduction of a couple of motivation theories that could improve the corporate performance.

The first approach to be suggested is achievement motivation that implies a precise reward for a successfully accomplished task (Cole 102). The introduction of this approach would not require a lot of transformations on the part of Miranda, but to replace her silent approval by some concrete encouragements either financial or nominative.

The second approach that could also be efficiently used in the relevant organization is the so-called ‘performance related pay’ that suggests receiving a certain financial bonus by the most efficient employee. The appraisal can be monthly fixed or occasionally assigned depending on the character of the tasks (Hoffmann 92). The principal benefit of this approach is that it would not require Miranda to change the manner she is accustomed to; meanwhile, it would contribute to the subordinates’ encouragement.

Works Cited

Cole, Gerald. Personnel and Human Resource Management, Boston: Cengage Learning, 2002. Print.

Ganster, Daniel and Pamela Perrewe. New Developments in Theoretical and Conceptual Approaches to Job Stress, Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing, 2010. Print.

Griffin, Ricky and Gregory Moorhead. Organizational Behavior, Boston: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.

Hoffmann, Stefanie. Classical Motivation Theories – Similarities and Differences between them, Munich: GRIN Verlag, 2007. Print.

Northouse, Peter. Leadership: Theory and Practice, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2012. Print.

Waite, Mitchell. Fire Service Leadership: Theories and Practices, Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2008. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Leadership Approach in "The Devil Wears Prada"." March 15, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-devil-wears-prada-essay/.


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