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The Professional Life of Ingvar Kamprad Descriptive Essay

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Updated: Jul 1st, 2019

Ingvar Kamprad is an accomplished entrepreneur from Sweden who is among the richest men in the world. Kamprad is the founder of an organization known as IKEA that is based in his homeland. Despite his affluence, Kamprad lives a very simple life away from the fancy things that wealthy people are associated with (Clegg, 2012, p. 34). Kamprad comes from a background that is full of entrepreneurial minds.

This kind of background inspired Kamprad to develop an entrepreneurial mind at a very tender age. Kamprad began his business career in 1943 when he was a teenager. His supportive father gave him his initial capital in form of a cash gift and the then enterprising Kamprad decided to try his luck in business. Kamprad later formed a company called IKEA using the money that his father had given him.

The company has since grown to be among the biggest companies in the world. The success of IKEA is attributed to Kamprad’s hard work and exemplary leadership skills (Clegg, 2012, p. 47). IKEA has grown over the years from a simple catalog company to a multinational company with operations in over thirty three countries (Davis, 2010, p. 56).

It is amazing how a single person can develop a very small company into a multinational. It is this kind of success that made many people to be interested in studying Kamprad’s professional life. This paper will highlight Kamprad’s managerial and leadership skills. The paper will also discuss Kamprad’s leadership orientation and some of the leadership lessons that can be learnt from Kamprad’s experiences.

Kamprad’s success as an entrepreneur is attributed to his managerial and leadership skills (Davis, 2010, p. 58). Kamprad is an efficient financial manager and this is normally reflected in his inexpensive life. Kamprad encourages his employees to manage both personal and company resources in a very prudent manner. Kamprad is a very influential person and this makes it easy for him to implement company policies.

Kamprad is a very persistent manager who does not bow down to any competition (Davis, 2010, p. 58). Kamprad’s major motivation is to improve the company’s market share and profits. His aggressiveness and determination to grow his company is what makes Kamprad to be classified as a good manager. Kamprad’s managerial philosophy is to always do things in a different way.

Kamprad’s background inspired him to establish a family business model that makes workers to feel as part of the family. Kamprad takes an inclusive approach to management and this improves the performance and dedication of his employees. Despite involving all employees in the affairs of the company, Kamprad is always aware of everything that happens within the company.

Kamprad controls all the business areas of his organization to ensure that everything goes according to plan (Davis, 2010, p. 85). Kamprad leads by example and this is what encourages his employees to feel as part of the family. When it comes to working hard and prudent financial management, Kamprad leads by example.

Another leadership quality that makes Kamprad to be a very special leader is his humility in accepting his mistakes and weaknesses (Moore, 2006, p. 123).

Alcoholism is his most notable weakness and Kamprad has always owned up to this weakness. Kamprad is a very caring leader who will always go out of his way to ensure that his employees are fine. Kamprad is a very inspirational leader who influences his employees in a positive way (Moore, 123, p. 123).

Kamprad has always encouraged a family kind of followership in his company with him as a father figure and his employees as family members (Needham, 2000, p. 134). The need to have a family kind of followership is inspired by the family business model.

Kamprad appears like other employees and does not like to be seen as a boss. He does everything like his employees and has over the years developed a very good relationship with employees (Needham, 134, p. 156). IKEA is known around the world for its family like followership that makes every employee to feel as part of the family. The IKEA family is controlled by strict business ethics.

The paternalistic employment policies that are common with a family business model have a significant influence on the nature of followership at IKEA. Kamprad’s leadership is results oriented and this is the reason why IKEA has been growing tremendously over the years. Kamprad is always motivated by the desire to meet customer needs in a very competitive market.

Although Kamprad is known as a very caring leader, his desire to increase the company’s market share and at the same time make profits identifies him as a results oriented leader (Needham, 2000, 175). The fact that IKEA has been experiencing tremendous growth since it was started in 1943 shows that Kamprad is a results oriented leader.

IKEA is known for its hardcore drive for profits which defines Kamprad’s leadership orientation (Clegg, 2012, p. 143). This type of leadership orientation is what has made Kamprad to have a very successful career as an entrepreneur.

Kamprad’s leadership can be described using a variety of leadership concepts (Lawrence, 2013, p. 112). Transactional, transformational, charismatic and authentic leadership concepts are very critical in describing the leadership of a very successful entrepreneur like Kamprad. The transactional approach in leadership is results oriented and employees are rewarded according to their performance.

The main objective of this concept of leadership is to enhance task accomplishment which in the process leads to increased productivity (Lawrence, 2013, p. 112). Kamprad is a results oriented leader and therefore the transactional leadership concept can be used to describe his leadership. Transactional leaders are very inspirational and will always ensure that employees work towards achieving set goals and targets.

Transactional leaders take the responsibility of role clarification to ensure that employees are comfortable when they are carrying out their duties (Lawrence, 2013, p. 113). In a transactional leadership approach, employees are expected to comply with company policies and other directives from the company leadership. Remunerations and promotions are based on performance in a transactional approach.

Kamprad is known to use a transactional approach to run his company. Kamprad has a tendency of influencing the assumptions and attitudes of his employees which is an element of transformational leadership. In a transformational approach, leaders work towards building commitment and trust to ensure that the company meets its goals and objectives (Griffin, 2009, p. 155).

This kind of approach can only be implemented by a very influential leader like Kamprad. Kamprad has always had a profound effect on his employees by encouraging them to work towards improving the organization.

The main objective of transformational leadership is to improve the performance of employees. Kamprad gives his employees the freedom to question his opinions and this makes him a transformational leader (Griffin, 2009, p. 164).

The charismatic concept of leadership is based on the ability of a leader to have a significant influence on his or her followers by demonstrating exceptional qualities (Avelino, 2011, p. 12). It is important to note that the formal authority of leaders does not qualify them to be charismatic. The perception of followers is what determines whether a leader is charismatic or not.

There are certain traits and behaviors that are associated with Kamprad that qualify him to be a charismatic leader. To begin, Kamprad likes doing things differently in order to meet customer needs (Avelino, 2011, p. 12). A charismatic leader is always interested in making things better by supporting radical changes within an organization and the changes are always related to their progressive vision.

Kamprad likes doing things in a very a very unconventional way in order to meet his targets. Kamprad is a very innovative leader who always comes up with new ideas that help his company to achieve its mission (Avelino, 2011, p. 18). Charismatic leaders do things in a different way to improve the general performance of their organization.

Kamprad has made a lot of sacrifices such as leading a very simple life just to ensure that his company grows. He is a proven risk taker who is never afraid of trying new ideas. Charismatic leaders will stop at nothing to ensure that they achieve their objectives. Kamprad has in many occasions lost his status and leadership position for the interest of IKEA.

Kamprad is always confident about his vision for the company and tries his level best to ensure that his employees are always motivated. Transactional, transformational and charismatic concepts of leadership constitute an authentic leader (Davis, 2010, 148). Kamprad can be described as an authentic leader because he has a mix of all the qualities that are needed to run a multinational company like IKEA.

In conclusion, Ingvar is an accomplished professional who can be a good role model for upcoming entrepreneurs. There are a lot of leadership lessons that can be drawn from Kamprad’s experiences. A leader should be ready to take risks in order to achieve their mission (Clegg, 2012, p. 186). Kamprad rose from humble beginnings to become an accomplished entrepreneur because of his hard work and determination.

Kamprad has demonstrated that our personal weaknesses should not stop us from achieving our objectives as leaders. Kamprad is an alcohol addict but has always tried his level best to ensure that his addiction does not interfere with his responsibilities at IKEA (Griffin, 2009, p. 137). Kamprad is a very humble leader who is always willing to accept his mistakes and at the same time listen to the opinions of his followers.

This is a very vital leadership lesson that can be drawn from Kamprad’s experiences as a leader. Kamprad is a results oriented leader who strives to get the best from his followers. Kamprad is an influential leader who leads by example (Avelino, 2011, p. 144). This is a very important lesson because there is no way a person can be a good leader without showing his or her followers how things are supposed to be done.

Aspiring leaders need to develop the leadership skills demonstrated by Kamprad in order for them to become successful leaders like him. Young and aspiring leaders should be humble and always be willing to learn from experienced leaders in order to develop their leadership skills.


Avelino, M. (2011). Success: The road to happiness or downfall. London: Xlibris Corporation.

Clegg, S. (2012). The virtues of leadership: Contemporary challenges for global managers. London: Oxford University Press.

Davis, J. (2010). Competitive success, how branding adds value. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Griffin, R. (2009). Organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

Lawrence, P. (2013). Enterprise in action: A guide to entrepreneurship. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Moore, C. (2006). Small business management with infotrac: An entrepreneurial emphasis. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

Needham, D. (2000). Advanced business. London: Heinemann.

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