Companies attain growth due to a number of factors. Some of these reasons include the adoption of business management strategies and ideas from industry leaders. Tech-Shield credits its current growth in the electronic sector to its leadership structure. The management has implemented certain strategies used by Toshiba, a leading company in the industry. According to the Harvard Business Review (45), organizations should adopt critical thinking and creativity to enhance their growth. Leaders in a given entity can achieve this form of thinking through the adoption of a number of strategies. Such approaches include enhancing their skills and exchanging ideas with their peers. Another strategy involves reading inspirational books. A book like The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli may help corporate leaders to achieve critical thinking.
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The current paper is written against this background of inspiration books and leadership among contemporary organizations. The paper provides a link between Machiavelli’s school of thought and corporate management. The author of the paper takes into consideration the ‘individualistic’ implications of this link. The philosophies illustrated in The Prince and their effects on organizational frameworks are reviewed.
The paper examines whether or not Toshiba adheres to the suggestions advanced in The Prince. Machiavelli (1) introduces the element of choice by analyzing the issue of how and why persons should opt for freedom or for the leadership of a prince. In line with this sentiment, the paper assesses how Toshiba eschews the arguments made in this book. To this end, the author highlights the effects of adherence or avoidance of the said ideas in relation to Tech-Shield. Finally, an analysis of the manifestation of the Machiavellian philosophies in Toshiba is outlined.
The Individual and the Organization from a Machiavellian Perspective
The best way to understand the requirements of a company is to treat it as an individual. Every individual in the society has unique needs, requirements, and experiences. The same applies to organizations, which vary from one to the other. The variation is brought about by the uniqueness of the industry within which the entity is operating from, as well as by the internal composition of its resources and leadership structure. According to the Harvard Business Review (78), the word corporation is derived from the Latin term corpus. The Latin word loosely translates to a body. In light of this, it is apparent that Machiavelli’s individualistic claims of a person’s actions towards their enemies can be used in a corporate setting. The similarity between the Machiavellian individual and an organization is in terms of competition.
Toshiba’s Adherence to Machiavellian Ideas: A Critical Review
As mentioned earlier in this paper, Machiavellian ideas and philosophies can be used to analyze the operations of a given company in contemporary society. In the Harvard Business Review (18), it is pointed out that these ideas can be advanced without the full understanding of the philosophical aspects behind them. Some of them include presence and research.
Presence in the Context of Toshiba
Toshiba adheres to the Machiavellian philosophy of presence. With regards to this argument, Machiavelli (6) postulates as follows:
“…if one is on the spot, disorders are seen as they spring up, and one can quickly remedy them; but if one is not at hand, they are heard of only when they are great, and then one can no longer remedy them” (Machiavelli pp. 6-7).
A company that intends to occupy the leadership position in the market must assert its presence. In the quote above, Machiavelli (6) argues that a state that is conquered is only stable when the one who has taken it over is present. Similarly, Toshiba must establish its footprint in the markets it has conquered. A critical analysis of the company’s operations reveals that it has a presence in most of the regions where it has established a market (Toshiba 15). In addition, the company has a research and development department that is tasked with the responsibility of establishing ‘disorders’ in the products ‘once they spring up’. The department is also expected to ‘remedy’ such mistakes. The same is in line with Machiavelli’s (6) philosophy of presence. By adopting this point of view, the company has ensured that its presence in the electronics industry does not fizzle out.
Research in Toshiba
Research is best developed with the help of a studious lifestyle. A similar sentiment is advanced by Machiavelli (69) when he argues as follows:
“… to exercise the intellect, the prince should read histories and study the actions of illustrious men, to see how they have borne themselves in war, to examine the causes of their victories and defeat, so as to avoid the latter and imitate the former”(Machiavelli 69).
In the scenario depicted in the quote above, Machiavelli (69) argues that leadership is only effective when one is dedicated to study. As such, the leader should be aware of what happened in the past to prepare for similar occurrences in the future. On its part, Toshiba adheres to this idea by placing emphasis on a culture of creativity. According to the Harvard Business Review (44), research and development are important elements in any given organization. The importance of this aspect is made apparent in Toshiba, where the company’s research and development department focuses on the analysis of errors committed in the past. In addition, the department analyzes the preferred market requirements. The knowledge acquired from such research enhances the innovativeness of this company. It helps the organization to retain its leadership position in the market.
How Toshiba Avoids Machiavellian Ideas
Failure to Prepare for the Worst
Many contemporary organizations face challenges that portend a bleak future for their business operations unless they are resolved. Machiavelli (67) argues that a leader must be prepared for a worst case scenario. The reason is that “the tides can change at any time” (Machiavelli p. 67). To this end, Machiavelli makes the following assertion:
“A wise prince ought to observe some such rules, and never in peaceful times stand idle, but increase his resources with industry in such a way that they may be available to him in adversity, so that if fortune changes, it may find him prepared to resist her blows” (Machiavelli p. 67).
The concern here is the leader’s ability to navigate the murky waters of their industry. Machiavelli (67) argues that a prince must remain alert when at war. A critical review of Toshiba reveals that the company has failed to adhere to this philosophy of preparedness as advocated for by Machiavelli (67). For example, the company focuses more on corporate social responsibility (CSR) at the expense of developing a growth strategy. In spite of the ethical connotations of CSR, Toshiba should avoid spending most of its resources on this venture.
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According to the Harvard Business Review (91), Toshiba was overtaken by Samsung as the market leader owing to the latter’s heavy investment in research and development. Samsung does not focus a lot on CSR. Toshiba appeared comfortable with its position in the electronics market (Harvard Business Review 91). Disregarding the philosophy of making arrangements for the worst makes the company to assume that its competitors are not a threat. The same explains why Toshiba is still finding it hard to regain its position in the global electronics market.
Effects of Adherence to and Avoidance of Machiavellian Ideas on Tech-Shield
Adherence to Research
Just like Toshiba, Tech-Shield adheres to the philosophical requirement of research as set out by Machiavelli. As already indicated in this paper, research defines the studious nature of a successful leader. Machiavelli (69) illustrates this point by arguing that any prince who assumes the mantle of leadership should conduct extensive research on their situation. According to Harvard Business Review (134), electronic giants like Toshiba and Tech-Shield fall under the category of technology-based companies. Such entities can enhance their competitiveness by adopting an innovative strategy. Research and development is the major basis for such creativity.
Tech-Shield has benefited from the adoption of Machiavellian philosophy of research and development. The positive effects associated with this approach are some of the reasons why Tech-Shield continues to embrace change. For instance, new innovations have helped the company to secure more funding. The financial resources are mobilized due to the potential attributed to the various patents held by the company. In addition, adherence to the research philosophy has led to an upsurge in the quality and quantity of skilled labor. According to Harvard Business Review (116), research and development encourages extensive study among employees. Consequently, the entire workforce at Tech-Shield has adopted a culture of research.
Avoiding the Philosophy of Universal Trust
Trust is an expensive asset in the corporate world. For a long time, Tech-Shield has failed to adhere to the idea advocated by Machiavelli with regards to universal trust. The results of this choice are detrimental to the company’s operations. Machiavelli (15) argues against universal trust. The scholar writes:
“From this general rule (…) he who is the cause of another becoming powerful is ruined; because that predominancy has been brought about by astuteness or else by force, and both are distrusted by him who has been raised to power” (Machiavelli p. 15).
The sentiments raised by Machiavelli above suggest that one should be careful when trusting other people. Machiavelli (15) argues that universal trust can lead to betrayal. Tech-Shield has disregarded this philosophy. In most cases, the company has divulged details of some of its technological secrets to potential investors before patenting them. The consequence of this universal trust is the loss of intellectual property. As a result, the company incurs huge financial losses.
Indications of Machiavellian Philosophies in Toshiba
Adopting a business strategy is essential to the growth of a company. By adhering to Machiavellian philosophy of study, Toshiba encourages the employees to engage in more research and development. Consequently, the company has managed to diversify its portfolio to conform to the market demands. For instance, the organization has come up with various eco-friendly products (Toshiba 13). The same is in line with the rising demand for electronic devices that conserve energy.
Adherence to a studious lifestyle, as already indicated in this paper, enables an organization to remain relevant in the industry. According to Harvard Business Review (169), an analysis of the global technological market reveals that several companies, such as Dell, have succumbed to the pressure brought about by competition. Such organizations are forced to change the way they operate. However, Toshiba has remained strong in the electronics market in spite of the threat posed by competitors. The company’s leadership predicts a brighter future owing to the ongoing research in satellite technology (Toshiba 17). As such, the results (manifestations) of adherence to Machiavellian principles are made evident given that Toshiba remains a key player in the global electronics market.
A winning business strategy requires critical thinking and creativity on the part of the management. Machiavelli (23) argues that relevance is needed if such a strategy is to succeed. The Machiavellian philosophies illustrated in this paper can be used to improve business operations. Such philosophies as research and universal trust are critical to the success of a company. They are especially important to companies operating in the electronics industry.
In comparison to Toshiba, Tech-Shield is a young company. The organization can achieve growth by implementing some of the Machiavellian ideas illustrated in this paper. For instance, if Tech-Shield avoids universal trust, it can address the issue of the huge losses associated with theft of intellectual property. In the long run, the company can improve its operations by adopting the various Machiavellian philosophies that lead to positive growth.
Harvard Business Review. Management Tips: From Harvard Business Review, Boston: Harvard Business Press Books, 2011. Print.
Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince, New York: Penguin Classics, 1515. Print.
Toshiba 2013, 2013 -2014: Corporate Profile-Toshiba Today. Web.