Total Quality Management, Business Process Reengineering, Learning Organisations and Human Resource Management are all concepts which lately have been mentioned in relation to leadership. Each of these management theories have different views concerning the strategic direction companies should pursue when operating in an international and highly competitive business environment. Often, the way in which management should carry out its daily work is advocated for in such theories and typically on the basis of a single success story. In this way leaders such as Mærsk McKinney Møller - Mærsk Shipping (DK), Percy Barnevik - ABB (S/SUI), Jan Carlzon - SAS (S), Richard Branson - Virgin (UK) and others have all been exhibited for their unique way of conducting their business. However, throughout these success stories one element has always lacked - the empirical foundation. Only, with a solid empirical foundation will we be able to make generalisations and exhibit the managerial attributes which transform leaders into ideal or excellent leaders. This article marks the start fo a much-needed effort to understand the relationship between certain success criteria for Business Excellence and different leadership styles which are to be found in any organisation. Without a profound understanding of this relationship, we cannot achive Business Excellence. This article sets out the results of the research project, which was carried out under the joint auspices of the Research Group on Quality, Productivity and Innovation (DK) and of PA Consulting Group (UK).
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3rd China Aviation Summit, Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China, 1998