Brief Overview of UberLike many great ideas came out from matters encountered in reality and attracted someone’s attention, Uber’s emergence acted the same. One night in the year of 2008, when Travis Kalanick and his friend Garrett Camp traveled in Paris and could not stop a cab in the snowy day, a simple assumption floated through these two persons’ minds, creating a mobile app so that people could tap and call a taxi handily and immediately (Kara swisher, 2018). In 2009, UberCab appeared in San Francisco and served for people living in that city (Radionzconz, 2016). Later, as government issued a ban for its inappropriate name by using ‘Cab’, the co-founder Kalanick discarded it and took ‘Uber’ as its renewed name (Thestarcom, 2018). At present, It operated in over four hundred cities in more than seventy countries.Uber broke the traditional structure of the transportation industry and was a stroke to the cab industry in an overwhelming way (epress how uber broke the structure and also why it overwhelmed the cab indurstry- could use evidence from articles in ft). Its subversive idea and strong momentum helped it receive financing successfully in various approaches such as venture capital firms, technology giants, mutual funds and Sovereign Wealth Funds, including Google Ventures, Benchmark, Goldman Sachs, Baidu, Public Investment Fund from Saudi Arabia etc.
to expand and capture the market quickly (Talkmarketscom, 2018). By June 2016, the amount of funds Uber gained was about 13.8 billion dollars (Talkmarketscom, 2018). It operated in over six hundred cities in more than seventy countries (Theeastafricancoke, 2018). It has planned go to public in 2019 (Seth fiegerman, 2018).Uber stretched and developed at an incredible speed, but it ignored the potential pitfall hidden in the course of advancing triumphantly. Uber was accused for rape done by drivers, sexual harassment in the office, stolen trade secrets and other negative reports sprang up in recent years (Sirin Kale, 2016).
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This spate of incidents caused senior managers to leave, including the former CEO Travis Kalanick who resigned in June 2017 (Greg bensinger, 2018). Many people blame Uber’s disordered management for these scandals.Organization CultureIn school, students taught by same teachers and study in the classroom with identical sets of equipment act differently in various classes (Edgar H.
Schein, 2004). When someone goes past certain doors in the same street, it is easy for him or her to distinguish the difference from banks, bakeries and clothing shops. Two companies within the same industry which stand closely, their patterns in organization will not be the same.
Conversely, they may make efforts to find out a new entry point which rivals have not noticed so that they can develop it as their competitive advantage. These diverce patterns formed in organizations embody their intrinsic culture.Edgar H. Schein (2004) pointed out that culture is an intangible and invisible item. Culture cannot be touched in reality, but it has an influence on the how organisations work.
According to Schein (2004), in the past, sophisticated man were called ‘cultured’ by the amateur; experts who specialized in seeking the secret of human’s development always put this with other words like religious culture, custom culture and geographic culture (Edgar H. Schein, 2004). In recent decades, organizational investigators and managers refer culture to values and beliefs in controlling workers’ behaviors and having impact on their decisions in dealing with problems (Edgar H. Schein, 2004).
Some researchers point out that organizations with a strong culture will perform effectively (Edgar H. Schein, 2004) and has more likelihood to get sustained superior financial performance as its culture is valuable, rare and hard to be duplicated (Jay B. Barney,1986). Values published in the organization is the written manifestation of culture (why,reference).Shahnoor Khan (2016), who was a team leader at Uber, answering a question in Quora on December 11 (reference). The question was ‘what are Uber’s 14 core/ cultural values?’ while his answer was ‘make magic, superpumped, inside out, be an owner not a renter, optimistic leadership, be yourself, big bold bets, customer obsession, always be hustlin’, let builders build, winning: champion’s mindset, principled confrontation, meritocracy and toe-stepping, celebrate cities.
‘ (Beathagroupcom, 2018)These fourteen company values were the criteria guiding employees on how to deal with matters when they occurred which might be affecting their performance in the workplace.Mike Isaac, a technology reporter who is working in San Francisco bureau of The New York Times and responsible for reporting news about Facebook, Uber and Twitter, wrote an article in February 2017 called ‘Inside Uber’s Aggressive, Unrestrained Workplace Culture’ (reference). He proposed that Uber’s radical models which focus on pursuing the greatest achievements would have bad effects on the company. The fallout was that leaders or colleagues would not be punished or fired because of their excellent performance.
This shows that hierarchy is invalid in this company. No one would stay for a long time in the position because he or she might be superseded by his followers or inferiors within a short time. It seemed that the company became the main battlefield and everyone strove to fight each other to get a higher position.
It was company culture that endowed not only employees but also employers reaching goals by all means. It was also embodied in the attitude that they handled with claims from female employees about sexual harassment and crude words spit out from managers. (example)The relationship between culture and firms’ performance has been discussed by Edgar H. Schein (2004). He argued that if culture was successfully applied by a company and got more positive feedback, others would attempt to imitate its pattern (reference). However, the result for this modulation could not guarantee forming competitive advantage based on culture.
It correlated to how many companies adopt appropriate modifications toward culture and got similar results (reference). If participants were majority, the activity of adaption in this time would not result in huge change in construction (reference). If it was seldom, companies which attended in could enjoy sustainable competitive advantage (reference).
Uber and Didi had price wars in grabbing the Chinese market. Although Uber considered the diversity of culture, it was not aware of the phenomenon of brushing single(explain brushing single). In 2015, through Chinese government’s efforts and special systems designed by Didi to prevent cheating, the loss caused by brushing single was decreased(reference).
However, as an exotic company, the growth number of users and funds in Uber was not as positive as it showed in data. Especially when Didi also got an abundant of financial support from Alibaba and Tencent. Low price could not be Uber’s competitive advantage in breaking into the Chinese market. (all reference)In the last three years, with more ride-sharing companies emerging, Uber’s ambition for penetrating into other countries is impeded(reference). Taking Gett for example, it runs business in four nations, including the United Kingdom and Russia(reference). The existence of rivals means the structure of ride-sharing industry is no longer as stable as before. Uber needs to put more enegy and time to their customers in order to expand their customer base. Besides the threat from competitors, Uber also undertakes stress from various countries and districts(reference).
For protecting the benefit of local taxi industry, some national governments issued ban for letting Uber drive in their cities such as Russia, Italy and state of Alaska. Uber’s culture do not have the attribute of imperfectly imitable, so it will lose it competitive advantage if it does not find a good way to adjust to the new framework of the market.(all reference)Uber is the pioneer in ride-sharing industry.
It established in San Francisco in 2009 but now covers more than seventy countries. The rapidness of its extension derives from solid financial backing. Its attraction for persuading investors to pour into the massive funds is its ability of earning money. In order to generate the return on investment, Uber has to make sure that their performance is growing; to keep the increase of performance, it has to pour more money exceeding others into the market; to occupy more market share, it has to raise more money from investors and then it becomes circulation. Uber do not have time and energy to take care of himself in other aspects.
It is culture that develops this situation.LeadershipCulture is not an objective existence as a physical material presents in reality. It forms in the process of things going on and summarized by managers in the form of company’s core values. As the first person joins in the organization and takes part in the beginning process, founder play a pivotal role in organizational culture. In other words, organization is the outcome of founder’s thoughts.
It contains founder’s brainstorms and blueprint.Travis Kalanick, co-founder of Uber, leaving his position of CEO in June, 2017. Kalanick is a masculine with scrappy attitude. It was his characteristics that evolved special climate for the company and because of its changeless behavior, it caused a run of problems in its following development.Market is unpredictable and changing quickly in several seconds. A new comer may come into the industry with overwhelming trend and a profitable company may declare bankruptcy because of economic crisis.
Success is a ephemeral thing that should be celebrated and proud while how to keep company standing and becoming leader in the market for a long time, dozens of years or even hundreds of years are what enterpreneurs wished. Uber underwent a series of events in recent years and pushed itself into a perilous situation. Recruiting drivers with felony records and refusing to explain anything, tracing passengers with economic value, delivering a speech with sexism etc were annoying. In February of 2017, Susan Fowler, the former engineer in Uber, published an article called Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber in her blog which shocked everyone for the industry and Uber was brought to the forefront immediately.
It disclosed disrespectful treatments she had experienced at Uber, harassed by executives. As a result, related government began to investigate internal culture of Uber and executives resigned in quick succession. In June at the same year, Travis Kalanick started his unlimited vacation under the pressure from the board of directors. Jeff Jones (2017), the president of Uber, quitting his job for accusing ‘..
.the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced, so …’; Brain McClendon, Uber’s vice president of mapping, submitting his resignation at the end of March. Meanwhile, Gary Marcus (the director of Uber’s artificial intelligence lab), Charlie Miller (famous hacker responsible for program of driverless car), Ed Baker (Uber’s VP of product and growth) and Raffi Krikorian (Uber’s senior director of engineering), Emil Michael (Uber’s SVP of business) were resigned voluntarily or dismissed for violating related regulations. As many people at the top left, management of Uber became turmoil. It was urgent to look for an appropriate CEO to substitute for the former.
According to contingency approach, person should realize that he or she could not be an excellent leader in any situation. It stressed that person should be put into a position that he or she was good at. If a person was allocated in a wrong situation, it needed to change elements of working context which could be better directed by the leader or this person should be transferred into another post.Obviously, the main cause leaded Uber to mess as present was its organizational culture. Organizational culture embodied rules for a particular company how to choose leaders, for example, who would get promoted and who would be followed by subordinates. Situation control contained a point that a leader’s characteristics would not change so that it was elements of situation rather than leader’s characteristics should be changed when a leader could not exert well in a situation.
Culture developed with the company developing. It depended on complicated events the company experienced while leaders’ behaviors took a small part in forming culture. However, when a company almost lost its opportunity to exist in the industry because it failed to use culture properly, company’s leadership needed to take part in, analyse and solve the problem together.
Hence leadership had a close relationship with organizational culture.Ohio State University had conducted a research for employee-centered leadership and production-centered leadership and got a result that both could achieve excellent outcome. Obviously, under the guidance of Travis Kalanick, Uber adopted production-centered leadership. Everyone were struggling to realize his or her value to the organization by finishing a mount of incredible tasks and attempted to bypass superiors in working. Relationship was sightless in the company. Nevertheless, Korman (1966) proposed suspicion about it and claimed that the experiment could not support its result on account of less experimental groups. Contingency existed in the research done by Ohio State University.
Adam Lashinsky had uploaded an article in June of 2015 in FORTUNE CHINA, gleaning and editing comments made by five individuals who were the first batch staff of Uber. These five persons entered into billionaire list in 2015 and shared their story about how they joined in the company, what tasks they undertook at beginning and how to deal with business growth and overcome challenge for surveillance. Their experiences for joining Uber were highly similar that was ‘by accident’. Characteristics emanated from them were good to help them adapt to the technology startup. The tiny space accommodated a table only was awash in intelligence, achievement drive, enthusiasm, initiative, persistence, insightfulness and tolerance for stress every day. Each employee tried to improve the quality of his or her job in hand.
At the same time, they encouraged each other and gave advice sincerely to whom asked for help. As Austin Geidt mentioned ‘… I wasn’t super-qualified at the time…but they kind of hung on to me while I was green until I got the hang of it.
‘ This democratic leadership created a cordial and harmonious atmosphere.However, as company size became bigger and more talented people joined in the company, democratic leadership converted into laissez-faire leadership imperceptibly. Deviating from supervising and empowered to dispose work, internal management worked ineffectively and hierarchy existed in name only. In September of 2017, Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia boss, taking charge of CEO at Uber. When many reports criticized Uber’s culture, he did not totally repudiate all cultures Uber had formed but remained good, abandoning bad. He respected efforts and achievements Uber has done before. Under the condition of minefield, Khosrowshahi expressed his prospects for Uber’s future in public to calm down employees and tried to regain confidence from customers and investors.
In addition, Uber’s executives solicited ideas from employees without limitation for company’s cultures and received suggestions from over 1,200 staff. At the same time, they had more than twenty dialogues with representatives from Human Resource Organizations and international branches.Relationship-oriented was what this technology company missed before. Except complains from external, employees also were tired of outdated cultures. Khosrowshahi adopted participative leadership to build relationship with staff and facilitated them to get involved in forging a better company. The higher staff engaged in giving counsels for company, the stronger they acquired the sense of ownership. Ownership drove people willing to contribute themselves to the organization and increased their efficiency. ConclusionThis essay analyzed Uber’s culture and leadership through integrating online news with theoretical knowledge.
The models and theories used in this essay were contingency approach. Founder’s behaviors became company’s value and leadership employed inappropriately were significant mistakes made by a company. It alerted that leaders should notice their ways of managing company in different period and change their approaches to adjust to the changeable marketing. The restriction for Uber moving forward was its poor public relations which was reluctant to handle with the events submitted by employees, customers and others. Although it was wise to convert disadvantages into advantage sometimes in verbal form, it failed to carry out exact measures to satisfy customer’s benefits. Unsolved problems amassed and would explode one day, so solving problems in the first place was vital to keep company going in a stable way.
Implementing an open and transparent system could help the perilous company pull through, no matter how rigorous the inspection was. Furthermore, safety loophole also needed to be considered to update.Because of my limited knowledge and have never been working at Uber, this essay must exist some deficiencies. My reacts to Uber changed a lot when I searched reports related to Uber.
In Uber’s early-stage, it seemed passionate and ambitious; however, in recent years, it became rotten. These are my understandings and I am very glad to share them in this essy.