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Case Title:

Clash of Political Leadership Styles: Barack Obama vs Hillary Clinton

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: J Thadamalla, D Parmar and K Suresh

Industry: General Business


Case Code: LDS0036IRC

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment:  Not Available

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The 2008 US Presidential primaries saw candidates from the Democratic party, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in serious contention, with different leadership styles. Their approaches reflected competing theories of 'managerial' and 'transformational' leadership styles. Hillary Clinton's approach was visionary, but she also believed in controlling and ensuring that policies were implemented faithfully. Barack Obama's approach was by providing vision, judgement and inspiration. He believed in delegating responsibilites and bringing about change by consensus. Some management experts felt that a micromanaging approach has seldom been effective in bringing about change. Consensus building and helping people to achieve common goals was perceived to be effective in change management. The case initiates discussion on different leadership styles and their impact on change management.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the complex dynamics that led to the failure of the US health care reforms of 1993
  • To analyse the leadership styles of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
  • To understand the impact of leadership styles on change management.

Keywords : Leadership, Change management, US presidential primaries, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Democratic party, Managerial approach, Transformational approach, Clinton health care reform of 1993, US health care system, Personality traits, Health management organisations

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