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Case Study: Disaster at the Bakery
The fire at the bakery was a disaster for T & S Provisions Ltd. Eli Taranto, the chief executive, had been called by the fire services officer, at 3 a.m. ‘The whole building is up in flames – we have not been able to save anything,’ he had shouted down the phone. The next day, as Eli waited for his staff to turn up for work outside the burnout bakery, he was starting to form a plan. He contacted his friend who owned a small competing bakery and the estate agent from whom he had bought the land for the bakery four years ago. The bakery owner agreed to allow Eli to use one of his spare ovens if he sent his own workers to operate it. This would give him about 50% of his normal capacity. The estate agent suggested that Eli rent an empty depot on the other side of town for three months. He thought it would take around two weeks to have this equipped as a temporary bakery. When workers started to arrive, Eli gave them clear instructions. They were shocked by the state of the building, but they were willing to help in this crisis. Six of them were sent to the friend’s bakery to start organizing production. Two were sent to the vacant depot and had instructions to start cleaning the premises. The remaining three workers were to help Eli salvage what he could from the office records of the burnout building. Before this could start, Eli telephoned all of his major customers – he did not leave it to his sales manager – to explain the extent of the problem and to promise that some production would be back on stream as soon as possible. He then contacted suppliers to inform them of the disaster, to reduce order sizes and give them the new, temporary address for deliveries.

  1. Outline the characteristics of an autocratic leadership style.
  2. Explain why an autocratic leadership style would be suitable in this situation.

3. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Eli Tarranto using an autocratic leadership style.

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