In an interview, Meg Whitman describes the company and site, Auction Classifieds, when she went to interview for the job of CEO. Today, Ebay is one of the great success stories of internet commerce with over 10 million registered users, 224 million in revenue, and most important for an e-business an actual income of 10.8 million.
Meg Whitman indicates that leaving the land-based economy for the internet has meant being a pioneer by creating an entirely new global marketplace at the beginning of an internet revolution. Whitman attributes the womanly aspect of being a consensus oriented manager–being raised to build consensus, be a team player, not be ego driven, and happy to have other people take credit for things has proven to be effective in the Ebayenvironment. Whitman is noted for living a simple life such as driving a Jeep and living in a simple house with a couple of kids. She says that what drives her to keep working is that she loves what she does in helping to build Ebay into a company she thinks it can be or the next chapter in the Ebay story.
As mom, Meg Whitman, says that her success has meant making some real and difficult sacrifices. She says her biggest regret is not spending as much time with the kids. She admits she missed certain parts of their development and wasn’t there to see some of the really fun things they did. She concurs that such time can never be gotten back and that those tradeoffs are there for people like her. She says when children are at the ages of 1 and 3 or 2 and 5 there is a lot of guilt for not being there so you have to love what you do. Her first advice to young women coming out of college or business school is that you find something that you love because you will do better at it and it will make making those tradeoffs a bit easier. She doesn’t believe that men worry about such issues as much because they may have stay at home wives which is an incredible support system allowing them to focus perhaps 100% of their efforts on their career. She believes that, as a women, you can have a wonderful life but you must decide what tradeoffs you are willing to make which is different for every single person. She firmly says she would do it over again.
Please also do further research in Whitman and answer the questions below and provide an example to each question. Please provide references for your examples, whenever necessary.
- In what ways did Meg Whitman’s characteristics and the orientations resulting from them contribute to her effectiveness as CEO at eBay? Provide an example.
- How is Meg Whitman appropriate for a top management team?
- What do you think would be Whitman’s approach to human capital?
- How important is social capital to the success of eBay?
- What was the organizational culture like at eBay during Meg Whitman’s time as CEO? Is there evidence that an entrepreneurial mind-set was part of that culture? If so, what is that evidence?
II. What might strategic leaders do to develop and sustain effective organizational culture?