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Leading Organisation Case Study

The case study focuses on Robin Chase, CEO of Zipcar which is a car sharing company. As a founder of the company, she had a vision to introduce a ne concept in the market that will revolutionize the car sharing services[1]. When the idea was first passed to her, she made various consultations with individuals that she believed would help by giving her great insights. She also consulted her future clients about the company’s name. She hired people that she believed had the right skills to help in the growth of the company. However, the company went through financial troubles that threatened its existence.

Chase’s strengths and Weaknesses as a leader


First, Chase was a proactive leader when it came to her approach. She was involved in planning and improving team works from the start[2]. As a leader, Chase took time to plan how she wanted her team to be. Therefore, she took the initiative of putting a team together that she believed would help in achieving the company’s mission. Proactive behaviour involves self-initiated efforts to implement change to the environment[3]. Chase would take risks and was actively involved in growing the company. As a proactive leader, she was able to carry-out research about the car sharing idea globally. She did not limit her ideas to the local business environment.

Another strength was she was a transformational leader. The leadership approach is characterized with working with the team members to identify change[4]. Also, a transformational leader works with the team to create a vision to guide in the change process through inspiration. As a leader, chase worked closely with her team to find solutions that would help grow the company[5]. She would help find solutions to diverse issues in the company. For instance, managerial issues and developing a great business approach.

Another strength was that she was a transparent leader. She ensured that she involved her team in the decisions she made towards achieving the company’s vision. As a leader, she ensured that her team members understood the undertakings of the company[6]. For instance, she involved them in developing the company’s technology that will help in attaining the company’s vision.

Additionally, she is an interactive leader, she worked directly with her team members. She ensured that she kept in touch with her team members from the start[7]. She inspired her employees to achieve great results. Chase also made sure that she treated the employees right at all times.

As a leader she took time to research on the pricing model. Rather than relying on one approach, she assessed diverse models used in the car sharing industry. Chase later settled on a common model that she believed would work-well for her company. Individuals were required to pay a deposit of $300 and a yearly membership fee of $50[8]. She also approached a professional concerning the pricing model.

Moreover, as a leader she kept in-touch with the clients. She had great communication skills which helped the company in attaining its vision. She communicated with the Zipcar’s members directly[9]. She maintained that she needed to instill a sense of trust among the clients. Chase wanted people to understand the business culture and the person behind the company.


Nevertheless, she had her weaknesses in her leadership style. First, she had weaknesses on how she hired her team. She hired individuals that did not have previous knowledge of the industry. Chase hired people based on what she expected from them. For instance, when she hired Oakley, she seemed not to have assessed his skills appropriately[10]. She hired him based on the idea she had for him. She had an idea that he was a numbers person. She also hired individuals from different business sector. For example, she hired a team member from the hotel industry,

Another weakness that she made when hiring her team, is that some employees were not given specific roles. Although she felt that it was a good idea, as a start-up she needed to highlight every person’s role. For example, when he hired Slotnick, she did not give him a specific role[11]. However, his focus was on business development, marketing as well as post-launch.

Moreover, she made miscalculated the business performance which negatively affected the company. For example, she made bad timing for fundraising[12]. Although initially, she had successfully fundraised money she started fundraising when the dot.com bubble of the late 1990s had started to collapse. The market was falling and this did not present a good future for the start-up.

Factors that led to her miscalculations

One of the factors that led to her miscalculations is that she had high expectations of the car sharing industry. Chase believed that she was introducing a new business model that differentiated itself from other companies. Although she made various consultations before launching her business, it appeared that she used more money than she anticipated. For example, she wanted her cars to be unique and more technologically inclined[13]. It meant that she would use more money than she expected to achieve her goal. By the time she was launching the company, she had borrowed more money from investors and in case her business did not make enough profit she could not pay back.  

As a CEO I would take the initiative to employee a team that understood the car sharing industry. Although, the aim was to create a company that differentiated itself from others, it was important to hire a few people who comprehended the industry[14]. My approach would mostly focus on the hiring skilled individuals and generating a pricing model that would help in attaining the company’s vision. I would also invest highly on the employees as they play an important role in attaining the company’s goal. I would also focus on a pricing model that would match the company’s unique approach. It is important for start-up to conserve cash flow to avoid bankruptcy. Mainly, start-ups face high uncertainties of the demand conditions when investing[15]. One of the uncertainties is the response of the clients. It appeared that the responsiveness of the clients did not match Chase’s expectations. It was important for her to carry out a market survey as it would help her understand the market and assess the response of the clients.


As the CEO of Zipcar, Chase was determined to ensure that the company achieved its vision. She was involved in the decision-making process. She ensured that she understood her team and involved them in implementing change. However, she made diverse mistakes that nearly costed the company. She had bad hiring practices that affected the company.


Ancona, Deborah, and Cate Reavis. “Robin Chase, Zipcar and an Inconvenient Discovery Strengths Leader,” July 25, 2014.

Top of Form

Mobley, William H., Ming Li, and Ying Wang. Advances in Global Leadership – Volume 6.

2011.  Emerald Publishing Limited.

Top of Form

Vaidya, Rajesh. Soul of a Transformational Leader: Power-Tools and Concepts of

Transformational Leadership. 2014.

Xia, Bing, Richard Y. K. Fung, and Ju’e Guo. “Quality Investing and Pricing Strategies by Startups: Impacts of Demand Uncertainties and Capital Constraint.” Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society 4 (2018): 1–13.

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