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Uber Kalanicks Tumultuous Era Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
1739 1181 Words (6 Pages) Robert Eames Ivey Publishing : W18144
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Uber is a transportation service which allows its passengers to book rides through the Uber app on their phones. Considered synonymous to taxis, it is an effective means of transport available in around 633 cities (Gil, 2019). With its headquarters in San Francisco, it has an estimated 75 million riders and 3 million drivers with approximately 15 million trips completed each day. The number of employees in 2017 was 16,000 (Uber, 2017).

Following questions are answered in this case study solution

  1. Introduction and Problem Statement

  2. Analysis of the Problem

  3. Alternative Solutions

  4. Recommended Action Plan

Case Analysis for Uber Kalanicks Tumultuous Era

Uber's organizational culture can be deemed responsible for engulfing the company into various scandals ranging from sexual harassment to ill-treatment of its drivers by the setting up of a low wage ceiling. There is also an efficient leadership deficit in Uber. Kalanick’s leadership was characterized by low wage payment of Uber’s drivers and tampering with behavioral psychology techniques to manipulate drivers into working longer hours without a decent wage. This leadership attitude had a trickle-down effect which affected the culture of Uber at the lower levels of the organizational hierarchy as well (Corman, 2019). Furthermore, a lack of deference to law and ethical violations characterized by dishonest practices (such as the use of Greyball software by Uber) related to not just employees but also passengers is also a major problem that has adversely affected the brand image of Uber (Geradin, 2015).

2. Analysis of the Problem

Uber’s scandalous handling of its employees and evading law and regulations has significantly reduced consumer confidence in the brand proved by the fact that a brand switch towards alternatives of Uber, such as Lyft, has been noticed (Graham, 2018). Uber's leadership deficit can be viewed as a forerunner to the intolerant and discriminatory organizational culture of the service. This has not only resulted in the loss of market share of Uber and negative publicity such as the #deleteUber campaign but also led to high turnover rates of Uber's employees. A lack of ethical regulations in Uber, including the use and monitoring of customer data through Greyball software, have long term implications for the company as the lost brand image is difficult to be recovered. Marginalization based on gender, as in Uber, with a patriarchal structure and female employees coming out with lawsuits charging Uber's leaders for harassment, has considerable negative implications for the brand. The utter lack of deference to law by Uber has resulted in numerable setbacks for the company. Facing various probes for violating taxi and traffic laws, price transparency laws, intellectual property theft, Uber has faced major revenue loss (Newcomer, 2017), reduced investment and a shift of the target market towards Uber’s alternatives. The business model of Uber, however, remains intact as it is based on convenience and fast service in accordance with the consumer demand. Therefore, the problem lies not with the business model of Uber, but the toxic organizational culture, lack of compliance to the law, ethical violations and leadership deficit.

3. Alternative Solutions

Solution 1: Uber can break away from its dominant patriarchal structure by giving important leadership positions to females. With the empathy element, studies reveal that women are better leaders than men (Mejia, 2017) and can positively impact organizational culture. Women score higher than men on numerous variables including self-development, relationship development, effective communication, development of others, competency, teamwork etc. This will help Uber reconstruct its brand image positively after the various harassment allegations leveled on Uber’s leaders by women employees. However, this would require a major shift in the attitudes of Uber’s employees and demand a more tolerant culture and deference towards colleagues irrespective of gender.

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