Meg Whitman’s Leadership at eBay Essay

Today’s extremely arduous business environment compels leaders to implement radical changes within their organizations. For instance, to promote the company’s steady development, Meg Whitman, the former president and CEO of eBay Inc., initiated transformations that corresponded to the organization’s objectives and market-associated challenges. This paper will discuss Meg Whitman’s leadership and measures undertaken through the lenses of Kotter’s Eight-Step Approach to beneficial organizational transformations.

Correspondence of Meg Whitman’s Leadership to Stage 2 of Kotter’s Eight-Step Process for Creating Major Change

In conformity with Kotter’s recommendations, Stage 2 of the Eight-Step Process for Creating Major Change involves the creation of the guiding coalition (Manning and Curtis 167). For example, having realized that more experienced marketing executives were needed to ensure eBay’s viable transformations, Meg Whitman put together a group of experts in marketing, brand positioning, customer services, and law practice (Hill and Farkas 280). Such highly skilled professionals as Brian Swette, the former chief marketing officer of Pepsi-Cola, Scott Cook, the founder of Intuit Inc., Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks Corporation, and Michael Jacobson, a partner of Cooley Godward LLP, joined eBay Inc. (Hill and Farkas 281). Leadership skills, experience, high proficiency level, and competence were the guiding principles of the recruitment and selection of these professionals.

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There is an example of Meg Whitman’s measures aimed at getting the guiding coalition “to work together like a team” (Manning and Curtis, 167). In order to promote active collaboration and so-called “team spirit” between members of the senior management team, Meg Whitman initiated discussions concerning decision-making. EBay’s executives debated all strategic steps (Hill and Farkas 282). Although they were like-minded persons, some disputes occurred. However, the senior managers were ready to change for constructive business transformations.

Implementation of Step 5 of Kotter’s Eight-Step Process for Creating Major Change by Meg Whitman

Empowering Broad-Based Action is Stage 5 of Kotter’s Eight-Step Process for Creating Major Change (Manning and Curtis 167). To ensure positive changes, Meg Whitman also implemented this step. For instance, in 1999, she got rid of such obstacles to eBay’s beneficial transformations as the community safety issues and possible frauds by introducing innovative protection services for the company customers (Hill and Farkas 284). Also, Whitman and the cohesive team of the senior managers modified practices that could undermine eBay’s change vision by instituting proactive corporate policies (Hill and Farkas 273).

Discussion of Other Transformations Initiated by Meg Whitman

Experimentation, innovative approaches, a thorough assessment of internal and external determinants, and steady movement towards a specific vision are features specific to Meg Whitman’s leadership style. For the benefits of the company, she consistently applied other steps of Kotter’s Approach to changes. For example, she examined the internal environment, market conditions, and competitive landscape before deciding on the acquisition of new assets; that measure is in line with Step 1 (Manning and Curtis 167). Another example of Kotter’s recommendations is evident during Stage 3. To streamline and strengthen the organization, Meg Whitman and the senior managers developed “a clear corporate vision: to be the world’s largest online person-to-person trading community” (Hill and Farkas 280). The example of Step 4 is Meg Whitman’s communication of the Change Vision via every available vehicle (Manning and Curtis 167). Every quarter, she conducted meetings with the staff to examine business situations and discuss prospects for further transformations (Hill and Farkas 280). In line with Step 6 of Kotter’s Approach, Meg Whitman increased investments in the company’s system capacity and improved the structure of engineering transformations (Hill and Farkas 278). The process of change was seamless.


In conclusion, the examples in the case study testify to the effectiveness of the application of Kotter’s Eight-Step Process for Creating Major Change. Leading the organization following this approach, Meg Whitman ensured increased eBay’s performance. Consistently implementing beneficial organizational transformations, she avoided potential threats.

Works Cited

Hill, Linda A., and Maria Farkas. “Meg Whitman at eBay Inc. (A).” Harvard Business School Case 401024, Harvard Business School Publishing, 2005, pp. 272–89.

Manning, George, and Kent Curtis. The Art of Leadership. 5th ed., McGraw-Hill Education, 2014.

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