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Take Home Assessment


Case Study : My Holiday the ‘V’ way

One day, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson received an excited e-mail from his
daughter. She had read a newspaper article talking about a new vacation policy that
seemed like just the thing for Virgin. According to this policy, all salaried staff are
permitted to take leave whenever they want and for as long as they want. Employees
need no prior approval and absolutely no one is keeping track of their holidays. If
they feel like taking time off for a day, a week, or even a month, it is up to them to
decide—on one condition. They need to be 100 percent sure their absence does not
harm their company in any way. As a consequence, they have to be certain that they
and their team are up-to-date on every project.

Modern technology has radically changed the world and that includes our working day.
Since the arrival of smart phones, laptops and tablets, we actually carry the office
around in our briefcases and pockets. We receive job-related e-mails and text
messages anytime and anywhere, often expecting and indeed getting a prompt
response. Although people might not realize it very much, their work has overtaken
their free time and private lives. Thus, it is hard to tell precisely when people do or do
not work. With companies no longer able to accurately track people’s time on the job,
why track people’s time off the job? It was this point exactly that convinced Richard

Branson to introduce the new vacation policy within the Virgin businesses, from
entertainment and airline companies to hotels and banking. Other businesses that did
the same experienced a boost in productivity, creativity, and morale. Adjusting to new
developments and challenging situations seems the right thing to do for leaders who
strive to successfully launch their organizations into the future.
Sources: R. Branson, The Virgin Way: How to Listen, Learn, Laugh and Lead (Virgin Books, 2014); P. Hersey and K.H. Blanchard,
So You Want to Know Your Leadership Style? Training and Development Journal 28, no. 2 (1974): 22–37; J. Mesu, K. Sanders,
and M. Van Riemsdijk, “Transformational Leadership and Organisational Commitment in Manufacturing and Service Small to
Medium-Sized Enterprises: The Moderating Effects of Directive and Participative Leadership,” Personnel Review 44, no. 6
(2015): 970–90; R.J. House, “A Path-Goal Theory of Leader Effectiveness,” Administrative Science Quarterly 16, no. 3 (1971):
321–39; R.J. House, “Path-Goal Theory of Leadership: Lessons, Legacy, and a Reformulated Theory,” Leadership Quarterly
(Fall 1996): 353; B.M. Bass and R.E. Riggio, Transformational Leadership. Mahwah (New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,

Question 1 (40 marks)

a) Do you expect Virgin’s new vacation policy to work within all organizations? Why
or why not?

(10 marks)

b) Path-goal theory suggests leaders adjust their behavior to people’s locus of control.
Considering Branson’s new policy, which locus of control does he suppose his employees
to have? Why?

(20 marks)

(c) Some people might consider Virgin’s policy to be a sign of laissez-faire leadership.
Do you agree? Why or why not?

(10 marks)

SECTION B (60 marks)


Question 1 (30 marks)

a) Social loafing occurs when people exert less effort (and usually perform at a lower
level) when working in teams than when working alone. Under what circumstances
does social loafing become prominent? How can it be minimized? Discuss.

(20 marks)

b) Team norms are the informal rules and shared expectations that groups establish to
regulate the behavior of their members How are they developed in an
organization? Explain.

(10 marks)

Question 2 (30 marks)

a) A four-drive theory is a motivation theory based on the innate drives to acquire,

bond, learn and defend that incorporates both emotions and rationality. Briefly
describe four-drive theory, and explain how drives influence employee motivation.
(15 marks)

b) A person’s needs can be strengthened or weakened through reinforcement, learning

and social conditions. Discuss any two "learned" needs of the learned needs theory
examined by McClelland.
(15 marks)

Question 3 (30 marks)

a) Organizational politics are behaviours that others perceive as self-serving tactics at
the expense of other people and possibly the organizations. Describe the conditions
that support organizational politics.
(20 marks)

b) Influence is an essential process through which people coordinate their effort and
act in concert to achieve organizational objectives. Describe how people react to
influence attempts?
(10 marks)