As CEO of BMG International, Gassner had the most positional power (including formal authority and centrality in networks both internal and external to BMG International) of any individual in the organization, but in his role as leader of the executive committee, he relied heavily on his personal sources of power in order to exercise influence within the group. His personal resources of power included his:
Track record. Gassner had continued to build his track record of success as CEO of MBG International. In only six years, he had grown the business from 17 to 37 countries, increased revenues annually 20%, and increased international market share from 11% to 17%.
Expertise. Gassner arrived at BMG with substantial career expertise in the international music business and he continued to expand his knowledge within BMG. According to one MD describing Gassner during the business plan reviews, “Rudi knows the business inside and out, and he has an amazing grasp of the details. When he is going through these plans, he will go into particular line items if he wants to.” Gassner’s knowledge and grasp of the details earned him credibility with both the MDs and the members of the committee.
Attractiveness. Gassner had an easy, charismatic style and attractiveness allowed him to develop easily another source of power—his strong network within the organization industry. The case notes that he had cultivated the trust of managing directors and local employees and kept in touch with them frequently, “just to double check that my messages come through.” He nurtured a similar network with artists, agents, and others throughout the music industry
Rudi Gassner is a very effective leader. His leadership style can best be described as a transactional one although he also displays some qualities of transformational leadership. His transactional leadership characteristics are displayed within a decision to prepare a yearly business plan for each Managing and Regional Director. His focus on clarifying goals and providing rewards and bonuses contingent on performance is a typical behavior associated with transactional leaders. He also displayed a sets of leader behaviors associated with transformational leadership, such as inspirational motivation, idealized influence, individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation. His great vision for the future of the company; his ability to instill his values and vision in the subordinates; his provision of career counseling to some underperforming subordinates; and his continued advice to his direct reports to make decisions by themselves taking full responsibility for them are some good examples of the above mentioned sets of transformational leaders behavior he displayed at BMG international.
Amazingly enough, Rudi Gassner has most of the positive leadership traits identified by researchers. For example as it is described in the case: he is intelligent (understands the industry inside-out), he is self-confident, determined and has high ethical integrity.
Power and Influence Tactics
Rudi Gassner is a very powerful person. This can be explained by the variety of bases of power he has at his disposal. He used his power in the most appropriated manner in different circumstances to effectively influence his subordinates and obtain the desired result. For example, he used his reward power to urge his subordinates exceed the challenging annual targets with a promise of getting an attractive bonus; he used his extensive experience and