Don Vito Corleone's Autocratic Leadership

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Without Don Vito Corleone’s autocratic leadership, his multimillion dollar mafia empire would have been destroyed the second the bullet penetrated his body. Looking past the moral corruptions, murderous rampages, and severed horse heads, The Godfather movie provided valuable lessons in strategic planning for the long-term survival of an organization through strong leadership. By analyzing several scenes, we can determine that Don Vito was the single leader, with unwavering loyal followers, and his autocratic leadership style led to successful handling of dire situations. After the failed assassination attempt, Don Vito realized that a successor with similar values as his needed to groomed.
As an autocratic leader, “one who tends to centralize
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Grooming his sons Sonny, Fredo, and Michael to eventually take over the business, he wanted each of them to be a “critical, independent thinker and active in the organization” (Daft, 2015 p. 200). Don Vito served the best interest of his organization, which was evident when he decided not get into the drug business. Though money would have increased exponentially for his organization, he was preserving his employee’s future needs. Deeply entwined with politicians, lawmakers, and high profile business people, Don Vito was setting the example for all his current and future employees to follow. Surrounded by corruption, Don Vito was determined to keep his own organization running smoothly while taking care of his family. This was clear in the scene when he met with all the heads of the mafia family and negotiates a truce immediately after the death of his eldest son, Sonny. The Don warns, “you are talking about vengeance. Will vengeance bring your son back to you? Or my boy to me? I forgo the vengeance of my son” (Ruddy & Coppola, 1972). By having the courage to not seek vengeance and ask for peace, this pivotal moment was when Vito Corleone gained support from his followers while tactfully transitioning power to his other son, Michael. With Michael left to run the organization, The Don “knew that honesty and the integrity of the personnel surrounding the leader ensure loyalty to the organization” (Scarnati, 2002). The Don’s peace offering solidified loyalty to the Corleone organization and his future replacement,

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