Operations Management Summary

Operations Management Summary


A leader is not necessarily determined by the ability to perform well, but the decision that he makes in trying times (Polelle, 2008). Faced with a decision between helping poor people and making some profits for investors, Vagelos decides to help people. Cristiani demonstrates that people can have a difference in opinion because they have actually never sat down and listened to each other. Leadership is about making the right decision and making it happen until the end. The right decision is always known to us, but at times as leaders, we may choose to ignore it and listen to other people’s opinion s that may be misguiding (Polelle, 2008).

What are the challenges and obstacles?
  1. Peer pressure– as a leader it is good to listen to other people’s opinions and advice but the final decision should be yours. It should be based on your critical analysis of the situation. Vagelos demonstrates that he made the decision without thinking if it were someone else making it.
  2. Lack of support– sometimes the right decision is the one that has the least support from people, but as a leader, it is your role to make that decision and stand by it regardless of the situation.
  3. Listening to all sides– at times people may seem like they are not willing to listen to reason, but it is mostly because they feel that their opinions are not being listened to.
  4. Cost-benefit analysis– at times it may seem like the benefit of the right decision are less than what it costs to forego the less appealing decision, but in the end, it is not about the money that one made in a lifetime, it is about the lives that they touched in a positive way. At times nonfinancial gain like improved PR is better for an enterprise as compared to financial gain. This is because it builds the brand and a strong brand name can be able to withstand any financial crunch in an economy because it can easily get financial funding.
  5. Focusing on long term benefits versus short term benefits– at times as a leader, the best thing is to focus on the long term effects of a decision as opposed to the short term earnings. This is because good decisions are bigger than a regime because they change the lives of the people.
 Assess the health impact and capacity building of the program

When Vagelos decided to give the river blindness medication for free to the people, it had great effects on their health. A blind person more often than not is a dependant. When the victims of the disease stop being dependants then they can easily be able to cater to their needs and medical requirements.

To the West African people

With proper vision, the people in the West African country could be able to achieve to their maximum capacity. The health of the people was improved, this paved the way to increase in proper labor as a factor of production. At the same time, a healthy population creates a better market for the goods and services offered.

To the industry globally

At the same time, the actions of the leader to give the drugs for free opened a door for other corporations to be able to reach out to the needs of the people. The corporation was able to improve its public image and attracted more investment than it would have if the drug was to be sold to the poor people in Africa. The corporation was also able to reach its maximum capacity by increasing in terms of market share control.

What are the implications for the future access program?

The drug is to be given for free to the people forever. The implication is first of all that the program ensures that people will not lose their sight. In case the worms that cause river blindness becomes resistant to the drug, then finding a corporation to improve on the quality of the drug is easier as the foundation has already been set by the corporation.

What are the lessons learned?
  • Businesses have a moral responsibility to society. This is a lesson that Vagelos teaches each and every manager and leader out there. Even though businesses are started on the basis of financial gain, managers should not overlook that we live in a social world where dependency is based on having today and lacking tomorrow.
  • Personal responsibilities will always form part of all the decisions people make. Vagelos allowed his moral conviction to help make a decision that ended up helping millions of people who were ailing.
  • Short term benefits can never outdo long term benefits. Vagelos was able to kill two birds with one stone. He made a socially responsible decision of helping people, while at the same time he ensured that the sponsors and investors do not lose their capital.
  • Unity does not mean similarity, but our differences can bring us together. This is because Cristiani was able to bring diversified people together to become one. In the famous words of Emile Durkheim, cohesion in a society is not based on similarity but is based on differences that create interdependence (Bellah, 1973).
  • Problems will have solutions; the problem that people have is who gains from the embraced solution and who loses. The loser will never agree with the decision regardless of how economical the decision may be.




Bellah, N. R. Durkheim, E. (1973). Emile Durkheim on Morality and Society, Oxford University Press, New York

Polelle, M. R. (2008). Leadership: Fifty Great Leaders and the Worlds they Made, Springer Publishers

The Leadership Moment; Roy Vagelos The drug was needed only by people who couldn’t afford it. Retrieved from www.knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/artist

The Leadership Moment; Alfredo Cristiani, The New Face of Right, Retrieved from:



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