Comparison of Decathlon and Emirates Airlines

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Executive summary

This report explores the similarities and differences of Decathlon and Emirates Airlines in terms of planning, leading and motivation. Starting with planning, we dive into the several plans that both companies have created respectively as well as explain the importance of why these companies should plan. In leading, we discuss leadership theory, style, sources of power and the two companies' CEO's managerial roles. Lastly with motivation, we talk about how both CEOs motivate their employees with reference to the different motivational theories and also recommend means as to how to better motivate their employees.

In closing, this report will delve into the processes, details and styles of both companies.

Background information

Decathlon Group

Decathlon was founded in 1976 in Lille, France by Michel Leclercq. In 1999, Decathlon opened their first store in Surrey Quays. Under the leadership of its current Chief Executive Officer, Michel Aballea, Decathlon now boasts an impressive 82,171 employees and turned over 12.8 Billion (as of 2017) and can be considered a sporting goods giant among its competitors.

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With over 1400 outlets in 45 countries, the company strives to have as many sports equipment available in each of their outlets, fulfilling their mission of making "sport accessible to as many people as we can." Decathlon aims to be a sustainable company, making efforts in reducing its emissions and making their employees work in a conducive environment. Decathlon made themselves unique by having their own Passion Brands, that they create, design and manufacture while offering their own products and services.


Emirates was established in March of 1985, it is one of the a major airlines in the Middle East and also a national airline of Dubai.

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Emirates is ranked 4th for the top 20 best airlines in the world. In the early days, Emirates flew its first route out of Dubai with just two aircrafts, a leased Boeing 737 and an Airbus 300 B4. Emirates is a globally influential travel and tourism leader, with a fleet of more than 265 aircrafts, Emirates fly over 155 destinations in more than 80 countries around the world. Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the president of Dubai as well as the CEO and chairman of the Emirates Group. Emirates ambition is to make Dubai a global hub for innovation and development to adapt the change and transition to a knowledge-based economy. Furthermore, they continually improve their services by offering their customers the comforts of the latests and the most efficient wide-body in the skies.



Operating plan

When Decathlon pledged to keep their product's prices as low as possible, they set aside part of the company's budget in order to build research and development facilities scattered around in France. In addition, they have branched out in establishing their own subsidiary brands, the iconic Quecha brand bag, donned by many Singaporeans is one of Decathlon's many daughter companies. Having this many brands and facilities allows Decathlon to not only innovate new patents but also lets them manufacture a large portion of their products. This allows them to keep their production costs low, thus allowing them to sell affordable products for their customers. As a result, the prices of their bags can cost as little as $3.90 all whilst keeping the quality at a respectable standard.

Standing plan

It is a common sight to see customers probing and examining Decathlon's products whenever one enters any of their stores, this is a worldwide policy employed by Decathlon. Ever since the company's conception, all of Decathlon stores have been actively encouraging their customers to test and try the products before purchasing them. This is a trait exclusive to Decathlon as they use it to gain the trust of their customers and that also allows them to set themselves apart from their competitors. And seeing that this policy affects all of Decathlon stores during its operational hours, it is categorised as a standing plan as customers are trying out Decathlon's products daily.

Specific plan

Decathlon has specific plans to reduce their impact on environmental pollution. In the next few years Decathlon will slowly implement an Eco-labelling scoring system. This allows them to keep track of how their environmentally sustainable their products are. Along with environmental consciousness in mind, Decathlon aims to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions by looking for alternative ways to transport their goods. In Europe, they aim to completely avoid transporting their products by air as it is their main contributor to the CO2 ­emissions. Because Decathlon was able to zero in on the transport method that caused the most air pollution, and came up with the scoring system, there is no chance of misinterpreting their plans hence this plan is classified as a specific plan.

Emirates Airlines

Operating plan

Emirates has a plethora of job applications to their company every year, to ensure that only the most suitable employees are selected and placed in the right vocations, the Human Resource department is tasked to pick candidates that best fit the description for each one of their positions in the company. For instance an extraverted candidate is more likely to be selected for the job of a flight attendant than an introverted candidate. This guarantees that the candidate is well prepared for the job and also ensures that Emirates is able to maintain their image of high quality customer service. Because the Human Resource department are specifically instructed on how to pick the best candidates for the job position, this can be classified as an operating plan.

Directional plan

In line with environmental efforts, one of Emirates plans aims to reduce their water consumption by dry washing their aircraft, which saves them about 11 litres of water per year. This allows them to be more conservative in how they utilise their resources. A plan directional plan as it sets out general guidelines for the company to focus on, so , managers are not locked into specific goals or course of action of completing the task. As Emirates aims to carry out this plan for the years ahead to reduce water consumption, this plan falls under directional planning as it is used to handle events that re-occur frequently.

Single-use plan

In order to promote one of Emirates' long standing partners, Emirates planned a campaign that the connectivity of Dubai hub. With an upbeat soundtrack from the iconic rock band Queen in the background, the cinematographic campaign hopes to ignite the flames for their passenger's innate desire for travel and hunger to experience the world by showcasing the scenic compilations of the world-class airport of Dubai, the campaign hopes to garner more tourists to visit Dubai. This is a single use plan as it caters to a one off occasion of giving more publicity to Dubai's airport.

Importance of planning

Failure to plan is planning to fail, thus it is a quintessential process that influences the success of a company. Setting goals veers them in the right direction, and is a key source of motivation for employees and employer alike. Planning also helps to determine a company's place in the market wherein if a plan is good, it gives employees a target to strive for, making sure that the collective efforts of the employees helps the company in market domination. Furthermore, planning helps ensure the safety of the company as a company can set criterions that disallow the employees from falling below a set standard.


Leadership Theory

The Blake and Mouton's Managerial Grid is based off on evaluating a leader's concern on two aspects of behaviour, the concern for people and the concern for results. The concern for people shows the extent in which the leaders assesses his employees' areas of improvement together with their needs and interests. On the other hand, the concern for results shows how the leader sets goals for the company in order to produce the bests results; be it in the employees productivity or accomplishing the company's set KPI for the year.


Michel Aballea has adopted the Blake & Mouton's Managerial Grid theory. On the managerial grid Decathlon is on a 9,9 (on high concern for people and high concern for production) which is the team management style. This team management style is about committed people and interdependence through a trustable system the company has which forms trustable and respectful relationships. He focuses a lot on their staff's personal growth in their career development as well as social, mental and emotional well-being of the staff's work life. As Michel Aballea prioritises the personal and professional fulfilments of employees, they dedicate responsibilities to every staff to substantiate both commitment and their jollity at work. In 2016, 88% of the staff felt that they have thrived through responsibilities and the goal of decathlon is bring the figure up to 100% by 2019. 91% of the teammates rated that they were happy to come to work which shows that the company makes the staff feel good about themselves and that they feel good working for Decathlon. Michel Aballea has also focused on staff's personal growth in the company by sending female workers for female leadership workshops and for staff above the age of 55, they undergo training that educates them on how to be a good mentor.


Blake and Mouton's Managerial Grid

Emirates' CEO Sheikh Ahmed adopts the Blake and Mouton's Managerial Grid to manage and run his company as to aid in achieving the goals of his employees by giving directions and supporting his employees, ensuring that his employees goals are also in line with the company's overall goals. Sheikh Ahmed actively focuses on his staff's emotional wellbeing, leaning towards "Team Management" on the managerial grid he is likely to have a score of (9,9) as he does send his staff on occasional career improvement programmes while maintaining a high level of task fulfilment. The Managerial Grid (Blake and Mouton) about concerning for their people, is the trait of a leader who cares about the people who work for him. Unlike other airlines, Emirates allows its pursers and flight deck crew to fly in Business or First Class. CAT A / ID 90 Flights: employees have unlimited number of tickets with 90% discount (on standby) and also offered to immediate family. Emirates offers these benefits for them while they are away from home. The FACE Card - Flight Attendants Club of Emirates which offers special discounts across Dubai and the Gulf region at beach clubs, restaurants, gyms and retail shops, Platinum Card where flight crews can get discounts and get access to a wider range of deals by paying a small monthly fees and Luxury Layover Hotels of 4 or 5-star hotels for layovers.

Sources of power


Michel Aballea holds Reward power in both intangible and tangible aspects. Encouraging and praising his staff for a job well done is but second nature to Michel, also referring to his employees as Decathletes which sounds much more inclusive. This intangible reward provides moral support for his employees, making them feel like a part of the Decathlon family. As for tangible rewards, Decathlon has a shareholding scheme which allows employees to be co-owners in the company. As shareholders of the company, the employees will feel more motivated to do well because if Decathlon gains profit, so do they.

Michel Aballea also carries Referent Power in Decathlon. When he first rose into power of CEO, he noticed how the rigid hierarchical structure of Decathlon was slowing the company down, undergoing a mass decentralization of the company he was able to make Decathlon much more efficient. To come up with such a radical plan reflects how much faith Michel Aballea has in himself and his team. This willingness to try is being emulated in decathlon outlets worldwide as mentioned by staff of Decathlon "They would rather see us try something and fail, than see us not trying at all". This ultimately shows that Michel Aballea carries Referent Power in Decathlon due to the influence he has on his staff.


Sheikh Ahmed holds Reward power in the company, in emirates employees are treated with end of year bonuses if the company does well as a whole. Furthermore, staff working in Dubai are minimally given a month of annual leave each year and also a fully paid return flight home. Staff at Emirates who work in Dubai for the entire year can look forward to coming back to their native country every year without having to stress about the cost of air tickets, this goads them into working harder for the company as it provides them with so many benefits and rewards each year.

Sheikh Ahmed carries Legitimate and Expert power in Emirates. Being the CEO of Emirates puts him in charge of leading by default. His wealth of knowledge not only in the aviation industry but also his people management skills are more than enough reason to back him up, because of this, employees are content with Sheikh Ahmed in terms of his goals for the company and they see that he is more than competent in the field he's in. Employees view him as the face of the company and not only look up to him but strive to follow in his footsteps.

Managerial roles Decathlon:

Michel Aballea is a Leader and an Entrepreneur. Michel Aballea came up with many policies for new employees to feel welcomed and at ease in Decathlon one of such policies is the Mentorship programme. The new employee is paired with a mentor in their same department thier mentors are there to supervise and give them advice. By allocating his staff in this way, Michel Aballea shows great leadership skills through masterful people

Managerial roles Emirates:

Sheikh Ahmed is a Figurehead and a Resource Allocator. As the figurehead of the company, he will involve himself in social and legal activities, such as public signings of legal documents. Such instances include the recent unveiling of the "From Heart of Zayed" art piece made in commemoration of Sheikh Zayed's legacy,



Physiological: Decathlon gives their employees adequate amount of leave period throughout the year like the 28 days paid holiday and life assurance. These satisfied the physiological factor under the Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Safety: Under safety, Decathlon came up with a project encompasses risk prevention and also well-being at work. In 2016, 93% of the employees feel safe in their workplace. Apparently this results is consistent throughout 2015 as well. Decathlon has provided a "Safety relex" training course for logistics teams to know more about how to handle to any warehousing activity such as evacuations,accidents, fire and thefts so that the employees are well-prepared in case of any emergencies.

Social: The company has social activities where employees get into a team to take part in the Vietnam Mountain Marathon, this emphasize on teamwork over the individual actions. Employees also get to build a more closer relationship with their teammates which creates more belongingness to the company.

Self-esteem: Decathlon provide opportunities for the employees to lead and teach others such as promotions. For example there is a 30% staff discount for the employees which motivate them to strike harder in the company.

Self-actualization: Decathlon allow for meaningful employee involvement and leadership positions.For example,the company decided to shift from a role-based system to one based on skills through responsibility by providing in-house training centre dedicated to management.This create situation and allow them to develop their self-confidence so that they are ready to lead in the decision making process. In addition, this makes the employees feel that they are being valued in the big family and not just someone that is working in the company only. In addition,Decathlon came up with a shareholding scheme which gives all decathletes an opportunity to also become co-owners of the company. This means that every year, they will have the chance to invest in the business and most importantly to make decisions not as a employee but a shareholder.

Emirates Airline

Physiological: Emirates provides the accommodation for their employees situated in Dubai. For families, Emirates even goes as far as to cater villas for them to ensure that employees are living comfortably. This will resolve the 'shelter' factor of Physiological in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Another factor that Emirates satisfies is that of the 'food'. This is because Emirates employees are given a Platinum card which heavily subsidises the cost of Food and Beverage outlets that partner with Emirates allowing workers to save a large sum of money on food each year, which means that the thought of not being able to get food is unlikely to be on their mind.

Safety: For safety, Emirates insures all their contracted workers ranging from Medical insurance, Life insurance, Personal accident and Workmen's Compensation. This gives employees the peace of mind that in the event of an unfortunate circumstance, they can be assured that they'll be well taken care of by the company. Furthermore the homes of employees are gated, which adds an additional level of safety to their residence.

Social: As Emirates staff are offered accommodation in Dubai, their neighbours are naturally fellow Emirates staff. This allows new Emirates staff to better acclimatise to their new working environment in Dubai.The older employees can show the newer employees around the city of Dubai and this ensures new workers do not feel alienated from other staff and helps to build new relationships within the company.

Self-esteem: Emirates fulfills employees' self-esteem needs through employee recognition, one instance is the Najm's Chairman award ceremony were the top 12 employees were praised for going above and beyond what was expected of them during work, Leo Auga a Supervisor for Emirates Airport Services was presented with the award for saving the lives of two customers in the airport by doing CPR on them whilst waiting for paramedics to arrive. To see their hard work and additional efforts be recognised by the company gives Emirates employees an additional surge of motivation and seek to do even better.


Motivation suggestions


One way Decathlon can effectively motivate their employees more by allowing for career advancement and promotions like having a point system to track on their performance. This gives them a greater incentive to work more diligently as the effort they put in will be recognised and will be able to further upgrade themselves and strive to work harder.

Emirates Airline

A way the company can do to motivate their employees more effectively is to offer more social activities, this is a very good way for team building like organising group picnics, outing and more so that the employees can stay united as a whole.


In conclusion, both companies have their own unique system of managing their people welfares, job allocation,

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

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Comparison of Decathlon and Emirates Airlines. (2019, Nov 24). Retrieved from

Comparison of Decathlon and Emirates Airlines essay
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