The IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior
Open Leadership at Red Hat

Article Details
Pub. Date : October, 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJOB271021
Author Name : A Kranthi Kumar and Jitesh Nair
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 9



The case study describes the open leadership approach followed by Red Hat, Inc., an American multinational software company providing open source software products. Red Hat's culture was rooted in the open source movement since it had hired employees mostly from open source communities in the initial years post its inception in 1993. Constructive criticism through open and heated debates was common and acting openly was the norm and what was expected. The top management realized that open leadership gave Red Hat a competitive advantage and efforts had to be made to retain this culture even as the company grew in size. The company management observed that in an open organization, employees evolved into leaders when they exhibited certain behaviors as a result of their beliefs. Red Hat identified the general principles (mindsets) and the resulting open leadership practices (behaviors) and took steps to interlock these mindsets with the leadership behaviors. In the initial phase of building an open leadership system, Red Hat did not find any suitable end-to-end leadership development systems that would help train its people to lead in a flat organizational structure and a culture that preferred meritocracy over hierarchy and seniority. The company decided that it would build some of those systems itself, and in other cases modify and adapt best practices used in standard organizations.


Red Hat, Inc. (Red Hat), an American multinational software company, provided open source software products such as cloud, middleware, operating platform, storage, and virtualization to the enterprise community. Since its inception in 1993, it had hired most of its employees from open source communities. This had led to the formation of an organizational culture that was rooted in the open source movement, where acting openly was the norm and the expectation.