I currently work for a multi-national corporation. It is a British company with offices all around the world. The chapter on culture and leadership is important in the understanding of globalization and cross-cultural awareness and practice from a leadership perspective (Northouse, 2016, p. 427).
Adler and Bartholomew, as cited by Northouse, believed there were five cross-cultural competencies for global leaders. The first is understanding business, political and cultural environments. Second is to learn about the perspectives, taste, trends and available technologies for the countries they will be dealing with. The third and fourth are required if you are managing people in different locations and/or working in a foreign country, you need to adapt to possible living in a different country and working and communicating with people in multiple countries. And finally, you need to relate with people on an equal level, instead of from a position of cultural superiority (Northouse, 2016, pp. 427-428).
In order to maximum the abilities above, leaders need to understand the principles of culture, ethnocentrism, and prejudice. Culture a group of people’s learned beliefs, values, rules, norms, symbols, and traditions. These shared qualities make the group unique. Within the ideas of culture are multicultural and diversity. Companies with locations in different areas of the world are considered multicultural because their approach is required to take more then one culture into account. Diversity occurs when there are people of different cultures or ethnicities within an organization (Northouse, 2016, p. 428).
Ethnocentrism is when an individual considers their own group, whether race, ethnicity, or culturally, is superior. Since this idea prevents people from understanding or respecting other cultures, it can be a major obstacle to strong leadership (Northouse, 2016, p. 428). Prejudice is related to ethnocentrism. Prejudice is based on faulty or unsubstantiated data that causes an individual to have a negative fixed attitude about a person or group of people based on previous experiences or decision. The important thing about prejudice to remember is it can affect an organization regardless if the negative attitudes are from leaders or followers. It is important for a leader to be skilled and able to negotiate with followers that have various backgrounds (Northouse, 2016, p. 428). In order to do that, it is important to understand the dimensions of culture and what each is looking for in leaders.
To do that, one option is to study the GLOBE (Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness) study. This study took the responses of 17,000 managers in more than 950 organizations representing 62 different cultures throughout the world (Northouse, 2016, p. 431). The actual study is 800 pages long. I will provide a synopsis of the recommend leadership styles and where they can be used best.
They were able to break down the cultures into nine different clusters and six different behaviors. First the behaviors. First, is Charismatic/value-based leadership. This reflects the ability of leaders to motivate and inspire. They expect high performance from followers. Some of the traits you can see in these types of leaders: being visionary, self-sacrificing, trustworthy, and decisive (Northouse, 2016, p. 440).
Team-orientated leadership: This leader believes in having a common purpose among members and believes being collaborative, integrated, diplomatic, and nonmalevolent (Northouse, 2016, p. 440).
Participative leadership: The leader wants and expects input from others in the decision-making process (Northouse, 2016, p. 440).
Humane-orientated leadership: This form emphasizes modesty and sensitivity to others. Traits include: being supportive, considerate, and generous (Northouse, 2016, p. 440).
Autonomous leadership: This type of leader is autonomous and unique. They are independent and individualistic (Northouse, 2016, p. 440).
Self-protective leadership: This behavior includes leaders that are self-centered, status conscious, and face saving. The leader is most concerned with the safety and security of the leader and the group (Northouse, 2016, p. 440).
These behaviors, from the Globe study, allowed researches to identify a leadership profile for each cluster. The profile describes what type of leader is desired for each of the different cultures (Northouse, 2016, p. 441).
The Eastern Europe cluster includes: Greece, Hungary, Albania, Slovenia, Poland, Russia, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. Leadership in this cluster are highly autonomous and they make decision independently. They also are somewhat inspiring, believe in team orientation and are attentive to human needs (Northouse, 2016, p. 441).
The Latin America cluster includes: Ecuador, El Salvador, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala, Argentina, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Mexico. These countries enjoy leaders that are charismatic and value-based. They can also be self-serving, collaborative and inspiring. They can be a people person and will accept participation in decision making (Northouse, 2016, p. 442).
The Latin Europe group consists of Israel, Italy, Switzerland (Francophone), Spain, Portugal, and France. These countries prefer leaders that are charismatic, team orientated, participative and self-protective. Although team orientated and participative, leaders in this group are not very compassionate (Northouse, 2016, p. 443).
The Confusion Asia Profile includes the countries of Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, South Korea, and Japan. Leaders in this cluster lean towards using their status and position to make independent decisions. However, they also show a leader that works hard and cares about others (Northouse, 2016, p. 443).
The Nordic Europe cluster includes: Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. The Nordic leader is a visionary that like participation, but tends to be independent and diplomatic. Followers in this cluster do not consider humane or self protective leaders, they want to be inspired and allow involvement in decision-making (Northouse, 2016, p. 443).
The Anglo Leadership profile includes the countries of Canada, the United States, Australia, Ireland, England, South American (white sample) and New Zealand. In these countries leaders should be team oriented and autonomous. They also want leaders to be motivating and have a vision while showing consideration of others (Northouse, 2016, pp. 444-445).
The Sub-Saharan cluster includes Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia, Nigeria, and South America (black sample), Leaders there need to be modest compassionate, and sensitive. They also want charismatic leaders that are participative and team orientated and protective (Northouse, 2016, p. 445).
Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Thailand, and Iran make up the Southern Asia cluster. The profile for these countries are similar to the Confucian Asia cluster. Two differences are that this cluster wants charismatic leaders that are also autocratic (Northouse, 2016, p. 446).
The Germanic cluster includes Austria, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany. The style for this cluster includes leaders that are very participative, inspirational, and independent. Effective leadership in this cluster is participative, charismatic and autonomic. They are not worried about face-saving or self-centered (Northouse, 2016, p. 446).
And finally, the Middle East cluster is made up of the countries of Turkey, Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco, and Qatar. In this cluster, face-saving and status are considered important. They also value independence. Traits that most clusters appreciate such as charisma and team orientation are not important in the Middle East (Northouse, 2016, p. 447).
The GLOBE study also revealed 22 leadership attributes that were valued universally and 8 that were undesirable or considered obstacles to effective leadership. Some of the desirable attributes include: trustworthy, intelligent, dynamic, decisive, communicative, honest, dependable, and a team builder. For the attributes considered obstacles some of the negatives are being a loner, irritable, ruthless, dictatorial and egocentric (Northouse, 2016, p. 448).
This study is important because it provides useful information in what leadership attributes are considered desirable for good leadership. It also identifies what skills are needed for a leader to be successful depending on the area of the world they are working in. If a leader is in a multicultural company, they may need to change their approach depending on who they are dealing with in the communication process.
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, Inc.