Cultural Dimensions of Leadership
Leadership in organizations is dictated and determined according to a variety of reasons and factors including personality, cultural, and country and regional aspects.
Among the various factors, the cultural dimension of leadership is often not highlighted as it is taken as a given. However, with globalization and the advent of tighter integration and interconnectedness, there is a need to study how leadership is determined by cultural factors and the mediating role that cultural exchanges between the West and the East play out when determining how leaders behave.
This article discusses the cultural dimensions of leadership with specific emphasis on how the greater interactions between the leaders in the West and the East is playing out in the global arena and as far as organizational behavior is concerned. For instance, with globalization, leaders and managers in the east have learnt to adopt a more democratic style of leadership as opposed to the patriarchic and the authoritarian leadership that was hitherto practiced.
Further, leaders in the west have begun to understand that the way things are done in the east is radically different from the way they are done in the east and hence, they need to be cognizant of these differing approaches to management.
Leadership in the East and the West
The pioneering work of the Dutch psychologist, Geert Hofstede is often cited and quoted to emphasize the differences in leadership between the west and the east that are determined by cultural reasons.
For instance, culture plays a very important role in determining the leaders’ actions especially where the decision-making, attitudes towards diversity, and treatment of people down the hierarchies are concerned. It is the case that leaders in the east tend to be patriarchic and authoritarian in their decision-making styles as opposed to democratic and consensual in the west.
Further, leaders in the east tend to view diversity yet another aspect of business and the working culture in many organizations tends to be paternal and dictated by masculine behavior. In contrast, diversity is practiced actively in the west and the leaders in many western companies often do more than what is required by the law in these cases.
Next, the attitude towards those lower down in the hierarchy in the west is more accommodative and conciliatory whereas in the east, leaders at the top tend to view their subordinates according to strict classifications of seniority conditioned by cultural factors. These are some of the differences in leadership between the east and the west as presented by Hofstede in his work.
Globalization and Leadership: Homogeneity vs. Heterogeneity
Though most business literature talks about how leadership has become homogenous with the advent of globalization and the concomitant cultural exchange between the west and the east that has resulted in leaders in the east becoming western in their outlook, the oft neglected aspect is that some leaders in the east have turned inward as a result of their interaction with the west and have begun to become parochial and jingoistic in their approach. This is seen in the case of many manufacturing and primary sectors where leaders often rant against western values and how they corrupt the employees and hence, these leaders in the heavy manufacturing industries have instead started favoring regionalism and paternalism as well as resorting to jingoism and an attitude that is decidedly against further opening up of the economy.
Of course, this does not mean that the heterogeneity that results from globalization is the prevailing norm as many leaders in the east have modernized their companies and adopted western best practices.
Indeed, the proportion of leaders who have become western is greater than those who have turned inward and this is the trend in China and India. However, as the previous paragraph pointed out, there are many exceptions to this norm and hence, any professional or student of management has to be cognizant of both trends if he or she is to navigate the corporate minefield in their careers.
This article has discussed the differences in leadership between the east and the west that are due to cultural reasons. This article has also discussed how globalization has made leaders adopt western values and at the same time, has resulted in some leaders turning inward.
The point to be noted here is that leadership is a complex subject that is determined due to a host of reasons and the cultural aspect is a key component of how leaders behave. Therefore, it is our advice to future leaders and those starting their careers as well as those already working that one must determine one’s core values and then act accordingly.
If you are a person who is more likely to be influenced by the western paradigm, you must seek companies and organizations that are run according to western notions of management. On the contrary, if you are of a disposition where you believe that your native culture determines your actions, you must again seek employment in those organizations where the traditional values are emphasized.
In other words, one must find the organization one is comfortable with instead of being in conflict with the environment arising out of a clash between inner values and the values of the organization. This is the key take away that this article leaves you with as you are entering your career or if you are working, either you are resigned to your fate or enjoying your job to the fullest.
Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.
- Leadership - Introduction
- Importance of Leadership
- Role of a Leader
- Qualities of a Leader
- Leadership and Management
- Leader versus Manager
- Authority vs Leadership
- Leadership and Motivation
- Emotional Intelligence for Leaders
- Organizational Leadership
- Leadership Ethics
- Leadership Strategy
- Leadership Styles
- Personal Leadership Brand
- Level 5 Leadership
- Situational Leadership
- Situational Leadership and Motivation
- Leadership & Subordinate Development
- Leadership Development - Introduction
- Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
- Inside Leaders vs. Outside Leaders
- Transformational Leadership
- Leadership for the 21st Century
- The Transleader
- Three Traits of Effective Leadership
- Importance of Compassion in Leadership
- An Important Advice to Future Leaders
- Avoiding Focus on Quarterly Earnings
- Reinventing Management for 21st Century
- Ambidextrous Leadership
- Invest in Oneself
- Social Media Skills for Leaders
- Social Stratification and Hierarchy
- The Ethical Imperative
- Leadership in the Face of Adversity
- Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence
- Leadership Theories
- Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid
- House’s Path Goal Theory
- Great Man Theory
- Trait Theory
- LMX Theory
- Transformational Leadership
- Transactional Leadership
- Continuum of Leadership Behaviour
- Likert’s Management System
- Hersey Blanchard Model
- Fiedler’s Contingency Model
- Leadership and Trust
- How to be a Good Leader ?
- Effective Leadership Skills
- Leadership Vision
- Different Types of Power
- Women and Leadership
- What are the Challenges in Leadership ?
- Tips to Overcome Challenges in Leadership
- Role of Communication in Overcoming Leadership Challenges
- Role of Management/Organization in Overcoming Leadership Challenges
- Tips to Strengthen Bond Among Employees
- Vision of Leaders has to be Actualized by Middle Management for Organizational Success
- Leadership in the Time of Epic Changes and Struggles Over Ethics and Values
- Great Leadership is about Initiating, Sustaining, and Carrying through Ones Vision
- Cultural Dimensions of Leadership
- Scarcity vs. Abundant Mindsets in Leaders
- Different Folks, Different Strokes! The Many Leadership Styles in the Real World
- Persuasion and the Art of Changing Minds are Essential for Contemporary Leaders
- Managing in Chaos: A Necessary Skill for Managers and Leaders
- Leadership in the Contemporary World
- Need to Develop Network Thinking and Seventh Sense for Success in the 21st Century
- Why Do Some Business Leaders Attain Greatness Whereas Others Fail?
- Hands on Approach to Leadership: The Need for Leaders to be Good Administrators
- How Great Leaders Transform Organizations, Nations, Societies, and the World
- Why Business and Political Leaders Must be Institution Builders to Ensure Longevity
- Qualities of an Inspirational Leader and their Benefits
- Foundation Pillars of Successful Leaders
- Self Assessment for Leadership: Assessing the Strengths and Vulnerabilities for Improving Leadership Effectiveness
- Self Motivation for Leaders
- Techniques for Developing Self-Motivation
- Leadership Development Plan
- Writing a Leadership Development Plan
- When Hope Meets Reality: The Challenges for Leaders to Sustain the Momentum
- The Challenge for Contemporary Leaders is to Restore Trust and Faith in Institutions
- The Ever Shortening Business Cycles and What They Mean for Business Leaders
- Leadership Case Study: Steve Jobs - The Man Who Ushered in the Smartphone Revolution
- Why Leaders Must be in Control over the Direction and Pace of Organizational Change
- The 4Cs of Leadership Styles for Leadership in the Digital Age
- Lessons for Business Leaders from the Downfall of Charles Ghosn of Renault - Nissan
- Truly Great Leadership is All about Walking the Talk in All Aspects of Being Leaders
- Examining the Crisis of the Leader – Follower Relationship in the Present Times
- How Great Leaders use a Mix of Micromanagement and Hands off Approaches
- Leadership during Crises is what Distinguishes Great Leaders from Manager Leaders
- What the Dalai Lama can teach Corporate Honchos about Leadership and Management
- Why we Need more Emotionally Intelligent Leaders and Managers in Chaotic Times
- Why the Digital Age Calls for a New Approach to Leadership and Team Management
- Business Leadership in the Age of Nationalism and Populism and the Rocky Road Ahead
- Leadership in a Collapsing World When Faced with Insurmountable Problems
- The Importance of Thought Leaders and Influencers in the Age of Social Media
- Leadership by Optics Management: Taking the Howdy Modi Event as a Case Study
- What Should Leaders do in Low Growth and Recessionary Times
- What Ails India Inc. and is it a Crisis of Leadership or a Structural Issue to be Addressed?
- The Tyranny of the Quarterly Results: Why Business Leaders must Avoid Short-Termism
- The Perils of Leaders and Their Personality Cults in Times of Authoritarian Rulers
- Leadership in the Digital Age and Why Contemporary Leaders Must Master These Skills
- Misdemeanours by Senior Leaders Must Be Handled Firmly and the Right Message Sent
- When Hope Meets Reality: Why Visionary Leaders Have to Balance Dreams with Realities
- Power as a Managerial Tool
- Why We Need More Self Aware and Less Self Centred Leaders, Who Can Self Evaluate