Focus of culture and leadership
i) Culture focus
Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey (1988 cited in House et al. 2004) defined culture as the beliefs, values, principles, rules, traditions, norms and symbols which are learned by a group of people in different place and region of the world. It is also a shared quality by this group people to mark them from other people. Briefly speaking, culture is a certain group’s way of life, tradition and customs. Related with the culture issue, there are another two terms including multicultural and diversity. The former one indicates a kind of way or system enable people or organization to out several cultures into one or a batch of subcultures with the context such as race, gender, religion, age and so on. The latter one indicates these existing differences or ethnicities in a group or in an organization. (Kefela 2010)
And for business, it is important to have a focus on the organization culture and related issue. According to Tesluk et al. (2002), one of the most important obligations for the organizational leader is to build up and maintain its organizational characteristics to reward and promote efforts of employees. Based on this, we may assume that the most vital of these is the culture of this organization. Since the organizational culture is so important for a business, its impact on organization can’t be ignored.
At first, organizational culture is developed to assist this organization to manage the changeable environment. In the current world, organizational leaders are faced with a variety of complicated issues and dilemma during their efforts to facilitate their organization to meet organizational challenges. And the success of organizational leaders rely a large extent on their understanding about their organizational culture Tesluk et al. (2002).
Secondly, Cameron and Quinn (2011) contended that several problems faced by leaders can be attributed to their incapability to make a proper analysis and evaluation on their organizational cultures. There are some leaders having a try to carry out new plans and strategies with the guidance of a new vision, may find out that some of these new developed strategies or plans may fail if they aren’t aligned with the organizational cultures.
ii) Leadership focus
Daft (2008) defined the leadership as the ability to impact people in organizations towards the attainment of organizational goals. And as the difference in leaders existing, there are also different leaderships. And for an organization, one of the most important aspects is the attitudes of leaders including their attitudes towards job satisfaction, organizational commitment and so on. To be a successful leader, it is important for leaders to have required qualities including the followings.
At first, it is necessary for leaders to express his or her point of view clearly and in a wise manner so that people are encouraged. And then the leader had better to make a commitment to the vision in the company, to the working staff and the entire organization, which should be a continuous and persistent practice. And next, there are a variety of obligations afforded by leaders including fulfilling the organizational missions, promoting the working morale and pursuing good performances for the sake of the interests to all the stakeholders of this organization. And it is also required leaders to enable and lead its organization to have a good evaluation on its risks of loss and failures and then adopt proper means to reduce these side effects on these forthcoming risks and failures. Daft (2008)
iii) Culture and leadership
Since both the organizational culture and leadership are so important for the success of a business, let’s have a look at the relationship between culture and leadership in some specific dimensions.
According to many scholar such as Hofstede (1980), McClelland (1961), Triandis (1995) and so on, there are many issues for leadership to manage due to the reasons from cultures including uncertainty avoidance, power distance, and gender egalitarianism and so on. In terms of uncertainty avoidance, the uncertainty refers to the uncertainty on way in rules, principles, and structures and so on in an organization rising from culture differences of working staff. To manage this uncertainty in cultural difference, leadership are suggested to developing a relatively tolerate organizational culture to avoid these uncertainty. And power distance refers to the level which employees in an organization expected and agreed on the power should be distributed equally. For leaders to manage this distance, it is necessary for them to have a better and relative full understanding of the culture essences of difference countries and business regions. And the gender egalitarianism means the degree of a company or region agreeing to minimize the gender differences and promote the equality. For leaders, to manage this issue, it is important to promote the working equity issue for the organization and create an organizational culture with nondiscrimination.
By and large, by the investigation on some issues in the organizational culture and leadership areas, we can get this conclusion. For the leader, it is important to establish and maintain a proper organizational culture with is not only comprehensive but also positive to improve the sense of belonging for its employees and promote a good business performance of the origination in both the domestic and international development. A good leadership can’t be departed from the organizational culture. (Daft 2008)
Globalization, culture and leadership
Griffin and Pustay (2010, pp.35) defined globalization as the inexorable integration of markets, nation-states and technologies, which enables individuals, corporations and nation states to reach around the world farther, faster, deeper and cheaper than ever before. And there are so many reasons make the globalization take place such as these strategic imperatives and environmental causes and so on, which gives leadership many new challenges and tasks in the different cultural context.
The trend of globalization has resulted in organizational leaders to become more competent and capable in awareness and practice around the cross cultural environment (House et al. 2004). And there are five aspects of influences laid from globalization on leadership in the context of culture.
i) Five requirements
According to Javidan and House (2001), the first influence of globalization on leaders is to broaden their understandings on the cross cultural environments, different business atmospheres and political situation in different market regions. Second, it is also a basic requirement for leaders in a company under the umbrella of globalization to develop a comprehensive knowledge about these ideas, tastes, traditions, value system, technologies, and education level and so on in many other cultures. Third, globalization also requires leaders to work simultaneously with employees from different cultural background to manage the diversity tactfully. Fourth, with the influence of globalization, leaders should also be able to acclimatize themselves to live and communicate with people in other cultural context. Fifth, leaders under the trend of globalization had better treat people from different cultural background equally and respect them without any discrimination and cultural superiority. Additionally, Houese et al. (2002) also trusted in global leaders had better touch up their skills to create trans-cultural visions with the assistance of developed interpersonal skills in clarifying and implementing these visions to diversity workforce.
In sum, today’s leaders under the umbrella of globalization had to and will develop a challenging series of competitiveness to enable them work more effectively in these global societies with different cultural context.
ii) Stages to become global leaders
Since we have developed the knowledge that the different cultural context in the globalization environment has brought so many requirements for leaders to develop themselves, and a borderless market world brought by globalization impel leaders to become global leaders.
For leaders in the globalization environment, if they can think and act globally, the whole world will works as a source of ideas, resources, information, employees and customers. There are so many successful examples of the so called global leaders who operate their business in different cultural environment successfully. For instance, the U.S. based Ford Motor Company under its leader’s successfully operation owns Sweden’s Volvo (White 1998). The iconic American beer Miller belongs to a wise foreign leader’s company in South Africa (Lashinsky 2005; Adler 2002). And the global leader of Toyota turns this Japanese enterprise into a world famous multinational automobile manufacturer with successful performance in the world around in different cultures (Daft 2010). And the modern technology behind the Intel’s Centrino wireless components was born from the cooperation of researchers from different cultural background such as Chinese, Israel and so on under the direction of an outstanding global leader (Daft 2008).
Moreover, globalization also has been impacting organizational leaders to lead his or her organization to develop towards an international arena on a variety of levels involving in different cultures. The first stage, global leaders often lead their organization to reach under the influence of globalization is the domestic stage, in which leaders lead his or her organization to meet the requirements from the home country including the assistance of facilities in marketing and production as well as the good understanding of the domestic consuming culture. With this develop, leaders may be aware of the global environment to meet the challenges and opportunities from globalization, which is the stage named international stage. In this stage, leaders are often required to facilitate the organization to adopt a multi-domestic approach with the assistance of investigating the culture context and people’s consuming preference respect in different centuries. Besides accomplishing this stage, leaders then are required to operate his or her company with a globalization approach, meaning delivering a similar product to multiple countries with the blending of multiple cultural essences including people requirements, preferences and so on. Such kind of stage is defined as a multinational stage. And the last stage, globalization promotes organizational leaders to operate his or her organization to reach the stateless stage namely leader the corporate to develop by transcending any single home country. In this stage, the advantage and opportunities brought by globalization may reflect thoroughly under multicultural environment that the organization runs in the true global fashion, making sales and obtaining resources from whatever countries which can offer the best chances and lowest costs. And moreover, in this stage, the leaderships in such kind of multinational corporate may have a multicultural context with the supports from talents with several nationalities. (Adler 2002; Daft 2010)
iii) Evidences of global leaders
Today, there are so many multinational organizations which follow the trend of globalizations so well, operating under a multicultural environment with the wise and flexible leaderships from diversity culture backgrounds. When considering what’s happening in these corporations in America, we can find out the globalization has an inevitable influence in leadership, where 14 out of Fortune 100 organizations are operated by foreign CEOs (Story 2007). For example, Citigroup nominating the India-born Vikram S. Pandit as its CEO to promote its business all over the world with a multi-culture educated leaders to understand the global market in an overall height (Hymowitz 2005). Alco’s top leader was born in Morocco and received education in several European countries and the U.S.A. a native Australian (Martin 2004). In fact, all of these evidences told us that if a organization plan to expand its business globally and successfully under the trend of globalization competing with other competitors in such a wide market regions, one of the keys to success is the great consideration on the different cultural essences in different market regions to offer the global customers with the global fashion products and related services (Hymowitz 2005).
By and large, in the context of multicultural environment, globalization offers good lessons for leadership to development a wide and global scope of perspective and have great influences on the leadership in different corporate as well.
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