Leadership plays a decisive role in corporate organisations, often deciding the course of the company’s development, the skills and competencies that the business finds essential for its staff, and the methods used to attain goals. Sashkin (2018) defines leadership as one of the primary constitutional structures of the informal face of organisations, namely their internal culture. However, different cultures have varying understandings of what a leader is, necessitating questioning whether there exist core characteristics of leadership that are present in the majority of national cultures, as reflected in companies’ organisational structures.
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Outstanding leaders are those, who successfully guide and motivate employees towards a joint goal, achieving it promptly and with appropriate results. Employee performance depends on proper leadership styles, which vary per the outlined objectives, which may range from solving problems to innovative work (Iqbal, Anwar, & Haider, 2015). However, leaders may not act in a way that contradicts the expectations of their culture, as this would not only be uncharacteristic of them but may also undermine their upper-standing status (Hartog & Dickson, 2018). While “personality traits, experience, attitude and philosophy” are the core formational characteristics of a leader, cultural surroundings influence these traits the most (Iqbal et al., 2015, p. 4). Thus, the definition of a successful leader varies across cultures, with the US designed Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire working well for only those workers, who come from a North American cultural background (Hartog & Dickson, 2018). This way, pre-set systems attract only those leaders who are competent in a way that has been proved by the organisation.
The existence of a multi-applicable leadership style seems implausible, even beyond cultural boundaries. This assumption is due primarily to the fact that even within a single, mono-national business each goal may require different leadership approaches. For example, in assessment centres, the three top-ranking leader types were found to be those defined as Power Players, Protocol Followers, and Creative Communicators, who achieved varying degrees of success on different assessment scales (Parr, Lanza, & Bernthal, 2016). Parr et al. (2016) use this indication to uphold the claim that “there is not a ‘one size fits all’ personality model for leadership” (p. 150). This finding insinuates that different leadership profiles may also play a significant role in a company’s success if appropriately implemented (Sashkin, 2018). An appropriate example of a successful invitation of a culturally differing business perspective may be the revamping of Nissan under Carlos Ghosn, before his arrest (Pozen, 2018). Thus, the size, organisational culture, and situation of the company define the appropriate and effective leadership style.
Core characteristics of leadership may not be defined outside the influence of cultural backgrounds, making the universality of one, multi-functional leadership style improbable. Therefore, this situation creates a cultural divide between multinational managers and staff, which may concurrently result in unprecedented growth spurts that become possible due to cultural synergy. While national cultures may not agree on a joint definition of a leader, there may exist, however, varying stages of success for different guidance styles.
Hartog, D. N. D., & Dickson, M. W. (2018). Leadership, culture, and globalization. In J. Antonakis & D. V. Day (Eds.), The nature of leadership (3rd ed., pp. 327-353). London, UK: SAGE.
Iqbal, N., Anwar, S., & Haider, N. (2015). Effect of leadership style on employee performance. Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review, 5(5), 1-6. Web.
Parr, A. D., Lanza, S. T., & Bernthal, P. (2016). Personality profiles of effective leadership performance in assessment centers. Human Performance, 29(2), 143-157. Web.
Pozen, R. C. (2018). Carlos Ghosn, Nissan, and the need for stronger corporate governance in Japan. Web.
Sashkin, M. (2018). Leadership. In W. E. Rosenbach, R. L. Taylor, & M. A. Youndt (Eds.), Contemporary issues in leadership (7th ed., pp. 7-20). London, UK: Routledge.