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Leadership and Culturally Bound: Working and Communicating Together Essay

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Updated: Mar 20th, 2020

Technological advancements have allowed individuals from different cultures and environments to work and communicate together. This experience has been exciting and frustrating to some. Some individuals find it hard to adjust to both institutional and national cultural differences leading to a drop in their performances (Nelson & Quick, 2008). Cultural values have an impact on a range of features in an organization.

Notably, organizational and managerial behaviors are greatly affected by organizational cultures. For a corporation with several departments, organizational culture has intense effects on the leaders’ decision approaches and the results of these decisions. In every organization, the impacts of organizational culture are dependent on the cultural structures adopted (Nelson & Quick, 2008).

As such, cultural norms and values play important roles in molding leaders’ outlooks and defining their leadership roles and functions. Since societies differ in their perceptions and facets of effective leadership, it is apparent that leadership is culturally bound. The above differences are primarily determined by cultural values. This article seeks to analyze how leadership is culturally bound.

Values and behaviors are specific to national cultures and are never universal. This implies that each culture based on its values and beliefs appears to categorize leaders differently. Globally, leaders will portray types of leadership styles desired in their communities and organizations.

This affirms that cultural values play a great role in determining the type of leadership exhibited by their leaders. In one of the modern studies on leadership, researchers found that cultural attributes and practices did not only differentiate cultures from each other but also served as predictors for leaders’ attributes and predictors.

The same results showed that in the Nordic countries, integrity, inspiration, vision, team integration, and performance are the attributes expected from their leaders (Nelson & Quick, 2008). On the contrary, integration, performance, inspiration, and vision are the attributes expected from Latin leaders by their followers. Based on the above illustrations, it is apparent that different cultures prioritize their desired attributes differently.

Universally, it is accepted that employees and leaders have shaped their businesses and institutions. Equally, leaders are the product of these organizational cultures. Over time, these leaders have learned and conducted business by their organizations’ expectations. For instance, when a manager trained in the US is employed in a Chinese firm, he or she is expected to learn and adapt to Chinese organizational cultures.

Through this, he or she will be able to understand how Chinese workers carry on with their daily activities for effective management. According to researchers, it is essential that leaders learn to adapt their leadership styles to accommodate their specific organizational cultures. The failure of this will result in poor leadership, which may affect the productivity of a given organization (Nelson & Quick, 2008).

Another illustration that indicates how leadership is culturally bound is communication skills. Effective leadership necessitates an individual to possess appropriate communication skills. Notably, the way these skills are understood varies from one culture to another. In this regard, effective communication skills may be perceived differently across other cultures.

For instance, some cultures prefer the use of communication as a means of passing instructions, while other cultures prefer the use of memos as a means of passing instructions. In the US, most organizations passed their instructions verbally, while Japanese organizations pass their information through memos. Equally, in the US managers prefer to respond to inquiries directly, while in Japan most managers prefer to respond to inquiries through written messages.

Charismatic leaders make use of their appeal to get things done to their expectations. Through this type of leadership, a leader can influence and expand the interest of the followers and attain unwavering support among the followers (Nelson & Quick, 2008). This situation will be beneficial to an organization because its interest will be prioritized rather than personal interests. However, it is worth noting that the attributes of charismatic leaders vary from one culture to the other.

For instance, in some cultures leaders are expected to take firm and critical actions to be seen as charismatic, whereas in the other cultures leaders need to cultivate independent approaches to be considered charismatic (Nelson & Quick, 2008). More often, leaders are expected to be individuals with visions. However, researches have indicated that not all leaders have visions depending on their cultural background.

For instance, some developing countries have little or no economic progress because of ineffective leadership (Nelson & Quick, 2008). In these countries, most of the individuals are contented with their leaders because their perception of leadership is influenced by their culture. Based on their leadership styles, these leaders would not pass as leaders in the developed countries for the reason that perception of leadership is completely different in the developed countries. In this regard, the statement that leadership is culturally bounded is valid.

Another illustration that indicates leadership is culturally bounded is the success of different organizations. Similar organizations perform differently because of several interrelated variables. One of these variables that affect the performance of an organization is leadership. More often, individuals with appropriate leadership skills lead successful companies.

On the other hand, individuals with inappropriate skills lead to troubled companies (Nelson & Quick, 2008). It is worth knowing that American companies have dominated the world market because of their leaders’ abilities. These leadership styles have been influenced by the American culture, which emphasizes on quality, value, and hard work.

Similarly, it can be argued that American businesses have been successful due to their capitalism culture. On the other hand, the collapse of Russia can be attributed to their communism culture. These illustrations illustrate that leadership is culturally bounded.

Every community has its standards, issues, and structures of accountability. Similarly, the perception of accountability varies from one culture to the other. In some cultures, especially in western cultures, leaders are expected to portray high levels of accountability. These cultures require extensive documentation and external structures and processes.

In contrast, other cultures insist on accountability as the product of relationships and emphasize that people are accountable to groups to which they primarily belong and to the standards that the groups hold for their members. In developed nations, when a scandal is reported in an organization, the leader is usually accountable for the scandal. However, in some countries when a scandal is reported in an organization member involved are blamed rather than the leader (Nelson & Quick, 2008). In this regard, it is more challenging to lead multicultural organizations.

About the above illustrations, it is essential for researchers to investigate leadership based on cultural context. Understanding cultural differences in leadership prototypes is very important for managers in foreign countries for them to perform effectively. In the past, effective cross-cultural training for managers has been a challenging task demonstrating the need to adapt and understand automatic and schema-based components of perceptions and behaviors specific to particular institutions and organizations (Nelson & Quick, 2008).

In conclusion, we should note that culture affects leadership in various ways. For a corporation with several departments, organizational culture has intense effects on the leaders’ decision approaches and results of these decisions. As such, cultural norms and values play important roles in molding leaders’ outlooks and defining their leadership roles and functions. Globally, leaders will portray types of leadership styles desired in their communities and organizations (Nelson & Quick, 2008).

This affirms that cultural values play a great role in determining the type of leadership exhibited by their leaders. Another illustration that indicates leadership is culturally bounded is the success of different organizations. Similar organizations perform differently because of several interrelated variables. One of these variables that affect the performance of an organization is leadership. Also, Charismatic leaders make use of their appeal to get things done to their expectations.

Through this type of leadership, a leader can influence and expand the interest of the followers and attain unwavering support among the followers. This situation will be beneficial to an organization because its interest will be given priority rather than personal interest. Therefore, it is essential for researchers to investigate leadership based on cultural context. Understanding cultural differences in leadership prototypes is very important for managers in foreign countries for them to perform effectively (Nelson & Quick, 2008).

Reference

Nelson, D. L., & Quick, J. C. (2008). Understanding organizational behavior. Mason, OH, USA : Thomson/South-Western.

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