Culture, by definition, is a society’s inherent way of life, through shared motives, beliefs, and identity that result from the common experiences that the society goes through, over years (House, Javidan, Hanges, and Dorfman, 2002). Culture defines people as it holds a lot of significance to individuals’ development and future behavior. Leadership, on the other hand, is majorly affected by culture among other factors. The reason is that different cultures have different leadership designs and have ways in which they expect their leaders to carry out their duties.
Leadership and culture
Leadership from research has been found to be affected by behavior and cultural practices from which the leader comes. Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Program (GLOBE) is an organization that was set up to analyze leaders’ behaviors universally and how they were affected by culture. In relation to their cultural behaviors, GLOBE also was seeking to establish how effective these leaders were in delegating their duties. A 1991-initiated plan that took off in 2004, GLOBE analyzed managers in the hospitality industry, finance, and telecommunication.
In this research, GLOBE researchers carried out their research in 62 countries, addressing aspects such as gender, power division, institutional organizations, individual assertiveness, in-groupings, humanity, and future expectations among leaders. They collected different and diverse data from various regions. For example, southern Asian leaders had great concern for their subjects; Sub-Saharan leaders had strong family loyalty, while Middle East leaders accorded women less status, a phenomenon exactly opposite compared to Nordic Europe. This justifies the fact that different leaders are affected by their individual cultures in their administration.
According to various writers, every individual’s behavior and attitude is always affected by the values they hold. This applies even in leadership positions, whereby leaders make decisions and act according to what they consider valuable to them and the society at large.
In numerous places and states where there are different people with different and diverse cultures, there are leadership conflicts because certain people may have different opinions and react indifferently towards decisions made by the leader if the values are not acceptable in their cultures (Smith and Bond, 1998). This leads to a cultural conflict, and this is especially common in Africa, a continent that has many communities with diverse cultures.
In the current years, it is important for leaders in all positions and levels to be diverse and flexible when it comes to their leadership positions and cultures (French, 2010). This is because due to globalization, people are now traveling far and wide, and since they are expected to adapt to the places they travel to, it is human that the decisions and values held by the natives be accommodative to them. In this line of thought, many writers urge that leaders have a major role to play in promoting positive and acceptable values in their protectorates. For this reason, they should lead by example, and this has been successfully upheld by leaders in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia, where many people temporarily or permanently migrate to (Hofstede, 2001). Due to globalization, most cultural practices especially the negative ones have slowly been diluted, in some cases through the influence of leaders in the areas, who slowly discourage the practices. Some of the leaders face hostility especially in communities that strongly uphold their cultures (Russo, 2000)
It stands out that to different extents; leaders are usually affected by their cultures in their decision making and administration. However, major changes are being experienced as leaders from all over the world embrace globalization.
French, R. (2010). Cross-cultural management at work organizations. Portsmouth: Portsmouth University Press. Print.
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across nations. Beverly Hills, California: Sage publishers. Print.
House, R., Javidan, M., Hanges, P., and Dorfman, P. (2002). Understanding cultures and implicit leadership theories across the globe: an introduction to the project GLOBE. New York: Elsevier Science inc. Print.
Russo, K.W. (2000). Finding the middle ground: Insights and applications of the Value Orientations method. Yarmouth: Intercultural Press. Print.
Smith, P.B., & Bond, M.H. (1998). Social psychology across cultures (2nd ed.). London: Prentice Hall. Print.