Contextual leadership

Farid A. Muna (Meirc Training & Consulting, Orange, California, USA)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Publication date: 20 September 2011



The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of context and culture on leadership and decision‐making styles of Lebanese‐born executives working in the USA, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and Lebanon.


Using a semi‐structured questionnaire, 76 successful Lebanese executives were interviewed in three regions of the world. Comparisons among the three groups are made on three elements: early ingredients for success particularly during childhood and educational years, emotional intelligence (EI) leadership styles, and decision‐making styles.


Although successful leaders, born and raised in Lebanon, share the early ingredients for success, they differ significantly in their decision making and EI leadership styles when working outside Lebanon with multicultural and diverse followers.

Research limitations/implications

The research findings strongly suggest that future research on cross‐cultural leadership will be more fruitful when context and culture are taken into account, and if researchers use a non‐Western conceptualization of culture, and when the research is conducted by multicultural and interdisciplinary researchers.


The study lends support to the notion that successful leaders adapt to their new culture and context, learning from adversity and experience, and mastering the cultural context.



Muna, F. (2011), "Contextual leadership", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 30 No. 9, pp. 865-881.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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