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Mapping and modeling the capacities that underlie effective cross‐cultural leadership: An interpretive study with practical outcomes

Ling Deng (Graduate School of Business, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Paul Gibson (Graduate School of Business, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Article publication date: 23 October 2009

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present an empirically informed model of the underlying factors that enable effective cross‐cultural leadership. It also outlines procedures for using the model to assist expatriate managers to develop the capacities that underlie effective cross‐cultural leadership. The model encompasses the complexity of cross‐cultural leadership issues in China, the importance of having some theoretical knowledge on the topic, and the need to be flexible and pragmatic in applying this knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual framework of the factors that interact to produce effective cross‐cultural leadership was developed from the literature. Semi‐structured in‐depth interviews were conducted with 32 Western expatriate managers and 19 local Chinese managers working in Australian businesses operating in Shanghai and Beijing. Within each interview, respondents were asked what they believe are the keys to successful leadership in Australian‐Chinese cross‐cultural workplaces.

Findings

The interviews revealed a core series of cross‐cultural leadership competencies that call upon all three of transformational leadership, emotional intelligence, and cultural intelligence.

Practical implications

The findings and perspectives presented here should assist organizations in their selection and development of expatriate leaders. The paper argues that organizations should focus less upon skills and more upon underlying attitudinal and cognitive enablers.

Originality/value

Whilst most cross‐cultural leadership studies to date have focused on examining and explaining cultural differences and their influence on leadership effectiveness, this paper focuses on individual orientation and capacities.

Keywords

Citation

Deng, L. and Gibson, P. (2009), "Mapping and modeling the capacities that underlie effective cross‐cultural leadership: An interpretive study with practical outcomes", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 347-366. https://doi.org/10.1108/13527600911000339

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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