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North and South Latin America : Influence of values on preferred leader behaviour in Chile and Mexico

Romie Frederick Littrell (Department of International Business, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Evangelina Cruz Barba (Department of Business and Economic Studies, University of Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Mexico)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 7 June 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to investigate the national cultural clusters myth, studying the relationships between individual cultural values and preferred leader behaviour of working businesspeople in “Latin American” samples from Santiago, Chile, and Guadalajara, Mexico. The set of research questions to be addressed are: Are the rankings of value dimensions by businesspeople different between “Latin American” Chile and Mexico? Are the rankings of preferred leader behaviour dimensions different between Chile and Mexico? Are the predictive relationships of leader behaviour preferences by value dimension priorities different between Chile and Mexico?

Design/methodology/approach

In an investigation of the relationships amongst preferred leader behaviour and individual value dimensions, the study employs field survey research using two experimental but well established and documented instruments, the Schwartz Values Survey and the Leader Behaviour Description Questionnaire. Comparisons between results from two samples from Chile and Mexico are carried out.

Findings

Two samples from large cities in Latin America, Santiago, Chile, and Guadalajara, Mexico, are compared using preferred leader behaviour dimensions and individual values and their relationship to one another. Significant sample and gender sub‐sample differences were observed for preferred leader behaviour, indicating that the perception of preferred leader behaviour priorities differed between businesspeople in Santiago and Guadalajara. Results indicate a general preference in both samples for a Parental Leader style, nurturing in Chile and stern in Mexico, and managerial leaders should be a source of enjoyment and pleasure in business; indications are that engaging in business is an enjoyable endeavour. Gender (sex) differences were observed between samples for preferred leader behaviour. Due to several demographic differences in job level and age in the samples, further work is required to verify the differences observed.

Research limitations/implications

Samples are from two cities, Santiago, Chile, and Guadalajara, Mexico, with an obvious requirement for studying additional regions in the country. Interpreting the findings is challenging and needs to be clarified though further focus group studies to assist in interpreting similarities and differences.

Practical implications

Practical applications of the outcomes of the study are that the results can be used to inform managerial leadership training and development and practice for expatriate and local managerial leaders working in the two cities.

Social implications

The authors’ literature review and data analyses have some social implications as they found contradictory and misleading discussions of the relative placement of Mexico, Chile, and other countries in South, Central, and North America using cultural value dimension studies that need to be rationalised in further research.

Originality/value

The study is of value to practitioners and researchers interested in managerial leadership in Latin American countries.

Keywords

Citation

Frederick Littrell, R. and Cruz Barba, E. (2013), "North and South Latin America : Influence of values on preferred leader behaviour in Chile and Mexico", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 629-656. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMD-04-2013-0055

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited