Advances in Global Leadership: Volume 2

Table of contents

(22 chapters)

Preface

Pages ix-xi
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Introduction

Pages 1-5
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In a search for the meaning of global leadership, we use the metaphor of a sojourn. We travel into six areas of the literature: strategy, cross-cultural research, expatriation, competencies, leadership and adult learning. We draw from our visit to each literature its perspective on global leadership and then step back to reflect on the lessons of our sojourn — what we learned about the literature of global leadership and what we learned about global leadership itself. We learned that the literature is vast and ever expanding and too often uses a single methodology. However, common themes emerge. With a few exceptions, the literature is engaging, and tempts one to take side trips and explore back roads. We found many answers to the riddle of global leadership, both in definitions and in competencies, and we gained an appreciation for the complexity and ambiguity of international work. We answer the “favorite place” question and conclude, after all, that the mystery of global leadership remains unsolved.

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Visitors from another planet visit earth to discover the secrets of global company leadership. They learn that, as organizations progress from a traditional to a process-based structure, they require different leadership styles. They discover that the biggest barriers to this style of leadership developing within these organizations are often the beliefs, actions and ego needs of the current leadership.

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Literature on leadership and literature on culture are each rich and deep, but the two were largely unrelated during the first several decades of their development. In more recent years, many researchers have explored relationships between these two literatures. In this chapter, we identify four developments or trends in the last 25 years of cross-cultural leadership literature. First, our understanding of etic or universal findings has advanced and become more complex, but also more realistic. Second, there has been refinement in the definition of “culture” and the identification of the dimensions of culture, with several researchers having identified particular cultural dimensions that seem to be directly relevant to leadership. Third, the social information processing literature has been extended to the leadership and culture literatures. Finally, there is a movement toward larger studies that not only collect data from multiple countries, but also through multiple research methodologies.

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Transformational leader behaviors are defined as those behaviors that make followers more aware of the importance and values of task outcomes, activate their higher-order needs and induce them to transcend self-interests for the sake of the organization (Bass, 1985; Yukl, 1989a, b). These behaviors primarily include six types: articulating a vision, intellectual stimulation, demonstrating high performance expectations, providing an appropriate model, fostering collaboration and providing individualized support. Transactional leader behaviors, on the other hand, are founded on an exchange process in which the leader provides rewards/ punishments in return for the subordinate's effort and performance (Burns, 1978). They often include four types: contingent/non-contingent reward and contingent /non-contingent punishment. We examined the effects of these leader behaviors on subordinates' job satisfaction, organizational commitment and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) in Chinese organizations. Data from 410 subordinate-supervisor dyads (287 in Taiwan and 123 in the PRC) suggest that while transformational leader behaviors in both samples have a more profound impact than transactional behaviors on employee job satisfaction and organizational commitment, the effects of each specific transformational and transactional behavior are different in the PRC and Taiwan. In particular, among the six types of transformational behaviors, ‘providing an appropriate model” and “demonstrating high expectation of performance” significantly influenced PRC employees' job attitudes and OCB, whereas “providing individualized support” and “fostering collaboration” had significant influence on Taiwan employees' job attitudes and OCB. Furthermore, among the four types of transactional behaviors, contingent reward and punishment had significant positive impact on PRC employees' job satisfaction and organizational commitment, whereas the job attitudes of the Taiwan employees were not significantly affected by contingent punishment. Instead, it was found that non-contingent reward had significant positive impact while non-contingent punishment had significant negative effect on their job attitudes. In addition, both contingent and non-contingent punishment had significant negative effects on Taiwan employees' OCB, whereas only non-contingent punishment had such negative effects in the PRC. The implications of these findings are discussed in terms of the contingent nature of leadership effectiveness.

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There is no hope for creating a better world without a deeper scientific insight in the function of leadership and culture, and of other essentials of group life. Kurt Lewin, pioneering social psychologist Supposing is good, but finding out is better. Mark Twain If it becomes necessary to oppose a ruler, withstand him to his face, and don't try roundabout methods. Confucius Leadership is a special art and a precious contribution to employees, customers, shareholders and managers alike. But the challenge to lead effectively is formidable. Leaders must be credible and consistent, yet flexible and dynamic. They motivate and direct, yet listen carefully and develop a team that wants to do what needs to be done. Today they must often inspire people who are culturally diverse and geographically dispersed.

No wonder then that leadership often disappoints. Over 60% of U.S. employees consistently describe their boss as the biggest source of stress on the job (Hogan, Curphy & Hogan, 1994). Confident, popular leaders too often become frustrated, unwelcomed ones as hopes turn to blame.

Leadership has proved difficult for researchers too. Despite many models and thousands of studies, leadership knowledge is still preliminary and its impact on practice minor (Argyris, 1991; Kouzes & Posner, 1995). Research has shown the limitations of traditional notions that leadership is a simple characteristic of a person, perhaps genetically based, or that it involves a particular kind of action (Dickson, Hanges & Lord, 1999). Research in cross-cultural settings has reinforced the general conclusion that leaders must be flexible. They do not simply follow a script, but must assess the situation and act appropriately. However, specifying this contingency perspective is difficult. Leaders have a great many options in many different circumstances. Leaders must also be credible. How can flexibility and credibility both be attained?

Challenges for leading and for research are particularly daunting in cross-cultural settings, where stereotypes frustrate progress. Although Chinese employees have told us about how they have come to respect and learn a great deal from their Japanese and Western managers, others have complained bitterly about their managers' aloofness and condescension (Wong, Sonoda & Tjosvold, 1999). Western-trained managers in China are often praised for openness, but condemned for insensitivity.

Research on leadership in China has considerable potential for it confronts stereotypes that frustrate leadership practice and research, and can identify underlying elements of effective leading. Our research is a beginning and it shows that researchers can cut through these stereotypes to theorize how one can manage effectively in a culture as discrepant from the American culture as is the Chinese culture. We have found that open-minded, two-way relationships contribute significantly to successful leadership in the East as well as in the West. Leadership is not simply a characteristic of one person but developed by managers and employees together. Our research also demonstrates the value of using the theory of cooperation and competition to identify the nature of these relationships. This elegant theory suggests powerful ways to lead and build leadership capabilities.

The third major contribution of our research is the demonstration of how Chinese values can contribute to successful leadership. Although Chinese cultural values are often thought to impede the development of an empowered workforce, our studies suggest how, when appropriately expressed, they promote effective contemporary leadership.

This chapter has five parts. It begins with a description of the challenges of leading and studying leadership in China. It then outlines the theory of cooperation and competition and describes our field and experimental research findings using this theory. The fourth section discusses how Chinese values and cognitive style can promote productive, open-minded relationships between managers and employees. The final section suggests major procedures to apply research knowledge to strengthen leadership in China.

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An analysis of the role of a respected social standing, or status, provides insights into the ways that globalization affects leaders' decisions to undertake organizational change. The review indicates that attaining high status entails advantages, with evidence that many will seek to attain and hold respected positions of social standing. Illustrative observations taken from a larger study of the effects of the transformation of Hungary's political and economic systems after communism suggest that the pursuit of status in differing social circles was a major factor differentiating those leaders who did not seek to make fundamental changes in their organizations from those who did so. These causes are examples of a larger phenomenon: Globalization has the effect of confronting executives from heretofore limited social environments, not only with economic losses to more powerful competitors but also to losses in their status as they come into closer contact with wealthier and more successful others who bestow respect for differing behaviors.

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Here in the early days of the 21st century, we are hearing those voices around us, which long for the return of the charismatic, individualistic leaders of earlier times. Where are the so-called “leaders of men,” the giants of politics and industry who can safely show us the way? We used to be able to recognize them more easily; they stood tall, took little heed of other people's opinions, and spoke authoritatively like him-who-is-tobe-obeyed. But somewhere around New Year's 2000 (or was it earlier?), these titans seem to have become less individualistic. Leadership today seems to be more of a combination of great minds rather than any single intellect. We have come to realize that leaders simply do not and cannot stand alone.

In his book, Organizing Genius, Warren Bennis (1997) titles the first chapter “The End of the Great Man” and argues that the day of the individualistic, charismatic leader is now past:

The myth of the triumphant individual is deeply ingrained in the American psyche.... In our society leadership is too often seen as an inherently individual phenomenon. And yet we all know that cooperation and collaboration grow more important every day. A shrinking world in which technological and political complexity increase at an accelerating rate offers fewer and fewer arenas in which individual action suffices. Recognizing this, we talk more and more about the need for teamwork (p. 1).

The vastness and complexity of the task in the new century now requires leaders to see far beyond their own individual perspectives, no matter how wise or impressive they may have seemed. To add to Bennis' technology and political complexity, Moran, Harris and Stripp (1993) add culture, rapid change and the shifting nature of work:

The human family and global business in particular are increasingly intercultural and interdependent. We are in passage from a work culture that conditioned most of us when the Industrial Revolution recast our physical world and reality through mechanization, quantification, and consolidation. We are in transit to a Knowledge Society, dominated by high technology and information processing, a culture marked by mediation (describing and interpreting our world), by simulation and virtual reality (VR), and by circularity (events whipping around us, interacting and shaping experiences). In these circumstances, between epochs, everything we do is cross-cultural and dynamic. (pp. 10–11).

This chapter will focus on what happens to business leadership in an environment like that just described. Clearly the “triumphant individual” is rare, organizational hierarchy is being flattened, team process takes center stage, globalization makes organizations and teams international, and the various electronic communication media become the environment of the new reality. The approach of this chapter will be, first, to examine some of the issues of virtual teams — the challenges, problems and solutions, payoffs, technology, and the array of human, economic, political and even philosophical issues they raise. Secondly, we move to an analysis of three areas of difficulty that face global leadership in the virtual environment: culture, trust and collaboration. As part of this analysis, we suggest strategic approaches for executives to employ in order to solve and preempt some of these problems.

The emergence of “virtual teams” (VT) has become one of the hottest topics in business management literature. And in that literature the subject of leadership comes up often. When it does, however, it is much more likely to discuss middle managers and team members.

What this literature does not talk about much is what goes on with executives in the new virtual environment of global teams. On one hand, Bennis' “triumphant individual” is passes on the other hand, executives are still around and functioning as the top leaders of organizations. Although we shall see that most of the research and writing on virtual teams has been done on teams that operate deeper in the organization, it is nevertheless true that senior leaders of international organizations must also collaborate in a virtual environment. The collective knowledge of executive leadership teams plays itself out in a virtual, mediated environment to set the direction and strategy of the entire enterprise. These executive virtual teams may find the challenges of time and space to be even greater, with attendant increases in peril to the organization.

We want to look carefully and strategically at the needs and challenges facing executive teams who utilize electronic media to run international businesses from widely scattered locations. Our concern is with the international virtual executive team (IVET).

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The premise of this chapter is the following: strategic alliances offer the kind of organizational context that encourages a new kind of leadership and the attributes of effective alliance managers today are the foundational characteristics of global leaders of the future. Drawing on extensive field research as well as work with companies, we examine the alliance context and the challenges it offers to managers. We describe those leadership challenges, and detail both the actions and behaviors required of effective alliance managers and the cognitive characteristics that seem to distinguish them from other line managers. We end with some concrete suggestions about grooming alliance managers, albeit leaders of the future.

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In this chapter, we propose a theory of perceptual distance and its implications for team leadership and team outcomes. Perceptual distance is defined as the variance in the perceptions of the same social stimulus, which in this case, is either a team leader's behavior or the team's behavior. The general research question that we will address is, “What are the consequences of perceptual distance for team process and outcomes?” Our basic argument is that the relationship between perceptual distance and team processes and outcomes is moderated by two key cultural characteristics: power distance and collectivism. For example, depending upon the dynamics of power distance, large differences in perceptions of a team leader's behavior can negatively impact team productivity. Similarly, depending upon the dynamics of collectivism, significant variations in perceptions of team cohesion can negatively influence conflict resolution.

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This chapter takes a practical look at three challenges faced by long-distance leaders: creating an environment of effective communication, building alignment around business strategy and fostering individual and group learning. While these are clearly challenges that span all continents, the chapter focuses on how they are played out across Asia. Cultural issues associated with these challenges and the use of electronic communication and collaboration tools to help overcome these challenges are discussed. While the perspective taken in this chapter is from that of Asia, it is hoped that the lessons learned are relevant around the globe.

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At the outset, I would like establish that there are no simple answers or magical solutions to quickly address the complex challenges of developing an effective supply of leadership talent. The concepts and insights provided here reflect the collective wisdom of a talented team of professionals within Johnson & Johnson who are responsible for the executive development of its senior leadership team. Over the past three years our department team has been effectively delivering senior-level leadership experiences, while at the same time conducting extensive internal and external research and developing approaches to strengthen the Johnson & Johnson leadership pool.

Our lessons learned over this period of time can be boiled down into these four factors: • ⊎|Simplicity is the keystone to adoption. When plans or strategies get so complex that they can not be effectively described to your key stakeholders within five minutes, you are headed down the road of organizational “mumbo jumbo,” which then only the content experts will understand and value. • ⊎|Alignment, with the business imperatives, sustains engagement. If success is dependent on the commitment of line leadership, then the investment of their resources must directly contribute to the achievement of the their business goals. • ⊎|Synergy is achieved through integration. While there are multiple processes involved in the development of leadership talent, it must function as a synchronous operation in order to produce the greatest impact. • ⊎|Execution is critical to learning; learning is critical to success. Success is achieved through refinement of imperfect strategies and applications.

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“It has become impossible for me — or for any one individual — to know everything that needs to be known about all the changes in market conditions, products, manufacturing, and distribution for each country or region. So, in the final analysis, you have to find the right people for the right problems — and then trust them to take the right actions.” Interview quote from Hay/McBer International CEO Leadership study (McBer & Company, 1995).

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How prepared are CEOs to recognize that their global competitiveness depends on including the most talented people in the world on their executive team, women as well as men? As global competition intensifies, the opportunity cost of traditional male-dominated leadership patterns has escalated. The question is no longer, “Will the pattern of male-dominated leadership change?” but rather, “Which companies are taking advantage of new trends and which are falling behind? Which strategies are proving most effective in moving the best people - women and men - into senior leadership positions?” This chapter describes one major multinational's experience in creating an organizational change process, led by the CEO, designed to move the most talented women from around the world into the company's previously all-male senior executive positions. The overall goals for the organizational change process were to increase the company's global competitiveness; develop the global leadership skills of the company's most highly talented and senior women; create an internal network among the company's women leaders; and develop both global and local recommendations for enhancing the company's ability to support the career advancement and success of an increasing number of highly talented and senior women. The chapter describes the organizational change process leading up to the Women's Global Leadership Forum (including the results of a company-wide survey), the design for the Women's Global Leadership Forum itself, the recommendations implemented by the company following the Forum, and the cross-cultural lessons learned in working with senior and highly talent women from around the world.

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Conclusions

Pages 385-389
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About the editors

Pages 391-393
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DOI
10.1016/S1535-1203(2001)2
Publication date
Book series
Advances in Global Leadership
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-0-76230-723-4
Book series ISSN
1535-1203