Scholars have argued that it is important to investigate how authentic leadership is manifested in different cultures (Avolio et al., 2005; Gardiner, 2011; Shamir and…
Scholars have argued that it is important to investigate how authentic leadership is manifested in different cultures (Avolio et al., 2005; Gardiner, 2011; Shamir and Eilam, 2005). Hence the purpose of this paper is to capture a cross-cultural view of authentic leadership, using a sample of South Asian leaders.
Because of a dearth of qualitative empirical evidence, the authors adopted a “life story” approach to collect data. A total of 14 leaders from India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were interviewed to share their leadership experiences.
Findings indicate that the concept of authentic leadership is culturally relevant. It emerged as a multi-dimensional construct constituting self-concept, follower development, organizational outcomes and culture (Meacham, 2007), and contextual knowledge. The authors propose a cross-cultural model of authentic leadership.
Research limitations include researchers’ possible biases in design of data and an assumption that leaders interviewed were authentic. Despite these limitations, the study provides valuable insights about authentic leadership to strengthen its theoretical foundation.
Organizational and social problems in South Asian are often attributed to a leadership deficit (Khan, 2014; Khilji, 2013; National Post, 2014; Sardesai, 2013). This study provides evidence of transformative authentic leaders in South Asia who are engaged with their and followers’ authentic growth, and are building authentic cultures for positive organizational outcomes.
The value of the present research is in providing qualitative empirical evidence from South Asia, and proposing a cross-cultural model of authentic leadership.