The impact of culture on leadership

Dalglish, Carol L. (2008) The impact of culture on leadership. In Sarros, James (Ed.) Contemporary perspectives on leadership : focus and meaning for ambiguous times. Tilde University Press, Prahran, VIC., pp. 36-44.

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All societies and organizations have leaders, that is, someone who is a figure head, who represents the group. These ‘leaders’ may be elected, have risen to the position through merit or may have inherited their position. Many names are given to people in these positions; ruler, chief executive officer, chairman. However, everyone who fills these positions is not necessarily effective. Leadership is about how effective any leader is.

The concept of leadership and what makes a leader effective has been the subject of much study in the 20th century. There is some agreement about what leaders do – if not what makes them effective at these tasks. These tasks include:

• Creating a vision, sense of direction and goals. (Bennis 1989, Conger 1992, Gardener 1990, Gardener 1997, Kotter 1990, Marriotti 1999).

• Aligning people through communication (Bennis 1989, Congern1992, Gardner 1990, Gardner 1997, Mariotti 1999).

• Affirming/reaffirming values (Freiberg 1998, Gardener 1990).

• Management of Self (Freiberg 1998, Bennis 1989).

A practical definition of what leaders do, that encapsulates all these various roles, was put forward by Kotter (1990)

‘ it (leadership) produces movement. Throughout the ages, individuals who have been seen as leaders have created change, sometimes for the better and sometimes not. They have done so in a variety of ways, though their actions often seem to boil down to establishing where a group of people should go, getting them lined up in that direction and committed to movement, and then energizing them to overcome the inevitable obstacles they will encounter along the way.’

This definition shows leadership as a process – a process that involves an interaction between people, between leader and follower. This interaction will of necessity sit within a cultural framework.

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ID Code: 18469
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information about this book please refer to the publisher's website (see link) or contact the author.
Keywords: Culture, Leadership
ISBN: 978-0-7346-1068-3
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisation and Management Theory (150310)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Tilde University Press
Deposited On: 05 Mar 2009 01:18
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2015 15:08

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