Is Good Leadership the Same All Over the World?

Is Good Leadership the Same All Over the World?

Media interest in leadership continues apace and unabated. Central to this interest is the simple, but not easy, question, what drives effective leadership?

Based on theory, research and practice, it is believed that being an effective leader is a mix of three determining factors: country context (philosophical views that shape norms and patterns); organisational culture (unique culture and practices); and personal competence (personal style, traits and predispositions). Understanding of each of these three influences helps leaders know how to be more effective.

From the UK, leadership shows up in the misconduct in the banking sector. From Asia leadership issues range from the culture clash at Olympus to the snipping about the ‘depth of bow’ given by non-Japanese CEOs of Japanese companies and short lived tenure of the US born chief executive of Nippon Sheet Glass. From Thailand and Indonesia it is leaders close links with politics and what is seen as ‘crony capitalism’. From China there is the recent spectacular unravelling of the career of Bo Xilai and now the widening fall out of this to the family’s business interests. These (in)famous examples highlight the continued interest in leaders and leadership.Cass Professor Chris Rowley and Professor Dave Ulrich explore the idea of effective leadership further in the report entitled ‘Is Good Leadership The Same The World Over?’

As leaders recognise the business challenges and subsequent organisation cultural requirements, they will be able to determine what they have to know and to do be effective leaders and build effective leadership.

So, what drives good leadership? The country context, organisation culture, and personal competence. When leaders are aware of their predispositions, they are able to apply or adapt them to their organisation culture and country contexts and more likely to deliver required results. Some key elements of “good” leadership (such as setting and operating a coherent and ethical strategy and organisational culture) are the same the world over, but clearly their implementation and practice is not.


By John Benson

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