Q1. Should non-Western countries adopt the dominant leadership theories developed in the West? Why or why not?
Before adopting dominant Western leadership theories, non-Western countries should thoroughly assess their compatibility with cultural values, norms, and practices (Hofstede, 2003).
Western leadership theories focus on individualism, emphasising individual achievements and autonomy (House et al., 2004). In contrast, many non-Western cultures, such as those in Asia and Africa, prioritise collectivism, valuing group harmony and interdependence (Triandis, 1995). These cultural distinctions may render Western leadership theories incompatible with non-Western contexts. Relatedly, Western leadership theories may not address non-Western countries' unique challenges, including differing political systems, economic structures, and social norms (Jackson, 2011). To effectively tackle these challenges, local leaders in non-Western countries may need to develop context-specific solutions (Chhokar et al., 2019).
Additionally, non-Western countries may already possess culturally appropriate and effective indigenous leadership models (Ayman & Korabik, 2010). Disregarding these models in favour of Western theories could lead to a loss of valuable local knowledge and insights. Uncritically adopting Western leadership theories may inadvertently promote the notion that Western approaches are universally superior, perpetuating ethnocentrism and undermining the significance of cultural diversity in leadership (Elenkov & Manev, 2005).
In conclusion, non-Western countries should carefully evaluate the applicability of Western leadership theories within their specific cultural contexts and explore a combination of Western and indigenous models to develop culturally relevant and practical leadership approaches (Thomas & Inkson, 2017).
- Ayman, R., & Korabik, K. (2010). Leadership: Why gender and culture matter. The American Psychologist, 65(3), 157-170. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0018806
- Chhokar, J.S., Brodbeck, F.C., & House, R.J. (Eds.). (2019). Culture and Leadership Across the World: The GLOBE Book of In-Depth Studies of 25 Societies. Psychology Press.
- Elenkov, D. S., & Manev, I.M. (2005). Top management leadership and influence on innovation: The role of sociocultural context. Journal of Management, 31(3), 381-402. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206304272151
- Hofstede, G. (2003). CulturCulture'squences: Comparing Values, Behaviours, Institutions and Organisations Across Nations (2nd ed.). Sage.
- House, R.J., Hanges, P.J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P.W., & Gupta, V. (2004). Culture, Leadership, and Organisations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies. Sage.
- Jackson, T. (2012). Cross-cultural management and the informal economy in sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for organisation, employment and skills development. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(14), 2901-2916. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2012.671510
- Thomas, D.C., & Inkson, K. (2017). Cultural Intelligence: Surviving and Thriving in the Global Village (3rd ed.). Berrett-Koehler.
Triandis, H.C. (1995). Individualism & Collectivism. Westview Press.
Q2. What advice would you give to managers sent to work in Russia or Brazil (choose one)? Additional search is needed; support your answer with references to research and theory.
In managing teams within Brazil, it is essential to understand the distinct cultural aspects that impact leadership and performance management (Fischer & Mansell, 2009). To start, emphasising relationship building is essential, as research illustrates that Brazilians place significant value on personal relationships and trust in professional settings (Gouvea, 2004). With this, Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory (Hofstede, 2003) reveals that Brazil scores higher in collectivism, indicating that individuals prioritise group harmony and loyalty. As a result, dedicating time to understanding team members personally and engaging in social events may help cultivate stronger connections (Chua et al., 2012).
Moreover, respecting hierarchy is vital in Brazil, as the country’s high score in the power distance dimension (Hofstede, 2003) suggests that such structures are both valued and anticipated (Minkov & Hofstede, 2011). A manager should offer clear guidance and direction to their team, remain open to feedback, and avoid excessive authoritarian behaviour, which may damage team relationships (Kiazad et al., 2014). Finally, adapting to a more flexible approach to time management is necessary in Brazil, where time is perceived as more fluid than in some Western cultures. This can be attributed to the polychronic concept of time in Latin American cultures (Hall, 1983). Managers should be ready to accommodate last-minute changes and adjust expectations concerning punctuality and deadlines (Bluedorn, 2002).
- Bluedorn, A.C. (2002). The Human Organisation of Time: Temporal Realities and Experience. Stanford Business Books.
- Chua, R.Y.J., Morris, M.W., & Mor, S. (2012). Collaborating across cultures: Cultural metacognition and affect-based trust in creative collaboration. Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 118(2), 116-131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2012.03.009
- Fischer, R., & Mansell, A. (2009). Commitment across cultures: A meta-analytical approach. Journal of International Business Studies, 40(8), 1339-1358. https://doi.org/10.1057/jibs.2009.14
- Gouvea, R. (2004). Doing business in Brazil: A strategic approach. Thunderbird International Business Review, 46(2), 165-189. https://doi.org/10.1002/tie.20003
- Hall, E.T. (1983). The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time. Anchor Books.
- Hofstede, G. (2003). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviours, Institutions and Organisations Across Nations (2nd ed.). Sage.
- Kiazad, K., Seibert, S.E., & Kraimer, M.L. (2014). Psychological contract breach and employee innovation: A conservation of resources perspective. Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology, 87(3), 535-556. https://doi.org/10.1111/joop.12062
- Minkov, M., & Hofstede, G. (2011). The evolution of Hofstede's doctrine. Cross Cultural Management, 18(1), 10-20. https://doi.org/10.1108/13527601111104269