Business success in an international environment - Global leadership

Term Paper, 2004

12 Pages, Grade: 2,7


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Definition and Basis of Leadership

3. Leadership Theories
3.1 Theory X and Y
3.2 Traits, Behaviour and Situational Theory

4. Leadership Styles and Behaviours
4.1 Leadership Styles
4.2 Leadership Behaviours

5. Cross-Cultural Leadership

6. Managerial aspects

7. Case study


1. Introduction

In our global world nowadays where international competition forces companies to act in many different countries leadership abilities, which are usually linked to the success or failure of international operations, has to approach a new dimension (Hodgett & Luthans, 2003). Today the leader is confronted with the challenge to cross national borders while acting both transactional and successful. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of the fallacy that something which, works successful in one culture can just be transferred to others without adjusting it on cultural diversities. First of all this work, provides a definition of leadership and describe its basis. Furthermore, the common theories and different styles of leadership will be presented. Two points about cross-cultural aspects and important managerial aspects follow it. In the end there will be a case study to show the practical meaning and importance of the topic.

2. Definition and basis of leadership

Although there does not exist a generally agreed-on definition, leadership can be defined as a process of influencing people to direct their efforts toward the achievement of some particular goal or goals (Hodgetts&Luthans, 2003). In another point of view leadership is seen as an influencing process that requires at least two people (leader and follower) and occurs in situations of attempting to achieve specific objectives (explicit or implied goals) (Jackson, 1993). Perhaps a further going statement is that leadership involves the ability to inspire and influence the thinking, attitudes, and behaviour of people (Adler, 1997).

The result of a survey showed that over 1000 European Managers expect the following leadership qualities: building effective teams, listening, retaining skilled people and making decisions on their own (Jackson, 1993 / Mainguy, 1988).

Another way to describe leadership is to show the effects (empowerment) on the followers.

The answers to the questions, do people feel significant, do they feel as a part of the community and do they feel that work is exciting in an organization, are good indicators of effective leadership (Jackson, 1993 / Bennis, 1991). The sum of these different aspects may help to make it clearer what leadership means.

3. Leadership Theories

Many researchers have focused their works on the different ways of motivating employees. Managers` individual behaviour could be the result of their philosophy or beliefs about effective leading (Hodgetts & Luthans, 2003).

Most of the theories were developed in America. Therefore, they are mostly based on the political, economical, and cultural context of the United States (Adler, 1997). In this context it, must be quoted that theoretical aspects are not simply transferable to each culture without considering the specific cultural features and diversities.

3.1 Theories X and Y

The nature of human beings and the expectations on their work environment is the base of Douglas McGregor`s classic Theories X and Y. With regards to this pioneer of leadership theories, Theory X leaders believe that the only way to motivate people to work is to direct, control, and coerce them (Adler, 1997). This theory follows the assumption that people are lazy and can be motivated by more basic needs for safety and security (Hodgetts & Luthans, 2003). In contrast to Theory X, Theory Y leaders believe that only higher-order needs for achievement and self-actualisation motivate people. They think people will seek increased responsibility and challenge if they work under right conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to provide them with freedom, autonomy and responsibility. In their supporters opinion people are basically good and trustworthy (Hodgetts&Luthans, 2003 / Adler, 1997).

The reasons for leaders to adopt Theory X or Y dependent on different cultures. While under U.S. managers the approach of Theory Y is widespread because of the assumption that the satisfaction of higher-order needs will motivate people, the same Theory will be applied in China for other reasons.

After the 1949 revolution the so-called Reds, skilled in managing people and possessing political and ideological expertise, adopted the Theory Y because of their political doctrine that all employees had to raise economically and culturally together. (Hodgetts & Luthans, 2003 / Adler 1997)

3.2 Trait, Behaviour and Situational Theory

These three major theories of leadership were outlined by McCormick and Ilgen (1985). Nowadays, as an effect of recent research, the Trait Theory, which said that natural leaders were born with the required personality traits (unchangeable), has no importance and doesn’t play a role any longer. As researchers they were very interested to see which influence leaders can have on a group they focused on the Behaviour Theories (Leadership behaviour not easily modified; Needs changes of attitudes as well as development of appropriate skills; Behaviour may be cultural dependent). This led to the result that a staff-centred and a production-centred group were identified. Moreover, different researches and studies let to the development of complete leadership “systems”. Fiedlers (1967) contingency model stated that leadership is situation ally dependent. He uses the task-oriented/person-oriented results of the past work and supplemented that behaviour is situation dependence (Jackson, 1993).


Excerpt out of 12 pages


Business success in an international environment - Global leadership
Leeds Metropolitan University  (Leeds Business School)
International Cross Cultural Management
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ISBN (eBook)
File size
449 KB
Business, Global, International, Cross, Cultural, Management
Quote paper
Alexander Dürr (Author), 2004, Business success in an international environment - Global leadership, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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