Introduction Culture and Leadership in New Zealand
Culture has a great influence on leadership according to various researches that have been conducted. According to Hewison (2006), leadership characteristics are deep rooted in the unique context of each culture. There has been no generally accepted definition of leadership, but majority definitions focus on values, beliefs, attitudes, behavior across cultures and influence that people hold in leadership position hold. Cross cultural research have identified what constitute leadership and the behaviors across cultures. It has also been also identified the various theories used in description of leadership. Leadership in most of the cultures across the globe is dependent on various theories, as well as the cultures characterizing such communities (p. 324).
For example, according to the trait theories of leadership, effective leaders tend to show some common character traits which make them act in certain ways. For example, Rumsey, (2010), stated that this was an era of “the great man” theories, where Luther Bernard gave his own understanding of leadership in the form of “internal “qualities that an individual is born with. Most of leadership analysis takes a psychological approach. On the other hand, the sociological perception of the analysis is to evaluate leaders’ traits that come from their position in the society such as gender, religion, social class and education. Additionally, leadership can be viewed not only as the power to control but also the power to motivate. Therefore, a good leadership trait must incorporate the aspect of motivation (p. 126).
Early studies on leadership tend to exhibit that there are common and special traits in effective leaders. However, Pedler, (2010) in a more recent analysis of leadership has shown some specific character traits among leaders. For instance, there are the major qualities of leadership which tend to be very common and important such as self-confidence, dominance, determination and sociability. The qualities of the leaders are also associated with the cultures and social backgrounds. However, these qualities are also affected by the, cognitive ability and intelligence of their personality (p. 319).
On the other hand, another study on leadership embracing the five- factor personality model, Jagdeep & Chhokar (2006) suggested that there exist a strong correlation between some personality traits and leadership that were far much more than intelligence and leadership: agreeableness, conscientiousness an extra version (p. 38).
Additionally, an analysis of thriving CEOs shows the following character traits
- Integrity, energy and maturity
- A strong understanding of a business
- Curiosity, global mindset and intellectual capacity
- Superior judgment
- Desire for accomplishment
- Organizational acumen- change orientation sharing information among others.
As a result of the tremendous and drastic changes in the social and cultural environment, leadership has been a major challenge especially in this modern society. Smith (2007), stated that leadership roles in an organization are very imperative in determining the strategic objectives of the organization. On the other hand, strategic leadership entails handling the organization’s decisions and high value deliverance. Therefore, the paper will embrace on culture and leadership concepts and how their application in practical scenarios (p. 289).
Leadership has the potential to influence, motivate and get teams that contribute towards achievement of organizational goals willingly. Some of the key figures who have exhibited such qualities include Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa, who motivated and persuaded people for the end state. Additionally, strategic influence and acting are core skills in determining leadership. For instance, the famous quote by Martin Luther King “I have a dream” has changed Americans’ perception as a whole in terms of culture and also leadership. Therefore, such atmosphere can only be created when one has acumen in leadership, integrity and the ability to nature decisions in order to deliver a high value. Moreover, Pedler, (2010) stated that leader in the past and in the current period have exhibited various unique qualities such as courage, self belief, integrity and confidence, which have enabled them to be sustainable as an organization or a nation (p. 298).
Leadership is a very important aspect of an organization and to a nation at large. In an organizational context, leadership can help interests of both employees’ employers to be aligned. According to Kalu (2011), the success of any organization highly depends on the leadership skills and strategies in governing the organization. Leaders are obligated to many roles and responsibilities in an organization which make them the controllers. Additionally, formulation and implementation of strategies in an organization have to be undertaken under their control. However, changing the cultural settings of an organization of the existing will largely depend on the employees’ response. Therefore, in implementing such strategy and adjusting responsibilities, leaders have to incorporate different leadership styles depending on employees’ cultural, education, social background as well as religious and organizational beliefs (p. 68).
Culture and Roles of a Leader
In practice, leaders need to establish the conditions, which are aimed at transforming culture. Ladkin (2004) expressed that, leaders do not literary change the culture; however, they influence people to change the culture through the daily activities. On the other hand, leaders ensure that processes and systems cope up with the new traits. Therefore, leaders have supervisory roles over the organization, ensuring smooth running of the organization. In addition, leaders are obligated with the duty of aligning vision and behaviors, which ensure that rules and regulations are adhered (p. 362).
Studies have shown leaders to possess the following traits
- Accessible and committed to the community
- Skilled at inclusion, dialogue and collaboration
- Acknowledging the value of other contributors
- Humanistic, real and humble
- Acting on the basis of the right things undertake
Literature reiterates that there is no any effective leadership style. However, it is argued that transformational leadership had been successful in giving people a sense of belief and ownership while working willingly. Further, transformation leaders are the type of leaders an organization needs if it has to change its structure and strategic behaviors. According to peddler et al, (2010), transactional leaders provide support and guidance in accomplishing various tasks and thus can be perceived as enhancing performance. However, both types of leaders are significant and important to an organization. Therefore, a mix of transformation and transactional leaders is preferred for an organization. On the other hand, servant leadership takes place when leaders take the role of a servant in the relationship (P. 119)
There are five broad categories of leadership styles:
- Directive- directive leadership involves saying what to be done and how it should be done. Additionally, subordinates are under instructions and guidelines from their superiors. Superior exercise rule and ensure that orders are followed and adhered.
- Consultative- it is where subordinates are told what to do but after discussing the matter with the superiors and hearing out everyone opinions and suggestions.
- Participative- on the other hand, in participative leadership the superiors and subordinates discuss and analyze issues and figure out what should be done and how it should be done. In summary, there is equal participation decision making.
- Negotiative leadership- this type of leadership ensures that there is bargaining in order to achieve the desired goals of the firm. Usually, it is through political means by use of some techniques such as rewards to the subordinates when they achieve a certain target, advocate for subordinate competition and modifying the rules.
- Delegative leadership- this type of leadership allows subordinates to make organizational decisions. Basically, the superiors describe a particular problem, the objectives to be achieved and, make suggestions on how to handle the situation; however the decision to be made lies in the hands of the subordinates.
Limits on leadership style theories
Generally, the leadership style approach has not been fulfilled, as a result of their dire emphasis on leader-follower, and the obligation at hand. Additionally, they fail to put into consideration the contingencies involved in the leadership situation. Moreover, these approaches are only concentrated on the leader and follower aspect but do not focus on the middle class level leaders who are anticipated to translate the decisions and rules to the subordinates.
However, Hutchins-Eberhardt (2009) was of the opinion that leadership styles focus primarily on behavior rather than address values. Therefore, it is important for the leadership styles to include relevant values and effectiveness in having the job effectiveness of the followers. Additionally, there are several arguments factors between leadership styles and personal qualities make up a greater leader. However, research studies on the effectiveness of various leadership styles have proved to be inconsistent with each other (p. 203)
House (2004), expressed that, culture has various definitions, though no single definition has been put forward to describe the culture. Therefore, culture can be defined as a set of values, beliefs, norms, symbols and traditions that are similar to a group of people. Additionally, these shared traits among the people make them unique over any other group. Some related terms, on the perspective of culture are multicultural, and diverse. Generally, multicultural refers to a system which takes more than one culture into consideration. Therefore, it implies multiple cultures. On the other hand, diversity refers to the prevalence of different cultures within an organization or groups (p. 93).
Related concepts- Ethnocentrism
It refers to the habit where people value their group (cultural, ethnic) and place it above other groups. Thomas & Sergiovanni (2008) expressed that ethnocentric are those people who tend to give priority to their own values and beliefs over and above other groups. Ethnocentrism results from failure to acknowledge and appreciate other peoples’ beliefs and values. Generally, this tendency has been evident in most of the countries and plays a significant influence on leadership. Therefore, failure to appreciate others perceptions and ideas about their values and beliefs can lead to serious leadership problems. Moreover, ethnocentrism acts as a major hiccup to effective and efficient leadership because people do not hold respect for others’ perception. Therefore, a leader cannot avoid some issues to do with ethnocentrism. However, while acknowledging his or her own ethnocentrism, he or she needs to grasp some level of tolerance of others’ ethnocentrism. In practice, a skilled leader needs to act depending on his or her means ways; however, in so doing a leader needs also to acknowledge and respect others’ culture (p. 78).
It is a closely related term to ethnocentrism. However, prejudice is a more fixed emotion, attitude or belief by an individual about others based on unsubstantiated data. According to Kessler (2003), prejudice simply refers to judgment on others based on previous experiences. Generally, it involves firm generalizations that are dead set against change and ideas are very hard to take away from the individuals. However, prejudice can be positive or negative. Positive prejudice means that an individual thinks positively about another group. All in all, both prejudice and ethnocentrism interfere with persons understanding about others values and beliefs. Therefore, they both ultimately affect leadership and its effectiveness. Generally, leaders are representatives of different people with diverse cultural and social beliefs who have their own ethnocentrism and prejudice. Therefore, for effective leadership, a leader needs to come up with effective agreement and solution between different groups in order to bring equality among them (p. 59).
On the other hand, a constructive culture is the one which:
- Brings greater financial and performance measures- therefore, an organization is able to improve on performance and efficiency.
- A constructive culture keeps not only employees’ promises but also customers and shareholders. Additionally, it can be on any aspect of branding, loyalty and quality.
- A constructive culture does not instill feelings of fear in an organization.
- It is inspiring to employees, staff members and even customers.
- A constructive culture is directly related to its leaders- this implies that, a perfect team of leaders will positively influence the culture.
Therefore, a constructive culture can be defined as the one aimed towards achievement, creativity, valuing people, self-actualization and one which places emphasis on the healthy interaction between people.
Culture can be described as a set of acknowledged and understood procedures which facilitate employees’ behaviors on the prevailing situation. Kessler (2003) also stated that, culture can be termed as values and attitudes of common and stable beliefs. Organizational culture can thus be perceived as the norms which individuals in an organization share, in order to facilitate smooth flow of activities (p. 98).
Therefore, in general term culture is the norms, values or beliefs that individuals in an organization believe to guide as a result of common sharing. Basically, individuals are embraced by the different cultures which include organizational filed, regional, organizational and functional cultures. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge and understand these various types of cultures.
Types of cultures
There are different types of cultures, which include
- Homogenous culture- homogenous culture is mainly known by is consistency. This is where organization, as one, reacts to changes as a unit. A good example of homogenous culture is the Toyota’s culture.
- Differentiated- on the other hand, differentiated culture occurs when there is a majority and minority subculture; however, the majority leads the organization.
- Fragmented – this occurs under situations where different small units maintain cultural identities. However, a subculture may be necessitated to dominate by the organization; even though the identity of the culture which dominates and runs the organization remains unknown.
Culture and leadership are inseparable from each other, and leaders come up first with cultures and then groups and organizations. According to Rumsey (2010), leadership determines the level of commitment and cooperation among staff members in an organization as well as the strength of organizational purpose. In other words, strength of organizational culture, cooperation among employee and staff members and the commitment of the employees depend on the organizational culture (p. 120).
It is evident that effective leaders know better about their organization and are effective in formulating and implementing various strategies in the organization. Usually, effective leaders have command over certain aspects of the organization such as objectives and goals of the organization, both in the short term, as well as in the long-run. Therefore, leaders are expected to have professional and technical skills which enable them to qualify to be leaders and not on the basis of corruption to gain leadership. In this case, to be an effective leader, one needs to have a wide base of knowledge, and the ability to make a sound mind decision within a small span of time. In summary, effective leaders need to be competent in their work for a successful leadership. On the other hand, a leader can enhance his or her intelligence competencies in various ways. Generally, intelligence competence can be improved and enhanced through learning. However, since emotional and social learning is processed in a different manner than technical learning, it thus requires a different kind of training and approach.
In conclusion, leadership plays an imperative role in the modern society. The culture also plays an imperative role in determining the styles and models of leadership adopted by leaders. In addition, leaders also enhance their intelligence by building awareness. In practice, building awareness involves preparing the mind to indulge in the learning process. Basically, emotional and social learning involves a lot of commitment and consumes time and hence can be challenging. However, when an individual becomes willing to learn about their own degree of intelligence and its consequence, it becomes an important tool in commencement of emotional intelligence competence measure.
There are training programs, which are specifically designed to improve emotional intelligence. Therefore, leaders can enroll in such programs in order to improve their skills of effective leadership and management. Generally, it involves workshops which give an opportunity for the leaders to explore their aspirations and dreams as leaders. Additionally, programs help them to explore further on individuals’ strengths and current behaviors.
Development, C.-c. A. (2003). Cross-cultural Approaches to Leadership Development. Chicago: Greenwood Publishing Group.
E. H. Kessler, D. J.-M. (2003). Cultural Mythology and Global Leadership. New Jersy: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Ellen Earle Chaffee, W. G. (2003). Collegiate Culture and Leadership Strategies. New Jersy: American Council on Education.
Hewison, R. (2006). The Cultural Leadership Handbook: How to Run a Creative Organization. Hampshire: Gower Publishing, Ltd.
House, R. J. (2004). Culture, Leadership, and Organizations. New York: SAGE Publications.
Hutchins-Eberhardt, L. D. (2009). Perceptions of Multi-contextual Leadership Roles. Nebraska: University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
Jagdeep S. S. Chhokar, F. C. (2006). Culture and Leadership Across the World. New Jersy: Routledge.
James Roughton, J. M. (2010). Developing an Effective Safety Culture: A Leadership Approach. Oxfordshire: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Kalu, K. A. (2011). National Culture and Leadership. South Carolina: BiblioBazaar.
Klenke, K. (2009). Women and Leadership: A Contextual Perspective. New York: Springer.
Ladkin, D. M. (2004). Rethinking Leadership: A New Look at Old Leadership Questions. New York: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Mukherjee. (2000). Political Culture and Leadership in India. New Delhi: Mittal Publications.
ohn Antonakis, A. T. (2002). The nature of leadership. New Jersy: SAGE.
Pedler, M. (2010). A Manager's Guide to Leadership: An Action Learning Approach. Mcgraw Hill Uk Business.
Pedler, M. (2010). Action Learning in Practice. Hampshire: Gower Publishing, Ltd.
Richard Bolden, B. H. (2002). Exploring Leadership: Individual, Organizational, and Societal Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rugh, A. B. (2010). The Political Culture of Leadership in the United Arab. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Rumsey, M. G. (2010). The Oxford Handbook of Leadership. London: Oxford University Press.
Schein, E. H. (2000). Organizational Culture and Leadership. New Jersy: John Wiley & Sons.
smith, M. (2007). Corporate Culture as the Driver of Transit Leadership Practices. New York: Transportation Research Board.
Thomas J. Sergiovanni, J. E. (2008). Leadership and Organizational Culture. Illinois: University of Illinois Press.