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Leadership and followership
Leadership and followership

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2.1 Cross-cultural context

Leaders are increasingly required to lead multicultural teams, sometimes spread across the world, and different cultures take a different approach to leadership. Excerpts from a series of interviews conducted by House et al. (1997, pp. 535–6) highlight the following:

  • The Dutch place emphasis on egalitarianism and are sceptical about the value of leadership.
  • Iranians seek power and strength in their leaders.
  • The Malaysian leader is expected to behave in a manner that is humble, modest, and dignified.
  • The French appreciate two kinds of leaders. (…) a strong charismatic leader [or] (…) a consensus builder, coalition former, and effective negotiator.
  • The Americans appreciate two kinds of leaders. They seek empowerment from leaders who grant autonomy and delegate authority to subordinates. They also respect the bold, forceful, confident, and risk-taking leader.

In a multicultural team, it helps if a leader is aware of potential cultural sensitivities.