Leadership and followership
Leadership and followership

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

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.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371