From Cross-Cultural Management to Global Leadership - Aricle Analysis Essay

Paper Type:  Article review
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1661 Words
Date:  2022-05-23


According to Bird and Mendehall (2015), from the inception of cross-cultural management, the field focussed only on management without the consideration of the leadership aspect. Essentially, the view was similar to how researchers depicted managerial behaviors from an international setting, as well as the approach towards cross-cultural management. The authors argued that owing to the organizational structures, as well as internal information systems and communication tools, work that was considered international was mainly managerial in nature and did not encompass the leadership concept. On a global view, few activities entailed leadership activities of communicating and creating a vision or leading change.

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However, with the development of globalization, which was fuelled by the technological improvement that facilitated information and communication flows, managers took a more strategic role in international settings. This exerted a paradigm shift from thinking from a local perspective to a global one, which encouraged a system-wide and strategic thinking. For this reason, this the managers on an international level to adopt and implement leadership precincts, including the development of a corporate vision, as well as leading organizational change. This warranted that managers needed to adopt a greater leadership scope in their managerial role. In the 21st century, even though there is a clear delineation of managers and leaders, the two concepts are currently intertwined, which implies that global managers are called upon to be global leaders.

This warrants the study of the global leadership and culture from multiple viewpoints and theories, such as shared leadership, complexity leadership, followership, and relational leadership theories, as well as responsible and collaborative leadership frameworks. In addition, the researchers also posit that the breadth and scope of the global leadership take three conceptual approaches, including the universal, contingency, and normative approaches. While the universal approach adopts a view that leaders should be transformative by advocating a "leader as a leader," the contingency approach considers the leader as a local manager. On the other hand, the normative approach considers a leader as a global manager, which encapsulates the view that the leadership style used s vital to multinational company culture and system outcomes.

The researchers postulate that scholars and human resource executives should turn their attention to consider the context while selecting, developing, and deploying global leaders in the organizations. However, in most instances, it is common that organizations develop programs that allow for training of all individuals to a particular set of leadership, or rather, that is "one-size-fits-all," without considering the different leadership contexts and multi-cultural aspect. They recommended that firms need to research on the best available research so as to adopt leadership training programs that are mainly rigorous and need to provide specialized training based on the obvious demands and competencies associated with the different types of assignments for managers and global leaders.

The Hypothesis of the Study

Bird and Mendehall (2015) hypothesize that cross-cultural management field has had a paradigm shift from a managerial to a leadership role in a global perspective, which demands that global organizations should consider a global approach. However, they also hypothesize that different researchers advocate for the adoption of different approaches to management and leadership, including universal, contingency, and normative. In addition, they highlight that leadership research on cross-cultural management can take different approaches, including unicultural, comparative, global and intercultural perspectives, but they advocated for a global perspective that incorporates the consideration of different cultures in the global corporate space. They also highlight that the origins of global leadership research are attributed to four streams - expatriation, intercultural communication, comparative leadership, and global management. They also articulate that training programs are mainly geared towards generalizing the universal corporate space when this should not be the path that global organizations should take, rather, informed by research, HR executives should design programs that are specialized depending on the unique requirements of a particular corporate assignment.

Evidence Used in the Research

Bird and Mendehall (2015) use a variety of evidence that differs in terms of the role of managers and leaders, and whether global organizations should adopt universal, contingency, or normative approaches, as well as different literature advocating for the adoption of cross-cultural management using variant approaches, including unicultural, comparative, global and intercultural perspectives. The unicultural approach as opposed to the global perspective that Bird and Mendehall (2015) advocate for. As they posit, unicultural studies are based on anthropological and sociological paradigmatic lenses. Examples of such studies that are against the global multi-cultural leadership perspective, as Bird and Mendehall (2015) articulated, include those conducted by Abegglen's (1958), Richman's (1965), McMillan's (1965), as well as those that are considered recent, including McCarthy, Puffer, & Shekshnia (1993), Mbigi and Maree's writings on African management (1995), and Puffer & McCarthy (2001, 2003). The evidence in these studies is mainly directed towards a local leadership culture, which is why they do not highlight the need for a global leadership role. They highlight the need for organizations to adopt local leaders, who are more inclined towards a non-global leadership role, which is essential for global organizations. In addition, the evidence lacks currency since it is more than a decade old, which makes it less credible.

The comparative study evidence is based on sociological and psychological perspectives. The evidence highlights that comparative management equals cross-cultural management, which is supported by scholars, including Osland and Bird (2000), Brannen and Salk (2000), and Brannen (2004). The evidence highlights the need of multiple cultures and contexts for better comprehension of the negotiated vultures that is created by managers and subordinates in multicultural contexts, especially in multinational mergers and acquisitions. The downside of the article is that it never provided any evidence of an intercultural approach to cross-cultural management. The section had no references, which reduces the credibility of the entire article. However, there was a significant evidence of global approach on cross-cultural management, including the works Brake (1997), by Rhinesmith (1992), Goldsmith, Govindarajan, Kaye, and Vicere (2003), and Rosen, Digh, Singer, and Philips (2000). The research was important in highlighting the need for global leadership while considering the multicultural aspect. As such, most of the evidence included was in support of Bird and Mendehall's (2015) arguments.

Additionally, there was substantial evidence that supported the inclusion of global leadership and the researchers went ahead and provided a lot of evidence pertaining to the origins of global leadership, including the expatriation, intercultural, comparative leadership, and global management. They provided clear theoretical perspectives on the development and advancement of the theories.

Critique of the Article

There is substantial literature that supports that there is a lack of a consensus of what global leadership, and Bird and Mendehall's (2015) did not cover this nor an inclusion of what management or leadership is and what it entails. For instance, Grint (2004) identifies four problems that prevent a consensus of what leadership is. Firstly, there is a lack of agreement as to whether leadership should emanate from personal traits or whether the leader induces followership via a social process. Secondly, whether the leader is in charge with a formally allocated authority or owing to an informal influence. Thirdly, does the leader exert causal and intentional influence on the behavior of the followers or are the actions determined by context or retrospective attributes? Lastly, the question of whether leadership is embodied in groups or individuals and whether it is a pure human phenomenon. In addition, Bird and Mendehall's (2015) never incorporated the equation of influence of leaders and managers in global leadership, which is an important paradigm. By influence, the leader inspires the people to work, through motivating them, rather than coercing them to achieve an objective or a set of them, and the context is not limited to organizations. Importantly, for effective global leadership, the followers have to be satisfied with how the leader is leading as well as comfortable with the assigned tasks (Judge, Piccolo & Ilies, 2004), which is an aspect that was left out in the article.

Another aspect that Bird and Mendehall's (2015) did not consider in their paper is cultural intelligence, which refers to one's capability to manage and function effectively in a culturally diverse environment, such as a workplace, that can be altered, enhanced or developed via interventions (Tuleja, 2014; Van Dyne, Ang, and Koh, 2008). As such, it is the ability of a person to grow personally through proper understanding and continuous learning of diverse wisdom, cultural heritage, and values, and to effectively deal with people from variant cultural thoughtfulness and background. Ideally, we work and live in a world that is increasingly becoming more global, integrated, and influenced by cultural aspects. For this reason, leaders are required to possess high cultural intelligence (CQ), a skill that is essential in succeeding in today's global business community. Ideally, leadership is all about communicating a vision and influencing the workers by motivating them to achieve set goals. Additionally, leadership qualities are often about the perception of the leader by others, and therefore, spearheading people requires authority, respect, and power, an aspect that Bird and Mendehall (2015) never covered. Ideally, the followers determine the leader's greatness. Nevertheless, successful global leaders comprehend the issues surrounding diverse cultures, and how their expectations shape a leader's behavior.


I agree with Bird and Mendehall's (2015) in that leaders should apply different strategies in different situations and that organization should adopt different training methodologies to instill skills of a global leader, not that of one style fits all. Essentially, situational theories, which assert that the leadership style used is dependent on factors such as the situation, people, organization, environmental variables, as well as tasks. For instance, Fiedler (1967) as House and Aditya (1997) point out, proposed that there is no single best way of leading, rather the leadership style should be selected based on the situation. Further, Fiedler distinguished relationship and task-oriented leaders. The latter do better in situations where there are structured tasks and good leader-member relationship, and either strong or weak position power. They can also do well even though the tasks are unstructured but possess a strong position power. For instance, Spreitzer, DeJanasz, and Quinn (1999) assert that empowerment is vital for leadership, and this can be achieved through maintaining positive relations...

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