Strategic Management

Topics: Leadership, Organizational studies and human resource management, Management Pages: 22 (6733 words) Published: January 27, 2013
Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

Toward a Cultural Contingency Model of Leadership
Jan P. Muczyk and Daniel T. Holt Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 2008; 14; 277 DOI: 10.1177/1548051808315551 The online version of this article can be found at:

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Toward a Cultural Contingency Model of Leadership
Jan P. Muczyk
Air Force Institute of Technology

Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies Volume 14 Number 4 May 2008 277-286 © 2008 Baker College 10.1177/1548051808315551 hosted at

Daniel T. Holt
Air Force Institute of Technology
To succeed in today’s economy, multinational and transnational organizations must have strong leaders who are versed in global leadership principles. Unfortunately, 85% of Fortune 500 executives report that their firms lack enough competent global leaders. Relying on leadership theories based solely on North American experiences will unlikely ameliorate this shortfall. Accordingly, the authors integrate the Project GLOBE cultural imperatives with mainstream leadership dimensions to produce global leadership prescriptions. Examples of regional leadership styles based on regional cultural determinants are also provided. This prospective framework serves as a springboard to help guide and develop leaders who wish to transcend geographical boundaries and effectively lead in a culturally diverse, global context. Keywords: leadership; global leadership; management styles; situational leadership

ntil recently, most of the post–World War II leadership literature has been generated by American scholars (Koopman et al., 1999; Nadler, 2002). Yet the global leadership construct should not be a particularly American one, if for no other reason than the world is rapidly becoming a global economic village, characterized by multinational and transnational firms. A survey of Fortune 500 executives showed that having competent global leaders was the most important factor in business success and that 85% of the executives did not think they had an adequate number of competent global leaders (Javidan & House, 2001). Because organizational cultures are influenced by national cultures, leadership approaches might be effectively tailored to align with national cultures. This is only possible if leadership theory is presented in a global contingency framework. Since the close of World War II, for example, democratic values have permeated most U.S. institutions even though unqualified support for democratic leadership is not always justified on the basis of research evidence (Muczyk & Reimann, 1987; Muczyk & Steele, 1998). Democratic values, on the Authors’ Note: Address correspondence to Daniel T. Holt, Graduate School of Engineering and Management, Air Force Institute of Technology, 2950 Hobson Way, Wright Patterson AFB, OH 45433; phone: (228) 365-7928 (cell); e-mail:


other hand, have not been as prevalent around the globe. In the Middle East, with the exception of Israel, there are no democratic traditions, and we should not be surprised. After all, democracy is a European invention dating back to the ancient Greek city–states. And modern Israel was founded by Europeans—the Ashkenazi Jews—who brought the European parliamentary system with them. In the rest of the...
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