Title: Leadership differences: Comparison between American and Japanese expatriate managers
Author: Pisal Yooyanyong and Nuttawuth Muenjohn*
Investigating the Western and Eastern styles of leadership was a primary interest of the current study. More specifically, it aimed to: a) examine the leadership behaviours of American and Japanese expatriate managers who were working in Thailand; and b) compare their leadership behaviours to find the similarities and differences. Twenty-three American and twenty-five Japanese expatriate managers evaluated their leadership behaviors based upon ten leadership factors. T-test results revealed that there were significant differences on four leadership (Decision Making, Visionary Ability, Training Succession and Supervising) and non-significant differences on six leadership factors (Communication Skills, Achievement Orientation, Performance Feedback, Motivation, Leadership Styles and Followers’ Performance) displayed by American and Japanese expatriates. Implications for expatriate managers on leadership behaviors also discussed.
Keywords: Leadership, expatriate management, cultural values
Mr. Pisal Yooyanyong
Dr. Nuttawuth Muenjohn
Faculty of Business
Asian University of Science and Technology
Increasingly, people interact, negotiate and compromise with people from other cultures. The potential for management frustration, costly misunderstandings and even business failures increases significantly when dealing with people whose value, beliefs, customs are different from each other (Bass: 1990). However, when understood and successfully managed, differences in culture can lead to innovative business practices and sustainable sources of competitive advantage.
Success in an increasingly competitive global market depends on the knowledge and sensitivity of managers to cultural differences in leadership behaviour (Bass: 1990). As we are living in the decade of globalization where all business activities tend to shift toward a more integrated and interdependent world economy, examination of leadership styles based on culture is needs for organizations to cope with the complex managerial issues. One of the important elements of international business is leadership skills. Leaders in this decade have to be more consciousness about making decisions as they better to think horizontally and make decisions that work both in domestic and international basis. As people are living in the fast moving economic world where business persons have to be more open to the outside market and extravert because of the economic and business environment, expatriate managers should have a background of others to take advantage of cross-leading management. The globalization concept will play a big role for the world of business in the coming year and the economy of each country will be more dependent on each others.
Therefore, this study would like to further research on leadership and culture. Although, there have been some studies investigated in this area, there is no particular research comparison between American and Japanese leaders in Thailand. More specifically, this study aimed to: a) examine leadership behaviour of American and Japanese expatriate
managers who are working in Thailand; and b) compare the similarities and differences on leadership behaviour between the expatriates.
Leadership and Culture
There is no universal definition of leadership because leadership is complex and because leadership is studied in different ways that require different definitions (Achua and Lussier: 2000). Leadership has been defined in many terms such as traits, behaviour, influence, interaction patterns, role relationships, and occupation of an administrative position (Yukl: 1998). Most definitions of leadership reflect a process whereby intentional influence is exerted by leader over subordinates...
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