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Cultural Diversity and Leadership

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Cultural Diversity and Leadership essay assignment

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Cultural diversity is another cultural aspect that leaders need to consider. There is a general human tendency to value one’s own beliefs and attitudes above those of others. This tendency is known as ethnocentrism, and it limits one’s understanding of other people’s beliefs and attitudes and makes people place their own racial, cultural, ethnic, and sometimes even religious group above all other groups. Leaders need to guard against their own ethnocentric behavior before they think of addressing this issue. This does not imply that leaders should give up their cultural pride and beliefs, but that they need to be aware that pride can interfere with their leadership effectiveness. To some extent, leaders may need to live with the issue of ethnocentrism, as it is impossible to completely make employees free of ethnocentric tendencies, and because ethnocentrism may not always create problems.

With more and more organizations going global, cultural diversity is fast becoming commonplace. By itself, cultural diversity is not bad; in fact, it has more advantages than disadvantages, as it helps organizations integrate diverse peoples’ points of view. However, cultural diversity can become a hindrance to effective leadership because different cultures view leadership differently. When diverse people come together in one organization, their expectations toward their leaders are as different as they are. The research conducted by House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, and Gupta (2004), through their Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness research program, provides insights into the relationship between leadership and culture. This research has identified some cultural dimensions that affect leadership effectiveness. Your text discusses these dimensions in detail. On the basis of this research, House et al. categorized countries into ten distinct groups, called cultural clusters. Each cultural cluster has its distinct generalizations about leadership and culture. Leaders often use the research findings about cultural clusters to create training programs for employees that include information about the subtleties and features of different cultures. This helps employees develop cultural sensitivity.

Reference

House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., & Gupta, V. (Eds.). (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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