Discuss the appropriateness of using the same leadership style across all EU countries essay
ASSIGNMENT 08 BZ480 International Management Directions: Unless otherwise stated, answer in complete sentences, and be sure to use correct English spelling and grammar. Sources must be cited in APA format. Your response should be a minimum of one (1) single-spaced page to a maximum of two (2) pages in length; refer to the “Assignment Format” page for specific format requirements. Discuss the appropriateness of using the same leadership style across all EU countries. Include in your discussion the research results for both views given in your textbook. This is the end of Assignment 08. Reading Assignments Text Readings Chapter 11 in International Management Lecture Notes The stated objective in Chapter 11 is to consider motivation and leadership in the context of diverse cultural milieus. We need to know what, if any, differences there are in the societal factors that elicit and maintain behaviors that lead to high employee productivity and job satisfaction. Specifically, we need to find out if effective motivational and leadership techniques are universal or culturally based. Motivation is very much subject to the context of a person’s work and personal life. Hofstede, whom we have studied in earlier lessons, has also researched the topic of motivation. Based on his work, we can make some generalized assumptions about cross-cultural motivation. High certainty avoidance suggests the need for job security, whereas people with low uncertainty avoidance would probably be motivated by more risky opportunities for variety and fast-track advancement. High power distance suggests motivators in the relationship between subordinates and their boss, whereas low power distance implies that people would be more motivated by teamwork and relationship with their peers. High individualism suggests people would be motivated by opportunities for individual advancement and autonomy; collectivism (low individualism) suggests that motivation will more likely work through appeals to group goals and support. Finally, high masculinity suggests that most people would be more comfortable with the traditional division of work and roles; in a more feminine culture, the boundaries could be looser, motivating people through more flexible roles and work networks. No matter what their nationality or cultural background, people are driven to fulfill needs and to achieve goals. For most people, the basic meaning of work is tied to economic necessity (money for food, housing, and so forth) for the individual and for society. However, the additional connotations of work are more subjective, especially about what work provides other than money – achievement, honor, social contacts, or whatever. Another way to view work, though, is through its relationship to the rest of a person’s life. The research by George England compares the relative meaning of work (MOW) in eight countries, seeking to determine a person’s idea of the relative importance of work compared to that of leisure, community, religion, and family. England called this concept work centrality, defined as “the degree of general importance that working has in the life of an individual at any given point in time.” The obvious general implication from England’s findings is that the higher the mean work centrality score, the more motivated and committed the workers would be. Of even more importance to managers (as an aid to understanding culture-based differences in motivation) are the specific reasons for valuing work. The MOW research team provided some excellent insights into this question when it asked people in the eight countries to what extent they regarded work as satisfying six different functions, as follows: (1) work provides a needed income; (2) work is interesting and satisfying; (3) work provides contacts with others; (4) work facilitates a way to serve society; (5) work keeps one occupied; and (6) work gives status and prestige. Note the similarity of some of these functions with Maslow’s need categories and Herzberg’s categories of motivators and maintenance factors. In the Middle East, religion plays a major role in all aspects of life, including work. The Islamic work ethic is a commitment toward fulfillment, and so business motives are held in the highest regard. Other variables affect the perceived meaning of work and how it satisfies various needs, such as the relative wealth of a country. When people have a high standard of living, work can take on a different meaning other than simply to provide the basic economic necessities of life. All in all, research shows a considerable cultural variability affecting how work meets employees’ needs. Some researchers have used Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to study motivation in other countries. A classic study by Haire, Ghiselli, and Porter surveyed 3,641 managers in 14 countries. It concluded that Maslow’s needs, in particular the upper-level ones, are important at the managerial level, although the managers reported that the degree to which their needs were fulfilled did not live up to their expectations. In a similar study, Ronen investigated whether work-related values and needs are similar across nationalities and whether the motivation categories of Maslow and Herzberg apply universally. He found that such similarities do exist and there are common clusters of needs and goals across nationalities. These clusters include job goals such as working area, work time, physical working conditions, fringe benefits, and job security, relationships with co-workers and supervisors, and work challenges and opportunities for using skills. Ronen concludes that need clusters are constant across nationalities and those clusters in his study confirm Herzberg’s categories. Managers across the world have similar needs, but show differing levels of satisfaction of those needs derived from their jobs. Many companies that have started operations in other countries have experienced differences in the apparent needs of the local employees and how they expect work to be recognized. Mazda of Japan experienced this problem in its Michigan plant. Japanese firms tend to confer recognition in the form of plaques, attention, and applause. Japanese workers are likely to be insulted by material incentives because such rewards imply that they would work harder to achieve them than they would otherwise. Instead, Japanese firms focus on group-wide or company-wide goals, compared with the American emphasis on individual goals of achievement and reward. When considering the cross-cultural applicability of Maslow’s theory, it is not the needs that are in question as much as the ordering of those needs in the hierarchy. The hierarchy reflects the Western culture where Maslow conducted his study. Nevis proposes that a hierarchy more accurately reflecting the needs of the Chinese would comprise four levels – belonging, physiological needs, safety, and self-actualization in the service of society, in that order. It is difficult to measure the individual needs of a Chinese person because, from childhood, they are intermeshed with the needs of society. Along with culture, the political beliefs at work in China dominate many facets of motivation. As the backbone of the industrial system, cadres and workers are given exact and detailed prescriptions of what is expected of them as members of a factory, workshop, or work unit. This results in conformity at the expense of creativity. Workers are accountable to their group. The intrinsic-extrinsic dichotomy is another useful model (researched by a number of authors) for considering motivation in the workplace. Herzberg’s research, for example, found two sets of needs – motivational factors (intrinsic) and maintenance factors (extrinsic). Clearly, there is a need for more cross-cultural research on motivation, but one can draw the tentative conclusion that managers around the world are motivated more by intrinsic than by extrinsic factors. Considerable doubt remains, however, about the universality of Herzberg’s or Maslow’s theories because of the inability to take into account all of the
relevant cultural variables when researching motivation. Different factors have different meaning within the entire cultural context and must be taken into account on a situation-by-situation basis. The task of helping employees realize their highest potential in the workplace is the essence of leadership. The goal of every leader is to achieve the organization’s objectives while achieving those of each employee. Today’s global managers realize that increased competition requires them to be open to change and to rethink their old, culturally conditioned modes of leadership. Effective leadership involves the ability to inspire the thinking, attitudes, and behavior of people. The cumulative effects of one or more weak managers can have a significant negative impact on the ability of the organization to meet its objectives. There are four personal development strategies used to meet requirements for effective global leadership: travel, teamwork, training, and transfers. The global leader tries to maximize leadership effectiveness by juggling several important and sometimes conflicting roles as a representative of the parent firm, the manager of the local firm, a resident of the local community, a citizen of either the host country or another country, a member of a profession, and a member of a family. The leader’s role comprises the interaction of two sets of variables – the content and the context of leadership. The content of leadership comprises the attitudes of the leader and the decisions to be made; the context of leadership comprises all those variables related to the particular situation. The increased number of variables (political, economic, and cultural) in the context of the managerial job abroad requires astute leadership. Is leadership in e-business different from that in traditional organizations? Yes. There are three differences. First, decisions are made fast. Second, leaders in e-business must be highly flexible. Third, leaders must create a vision of the future and focus on that vision. Numerous leadership theories variously focus on individual traits, leader behavior, interaction patterns, role relationships, follower perceptions, influence over followers, influence on task goals, and influence on organizational culture. While the functions of leadership are similar across cultures, anthropological studies, such as those by Mead, indicate that leadership is a universal phenomenon and that effective leadership varies across cultures. In addition to the research studies that indicate variations in leadership profiles, the generally accepted image that people in different countries have about what they expect and admire in their leaders tends to become a norm over time, forming an idealized role for these leaders. Most research on American leadership styles describes managerial behaviors on, essentially, the same dimension, variously termed autocratic versus democratic, participative versus directive, relations-oriented versus task-oriented, or initiating structure versus consideration continuum. Modern leadership theory recognizes that no single leadership style works well in all situations. A considerable amount of research, directly or indirectly, supports the idea of cultural contingency in leadership. Hofstede concludes that the participative management approaches recommended by many American researchers can be counter-productive in certain cultures. The crucial fact to grasp about leadership in any culture, he points out, is that it is a complement to subordinateship (employee attitudes toward leaders). In other words, perhaps we concentrate too much on leaders and their unlikely ability to change styles at will; much depends on subordinates and their cultural conditioning, and it is that subordinateship to which the leader must respond. Can one style of leader work in all countries in the EU? At the present time it appears that there are still very different leadership styles cutting across the European Union. The EU is a very diverse group of countries with differing languages, religions, histories, educational systems, and culture. The French, for example, are known for being autocratic leaders, whereas the Germans are known for being assertive and primarily focused on the task. Issues of the importance of human relations in leadership vary from country to country. Leaders in Europe who cut across national cultures must still consider the context and cultures of those countries and attempt to maintain a flexible leadership style. Leadership refers not just to the manager-subordinate relationship, but to the important task of running the whole company, division, or unit for which the manager is responsible. In Japan, for example, in spite of recent economic distress, many companies there continue to provide a model for quality control techniques. One executive, who has worked ten years for Japanese companies, says that a key to Japanese-style success is “to take many small steps, consistently, every day.” One of the areas in which Japanese managers use this process of continuous improvement – or kaizen – is quality control, which has been the hallmark of success for many Japanese industries. For some time, American companies have studied successful Japanese companies for the purpose of emulating management styles to improve productivity, in particular the practice of employee involvement. Recently, increased global competitiveness and further exposure to Western culture and managerial practices have led Japanese firms to adopt more American practices. This partial blending of management practices indicates a trend towards convergence of leadership styles. Nevertheless, management processes, while ostensibly similar, will usually manifest themselves differently as a function of the entire cultural context in which they are enacted. SOURCE: Study Guide for International Management by Helen Deresky.