Cross cultural leadership

Grisham, T 2006, Cross cultural leadership, Professional Doctorate, Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Grisham.pdf Thesis application/pdf 2.82MB
Title Cross cultural leadership
Author(s) Grisham, T
Year 2006
Abstract Global markets are increasingly taking advantage of the strength and economic advantages of a diverse global workforce. It is common on international projects to find multi-cultural teams located in multiple countries. It is also common to find such projects led by Project Managers who come from many different countries. So having a person raised in India managing a project in China, with a design team in the USA, procurement procurement teams in Japan and Mexico, and a drafting team in Albania is not unusual. Even in historically monolithic markets like the USA, it is far more common to have mulit-cultural teams and foreign competition. In addition, the pressure on the industry to increase productivity and reduce costs is unrelenting. This leads to flatter project structures, and the need for leadership at multiple levels.

My experience in such markets, and the glaring need for a Cross-Cultural Leadership model that could be used to improve leadership skills in international markets were the reasons for undertaking this thesis. The hypothesis of this thesis is that there are of cross-cultural leadership dimensions that are effective and essential, regardless of culture. Those dimensions are Trust, Empathy, Transformation, Power, and Communication.

The thesis first explores the cultural and leadership aspects of Cross-Cultural Leadership through a review of the published literature. The literature research was then subjected to an exegetical review of the themes that emerged, and used to construct the Descriptors, and Sub-Descriptors for each of the leadership dimensions.

The thesis also explored the transfer of cultural knowledge with metaphors and storytelling. In a fast paced business environment, developing a richer understanding and sensitivity to other coulters, in general and specific, is a skill that Leaders must possess.

Lastly, the thesis explored the connections between conflict management and Cross-Cultural Leadership. Conflict management skills are becoming ever more important due to the rapid changes that are common in the current business environment. Change, cultural mis-information, scarce resources, poor communication skills, contractual ambiguity and complexity are but a few of the reasons that managing conflict is a critical skill for leaders.

The design of the testing protocols was bifurcated. One track evaluated the hypothesis, the other track evaluated the connection between the Leadership Dimensions hypothesized, and the GLOBE survey. The GLOBE survey was utilized to investigate if a viable connection existed between the Leadership Dimensions and a broad based international survey of cultural dimensions.

The testing of the hypothesis was performed using a Delphi panel of experts in international cross-cultural leadership, through two sessions of questions with feedback after the end of the first session. Subsequently, the results were analyzed, studied, and evaluated with an eye toward my practical experience in the field - sense making.

The results were that the hypothesis was confirmed, and the connection to the GLOBE Survey cultural dimensions was also confirmed. A model is presented to summarize the findings of the thesis, called the Cross-Cultural Leadership Intelligence (XLQ) Model.

As discussed in the thesis, Project Management has not emphasized leadership in the current body of knowledge (PMBOK), and it only makes general reference to cultural considerations. Recognizing this, The Project Management Institute (PMI) has funded a study that recommends more research in the area of cross-cultural leadership, and a new grant to study the question of how global the PMBOK really is. Both of these issues are addressed by this thesis. The XLQ model provides a framework for assessing and training Project Managers in cross-cultural leadership skills. The model is a global one that can be used across cultures, business models, and markets.

The model also points towards the need for further research into metrics, education, training techniques, and of course, further empirical testing of the model itself.
Degree Professional Doctorate
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Property, Construction and Project Management
Keyword(s) Acculturation
Leadership -- Cross-cultural studies
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Created: Mon, 29 Nov 2010, 16:09:00 EST by Catalyst Administrator
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