Globalization: Leadership in our global world


In celebration of Leadership Archways’ six month anniversary and new level of international readership I felt it necessary to address the topic of leadership in our global society. Below is a graphic that I would like to share, it displays the current readership by country, reaching over 30 countries in the past six months. It is with this in mind, that I have been reflecting on the importance of globalization and it’s impact on how we lead in today’s society. In this post I address two questions: How is effective leadership measured in other cultures and what are universally effective and un-effective leadership traits?

Globalization of leadership picture

How is effective leadership measured in other cultures?

As firms reach across borders and world continues to evolve into a global society; a global-leadership capacity is surfacing more and more often as a binding constraint. According to one survey of senior executives, 76 % believe their organizations need to develop global-leadership capabilities, but only 7 percent think they are currently doing so very effectively (McKinsey, 2014). And some 30 % of US companies admit that they have failed to exploit fully their international business opportunities because of insufficient internationally competent personnel (McKinsey, 2014).

Most of the prevailing ideas in business and academia about global leadership reflect efforts by leadership experts to adapt the insights of their field to the global arena (McKinsey, 2014). With these statistics in mind, leadership literature has come up with some dimensions on which to measure culture (Hofstede, 1980; Inglehart; 1997).

  • Assertiveness: The degree to which individuals are assertive, confrontational, and aggressive in their relationships with
  • Collectivistic I (Institutational): The degree to which organizational and societal institutional practices encourage and reward collective
    distribution of resources and collective action.
  • Collectivistic II (In-group): The degree to which individuals express pride, loyalty, and cohesiveness in their organizations or families.
  • Future orientation: The extent to which individuals engage in future-oriented behaviors such as delaying gratification, planning, and
    investing in the future.
  • Gender egalitarian: The degree to which a collective minimizes gender inequality.
  • Humane orientation: The degree to which a collective encourages and rewards individuals for being fair, altruistic, generous, caring, and
    kind to others.
  • Performance orientation: The degree to which a collective encourages and rewards group members for performance improvement and
  • Power distance: The degree to which members of a collective expect power to be distributed equally.
  • Uncertainty avoidance: The extent to which a society, organization, or group relies on social norms, rules, and procedures to alleviate
    unpredictability of future events.

From these dimensions, how a country generally functions can be determined. I have given two examples of profiles below. If you would like further information please contact me. I plan to do a more extensive post on this topic in the near future.

Desired leadership strategy in an Anglo-American region: United States and Canada (Bligh, 2009).

  • Charismatic/value-based leadership (high)
  • Participative leadership (high)
  • Humane-oriented leadership (high)
  • Team-oriented leadership (mod)
  • Autonomous leadership (mod)
  • Self-protected leadership (low)

Desired leadership philosophy in the region of Confucian Asia:  East Asian cultural sphere are China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Vietnam. Mongolia, Malaysia, Singapore, and parts of Central Asia are sometimes included because of certain ratio of Chinese immigrants (Bligh, 2009).

  • Self-protected leadership (high)
  • Team-oriented leadership (high)
  • Humane-oriented leadership (mod)
  • Charismatic/value-based leadership (mod)
  • Autonomous leadership (mod)
  • Participative leadership (low)


Please be aware that these are norms and they do not exemplify everyone’s desired leadership values. It is important to be aware of our stereotyping.

What are universally effective and ineffective leadership traits?

Although opposite parts of the world have been identified to thrive under different types of leadership, there are some traits that are universally desirable. Looking at the leadership literature I would like to list 10 universally accepted leadership traits (Bligh, 2009).

  1. Honest
  2. Team builder
  3. Confidence builder
  4. Resilient
  5. Emotional Intelligence
  6. Develops followers
  7. Foresight
  8. Intelligence
  9. Just
  10. Decisive

Looking at the leadership literature I would like to also list 5 universally ineffective leadership traits (Bligh, 2009).

  1. Irritable
  2. Ruthless
  3. Dictatorial
  4. Non-cooperative
  5. Egocentric


Bligh, M. (2009). Lecture notes from Leadership, Spring 2009. For more information please contact

Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture and organizations. International Studies of Management & Organization, 15-41.


Inglehart, R. (1997). Modernization and postmodernization: Cultural, economic, and political change in 43 societies (Vol. 19). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

McKinsey. (2014). Developing global leaders. Retrieved 10/06/2014



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