A Seven-Country Study of the Importance  of Leadership Competencies for Success  in OrganizationsRegina Eckert, Center for...
The industry of leadership development Leadership Development is the biggest budget in organizational T&D: 22% in 2010 (Be...
What needs to be developed in leadership development   The search for the “holy grail”   - Leaders need to perform certain...
What leaders around the world need Leadership competencies are influenced by many contextual factors at individual, team &...
Why there should be cultural differencesCultural divergence perspective (Webber, 1969):National culture drives formation o...
Why there shouldn’t be cultural differences Cultural Convergence perspective (Webber, 1969): Globalization also leads to a...
Method Seven “highly diverse” countries2011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved.   7
Method Participants: • 763 practicing managers that participated in a leadership development    program between January 20...
Results: Frequency-based rank order                                                            China/                   Si...
Results: Overall country differences                                                             MeanLeadership Competency...
Results: Pairwise comparisons 231 pairwise comparisons of countries on the 11 overall significant competencies (Bonferroni...
Discussion & Implications All of the 16 competencies were chosen by at least 5% of participants Effect sizes of overall di...
Thank you!2011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved.   13
2011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved.   14
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A Seven-Country Study of the Importance of Leadership Competencies for Success in Organizations

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We asked practicing managers to rank 16 typical leadership competencies according to their importance for success, and we examined cultural differences in the outcomes.
Presentation held at EAWOP conference, May 2011, Maastricht.

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A Seven-Country Study of the Importance of Leadership Competencies for Success in Organizations

  1. 1. A Seven-Country Study of the Importance of Leadership Competencies for Success in OrganizationsRegina Eckert, Center for Creative LeadershipWilliam A. Gentry, Center for Creative LeadershipVijayan Munusamy, The Conference Board, SingaporeSarah A. Stawiski, Center for Creative LeadershipJacob Martin, University of Georgia 2011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. The industry of leadership development Leadership Development is the biggest budget in organizational T&D: 22% in 2010 (Bersin & Associates, 2011). It is seen as strategically important: “Leadership—specifically leadership development—is vital to succession planning. That’s why I’m working with boards and CEOs to craft a more rigorous process and put it into action.” (A.G. Lafley) Average spending per leader is app. 1300 € p.a. (Lamoureux & O’Leonard, 2009)  effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) has a huge financial impact. Of course, the personal impact is also important…. 22011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved. 2
  3. 3. What needs to be developed in leadership development The search for the “holy grail” - Leaders need to perform certain managerial roles and activities (Dierdorff, Rubin & Morgeson, 2009 - Leaders need to meet certain skill requirements (Mumford, Campion & Morgeson, 2007) - Leaders must display task and relationship behaviors (Judge, Piccolo & Ilies, 2004) - Leaders must be good team leaders (Morgeson, DeRue & Karam, 2010) In sum, leadership effectiveness is manifold and context-dependent In practice, organizations rely on a corporate competency framework to develop competencies and a certain “brand” of leadership  But what do leaders themselves say? Their voices aren’t often heard 3 2011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved. 3
  4. 4. What leaders around the world need Leadership competencies are influenced by many contextual factors at individual, team & organizational level (Agut, Grau & Peiro, 2003; Hopkins & Bilimoria, 2008);  So how about cultural influences? Culture influences relationship between leadership behaviors and leadership outcomes (Gelfand, Erez & Aycan, 2007; Globe III, in preparation) Culture as a moderator (Spreitzer, Perttuyla & Xin, 2003; Walumbwa & Lawler, 2003; GLOBE I and II) between leadership behavior , leadership style, and outcomes But: Culture not included in studies about leadership competencies  Does culture impact what kinds of competencies are most effective for organizational success? 42011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved. 4
  5. 5. Why there should be cultural differencesCultural divergence perspective (Webber, 1969):National culture drives formation of values, beliefs and practices.Cultures relatively stable over time (House & Aditya, 1997), even geographicproximity and trade ties cannot alleviate them (Smith, 1997).Evidence for this: The GLOBE projectDistinct cultural values & practices in 62 cultures (despite industryhomogeneity);Implicit leadership theories were largely culturally endorsed (14% - 35% ofILT’s explained by cultural values). 52011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved. 5
  6. 6. Why there shouldn’t be cultural differences Cultural Convergence perspective (Webber, 1969): Globalization also leads to assimilation of cultural values and norms, towards a universal business culture. Corporate cultures span across national cultures (Chatman & Jehn, 1994; Ralson, Holt, Terpstra & Yu, 1997); Institutional isomorphism (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983) suggests that organizations become similar to each other. Evidence for this: Modernization, globalization and rapid economic growth have resulted in convergence of personality (Wong, Shaw, & Ng, 2010), values (Munusamy, Valdez, Lo, Budde, Suarez, & Doktor, 2009), ethical attitudes (Bailey & Spicer, 2007), human resource management (HRM) practices (Carr & Pudelko, 2006; Vanhala, Kaarelson, & Alas, 2006), and corporate governance (Payne, 2006) 62011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved. 6
  7. 7. Method Seven “highly diverse” countries2011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved. 7
  8. 8. Method Participants: • 763 practicing managers that participated in a leadership development program between January 2007 and October 2009 Comparable samples & sample sizes: • China (N = 99); Egypt (N = 106); India (N = 100); Singapore (N = 112); Spain (N = 94), UK (N = 106), US (N = 146) Material & Procedure: • Benchmarks questionnaire of 16 leadership competencies; completed before training program; • Participants asked to pick 8 (out of 16) that they regarded as most important for success in their organization.2011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved. 8
  9. 9. Results: Frequency-based rank order China/ Singa-Leadership Competency Egypt India Spain UK US HK poreLeading Employees 1 1 1 1 1 1 2Resourcefulness 3 2 1 1 6 2 1Change Management 2 5 4 6 3 3 3Decisiveness 6 3 3 3 2 5 4Participative Management 4 4 5 5 4 5 7Building and Mending Relationships 5 6 7 4 5 4 7Doing Whatever it Takes 9 8 6 7 10 7 5Straightforwardness and Composure 7 10 8 8 7 7 6Self-Awareness 8 7 10 11 7 9 10Being a Quick Study 12 9 9 9 11 10 9Balancing Personal Life and Work 10 11 12 9 9 13 11Career Management 10 11 14 13 12 16 12Compassion and Sensitivity 13 16 11 12 15 15 13 χ2 (16, 486) =Differences Matter 45.89; p< .001; φ = .31 (medium) 15 15 13 14 13 11 16Confronting Problem Employees 14 13 15 16 16 11 15Putting People at Ease 16 14 16 15 13 14 132011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved. 9
  10. 10. Results: Overall country differences MeanLeadership Competency (SD) χ2 Φ rankingLeading Employees 1.14 (0.38) 8.40Resourcefulness 2.29 (1.80) 22.81*** .173Change Management 3.71 (1.38) 25.42*** .183Decisiveness 3.71 (1.38) 27.64*** .190Participative Management 4.86 (1.07) 10.47Building and Mending Relationships 5.43 (1.27) 12.69* .129Doing Whatever it Takes 7.43 (1.72) 43.03*** .237Straightforwardness and Composure 7.57 (1.27) 8.89Self-Awareness 8.86 (1.57) 15.32* .142Being a Quick Study 9.86 (1.21) 15.13* .141Balancing Personal Life and Work 10.71 (1.50) 14.55* .138Career Management 12.57 (1.99) 22.72** .173Compassion and Sensitivity 13.57 (1.81) 30.76*** .201Differences Matter 13.86 (1.68) 5.17 χ2 (16, 486) = 45.89; p< .001; φ 14.29 (medium)Confronting Problem Employees = .31 (1.80) 25.55*** .183Putting People at Ease 14.43 (1.27) 3.162011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved. 10
  11. 11. Results: Pairwise comparisons 231 pairwise comparisons of countries on the 11 overall significant competencies (Bonferroni correction)  Only 24 comparisons significant: - Resourcefulness (US > Egypt) - Change Management (Spain > Singapore; Spain > Egypt) - Decisiveness (Spain > China, Egypt, US, UK; India > China) - Doing whatever it takes (India, US > China; India, US, Singapore, UK > Spain) - Being a quick study (Egypt > Spain) - Career Management (China, Egypt > UK) - Compassion & Sensitivity (China, Singapore, India > Spain) - Confronting Problem Employees (China, Singapore, India > Spain)2011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved. 11
  12. 12. Discussion & Implications All of the 16 competencies were chosen by at least 5% of participants Effect sizes of overall differences are small – medium High agreement across cultures on the most important competencies Lower agreement on (average) less important competencies Implications: 1. Evidence supports cultural convergence rather than divergence  necessary contents of leadership development programs largely translate across countries 2. People leadership seen as the key to success  still important to develop this rather “unfancy” leadership competence; corporate competency models should certainly keep this ingredient 3. Leading change & resourcefulness often selected as important  reflects the need to manage in a VUCA world (Stiehm, 2002); tendency towards mainstreaming these competencies into corporate competency models is useful2011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved. 12
  13. 13. Thank you!2011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved. 13
  14. 14. 2011 Center for Creative Leadership. All rights reserved. 14

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