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The Role of Fit in Understanding Leader Effectiveness Across Cultures


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Award-winning poster presented on SIOP conference, April 2011, Chicago.
Presenting the development & findings of a 360-tool for cross-cultural leadership

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The Role of Fit in Understanding Leader Effectiveness Across Cultures

  1. 1. Marian N. Ruderman , Felix C. Brodbeck , Regina H.Eckert , William A. Gentry , Phillip W. Braddy The Role of Fit in Understanding Leader Effectiveness Across Cultures Center for Creative Leadership Ludwigs-Maximilans-Universitӓt, Munich LITERATURE REVIEW RESEARCH OBJECTIVESImplicit leadership theory (ILT; Lord & Maher, 1991) suggests that individuals have deeply embedded assumptions (i.e., prototypes or schemata) as to what characterizes (effective) Using a globally diverse sample, this study examines relationships between direct reports’ expectations of leaders, perceptions Global Leader View Instrument Overview of leader behavior, and leader effectiveness ratings. Implicit leadership theory proposes that expectation-by-perception fit is leaders. People use these to understand and recognize (effective) leadership in others. When Leadership generally, positively related to leadership effectiveness. To examine whether this proposition holds cross-culturally, we Definition Sample Item people see someone as an (effective) leader , they accept the person as a leader and respond Dimension investigated the following questions: more positively to leadership attempts. Put differently, leadership effectiveness emerges from Charismatic The degree to which a leader inspires others Excellence-oriented = Strives  Can a multi-source assessment of leadership expectations and perceptions based on the GLOBE findings and suitable for the fit between what others expect of an (effective) leader and the perception they have of the (universal) around a vision or values, motivates his/her for excellence in performance individuals from different countries be developed? occupant of a leadership position. followers and maintains high performance of self and others  Can the same culturally-universal and culture-specific leadership dimensions as presented in the GLOBE research beCultures differ in terms of the values held (Hofstede, 2001; House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & identified? expectations. Gupta, 2004; Triandis, 1989; Trompenaars, 1993). The GLOBE study (House et al.,2004;  What does the relationship between observers’ expectations, perceptions, and leadership effectiveness ratings look like Chhokar, Brodbeck & House, 2007) argues that societal values are reflected in the expectations when distinguishing universal from culture specific leadership dimensions? Team Oriented The degree, to which a leader effectively Mediator = Deals with conflicts that people in different cultures have of effective leaders. It showed that some elements of (universal) builds and manages teams that work together between group members in a leadership prototypes are strongly endorsed across all cultures (i.e., universal leadership to achieve a common goal, emphasizes the constructive way dimensions) and some are culturally contingent (i.e., culture-specific). RESULTS: TESTS OF THE growth of the team and instills pride, loyalty,Despite evidence that leadership expectation-by-perception fit relates to perceptions of leadership and cohesion among team members. performance (e.g., Epitropaki & Martin, 2005; Offermann, Kennedy, & Wirtz, 1994) there is little HYPOTHESES To examine how expectations and perceptions together explain performance effectiveness, we used polynomial regression with response surface analysis. This was conducted for each of the leadership dimensions. Humane Oriented The degree to which a leader is supportive, Compassionate = is considerate research on the underlying psychological mechanisms and cross-cultural variation of the  Universal dimensions. Results for the universally endorsed dimensions of Charismatic and Team-oriented leadership were similar to compassionate, considerate, and generous. It and kind theoretically postulated “fit” effects. Various questions in this area need to be addressed: each other. For both, the surface a1 was significant and positive, meaning that effectiveness increases as expectations and perceptions has to do with being humble and concerned Is perfect congruence always desired, or would it be beneficial to exceed expectations on some dimensions of leadership? increase jointly (and vice versa, effectiveness decreases as expectations and perceptions jointly decrease). See Figure 1 and figure 3, about the well-being of others. What is the impact of missing expectations on performance ratings for different dimensions of respectively, for the response surface analysis graphs of Charismatic and Team-Oriented Leadership. leadership?  Culturally-contingent dimensions. Results for Hierarchical and Autonomous leadership were very similar in nature. For Hierarchal, a1 Participative The degree to which a leader shares power Involving = Includes others in Do postulated fit effects hold up in the same way for culturally-universal as compared to was negative and significant, meaning that effectiveness decreased as both expectations and perceptions ratings increased (and and allows others to take part in decision decision making culture-specific dimensions of ILTs, or are they of a different type? alternatively, effectiveness increased as both expectations and perceptions ratings decreased). The surface a1 was not significant for making and take actions based on decisions Autonomous. For culture-specific dimensions, expectation-by-perception fit significantly contributes to leader effectiveness. SeeRecent progress with polynomial regression and response surface analysis (RSA; Edwards, 2007) made. Figure 2 and Figure 4, respectively, for the response surface analysis graphs of Hierarchical and Autonomous Leadership. has opened an avenue for studying questions about fit in a scientifically sound way. Autonomous The degree to which a leader is independent, Self-reliant = Makes his/her Universal Leadership Dimensions Culture-contingent Leadership Dimensions (culture- individualistic or self-reliant. own decisions; inner-directed HYPOTHESES Figure 1: RSA of contingent)In this study, we put forward the following hypotheses: Charismatic H1a: For universal leadership dimensions, the leadership expectation-by- Hierarchical The degree to which a leader influences others Formal = Follows protocol and perception fit does not predict leadership effectiveness ratings. (culture- by formal status, authority, or position power. traditional ways of behaving H1b: For universal leadership dimensions, leadership perceptions predict contingent) according to status and position leadership effectiveness ratings significantly better than expectations and expectation-by-perception fit. H2: For culture-contingent dimensions, the leadership expectation-by-perception Figure 3: DISCUSSION fit significantly predicts leader effectiveness ratings. RSA of Key Findings Hierarchical  The present study examined the impact of ILT fit with perceptions of actual leaders on METHOD Figure 2: leadership effectiveness across cultures. According to traditional ILT, “fit” between leadership RSA of Team- expectations and perceptions should increase leadership performance. However, we arguedSTEP 1: INSTRUMENT DEVELOPMENT: Oriented that this should hold only for culturally-contingent leadership dimensions, as expectations in Items similar in format to the original GLOBE items were formulated to cover the GLOBE content these dimensions serve as anchors or comparison points for evaluating perceptions of actual and concepts. They were written so as to apply to individuals. Content validity was established leadership. This was confirmed in our analyses: For Hierarchical and Autonomous leadership, by having 5 experts from various countries q-sort the items into the GLOBE dimensions. The effectiveness is rated highest when fit is maximal. Discrepancies in either direction are assessment was named Global Leader View (GLV). negatively associated with effectiveness (Hypothesis 2). On dimensions that are universally endorsed (Charismatic and Team-oriented), results show that perceptions of actualSTEP 2: VALIDATION OF THE GLV: performance are a better predictor of leadership effectiveness than expectation-by-perception The sample for the validation study included leaders from organizations in 37 countries. fit (or expectations alone) (Hypotheses 1a and 1b). Participants completed the assessment as part of a leadership development initiative. Figure 4: Study Contributions Participants had to satisfy at least one of the following criteria: Managing people in multiple RSA of  First, we show that the dimensional structure and construct of leadership dimensions countries, having lived in at least two different countries, or having experience working with Autonomous identified by GLOBE can both be replicated with a different instrument and sample, and also people from different countries. Participants were asked to identify a set of peers, bosses, direct hold validity at the individual level. reports, and others, to complete the survey as raters. CFA FOR GLOBAL LEADER VIEW  Second, this study demonstrates that the classic fit hypothesis put forward by ILT only holds for PSYCHOMETRIC dimensions that are culturally contingent. This is an important caveat in the applicability of theSTEP 3: HYPOTHESIS TESTING:  The sample for hypothesis testing consisted of ratings from 502 people from 64 countries who PROPERTIES model allowed Construct dimensionality of the GLV was examined with Confirmatory Factor Analysis. The best fitting Expectations (n=1813) Perceptions (n=1808) tenet that “Leadership is in the eye of the beholder” which warrants further research. Limitations directly reported to the managers they rated. We focused on direct reports because they each characteristic to load on only one of the six dimensions. Chi-square Test of χ2(5,362) = 2169, χ2(5,362) = 2154,  Sample had only speakers of English provide the most meaningful data in terms of ratings and evaluations of leader behavior  Analyses for the Expectations and Perception items were run Model Fit p<.001 p<.001  The validation sample was not large enough to conduct analyses of cross-cultural (Ashford, 1989; Atwater & Yammarino, 1992; Bass, 1990). Expectations and perceptions data on separately, with the goal of ensuring that the same model measurement equivalence/invariance. four leadership dimensions of the GLV served as predictors of leadership effectiveness. Confirmatory Fit Index CFI = .93 CFI = .93 would fit both aspects of leadership. The results are in Table Implications Specifically, these were the two universally-endorsed scales of charismatic and team-oriented, 2.  Leadership can be understood in terms of universals and cultural specificity. and the culturally contingent scales of hierarchical and autonomous leadership. The Humane-  Five of the six factors emerged as highly similar to GLOBE; of RMSEA RMSEA = .05 RMSEA = .05 oriented and Participative leadership dimensions were not used because they are neither Poster presented at the 2011 SIOP Conference, Chicago, IL. A complete paper to this presentation unequivocally universal nor unequivocally culture-specific. Leadership effectiveness as rated by the self-protective dimension , only the items relating to can be obtained from Dr. Marian Ruderman, Center for Creative Leadership, 1 Leadership Place, direct reports was the dependent variable because of its importance for practicing managers. hierarchical leadership proved useful. Standardized RMR SRMR = .04 SRMR = .04 Greensboro, NC 27410, or