Research Proposal: Leadership and Motivation Leadership Cultural and Societal

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Leadership and Motivation


Cultural and societal influences on leadership and motivation

The content, the manner of manifestation, and the efficiency of leadership are the result of several determinant factors. The education the leader benefited from represents one of these factors. Education in relation with its contribution to the development of leadership is studied on three distinct levels: general education, professional education, and managerial education.

General education builds the basis of the individual and social general behavior and ensures the general knowledge basis with important effects on communicational level.

Professional education in technical, economic, or IT areas ensure the personal competency and prestige of specialists, which provides great importance in the relationships with specialists in the domain in case.

Managerial education mainly takes into consideration the development of innate abilities that leadership is based on. Such and education also focuses on developing and improving the ability to influence decisions, actions, and behavior of other people.

The general result of these training processes has a significant impact on social abilities, technical knowledge, decisional and communicational ability, managerial behavior, all these factors being essential for effective leadership.

It is worth mentioning that during the last decades, as a consequence of numerous positive implications of leadership, managerial education grants a great deal of specific attention for elements that affect its development. This situation has practical effects. For example, it has been observed that the number of managers that exert efficient leadership, based on techniques developed through managerial training, has increased in developed countries.

Certain studies have revealed that each type of leadership is influenced by different cultural and societal factors, as it follows: charismatic or value-based leadership is influenced by future orientation and humane orientation. Team oriented leadership is influenced by collectivism, humane orientation, assertiveness, and uncertainty avoidance. Participative leadership is influenced by power distance, and humane orientation. Humane orientation leadership is influenced by gender egalitarianism. Autonomous leadership is influenced by collectivism. Self-protective leadership is influenced by power distance, and uncertainty avoidance.

These societal and cultural factors manifest in distinct ways and have different implications. The avoidance of uncertainty assumes an increased number of items that are designed in order to process information, which means that this kind of leadership focuses on information availability, information being considered in this case a resource of high importance. Even more, experts in the field state that given the current turbulent global conditions, leadership becomes more important than management techniques (De Woot, 1992).

The power distance factor can be identified in situations where there is a limited number of scientists, which means that intellectual inquiry is somewhat suppressed. Such situations can be observed in less developed countries.

Gender egalitarianism indicates a high proportion of females with earned income. This further reveals a lower discrimination degree against females and an increased pressure for females that contribute to the workforce. Such situations can be observed in developed, Western civilizations.

Humane orientation is revealed by a low number of retail outlets per capita. This means that the attention is oriented towards relationships rather than towards economic amenities.

Future can be found in countries where there is a "high proportion of public education expenditure devoted to higher education, indicating public investment for future opportunities and future economic performance" (House et al., 1999).

Performance orientation can be observed in situations where only a small percent of research and development is financially supported by the government. This further means that this leadership type corresponds to countries where the market competition is free and government's intervention in the economy is usually low.

As one may observe, the societal and cultural factors of influence that affect leadership are common for each region. Their influence is in relation with the degree of civilization and development of the country in case. For example, Western, developed countries, with economies of international importance are characterized by a leadership influenced by avoidance of uncertainty, gender egalitarianism, future orientation, performance orientation.

Developing countries are characterized by a leadership influenced by factors like power distance, societal influence on collectivism, or human orientation. This means that leaders cannot practice a type of leadership influenced by a factor of influence of their choice. Basically, these factors of influence are somewhat inherited from their superiors, trainers, and the society as a whole.

It has been observed that "founders of organizations, the organizations' original leaders, are immersed in their own societal culture, and they are most likely to enact the global leader behavior patterns that are favored in that culture" (House et al., 1999).

In other words, the founders or the leaders of the organization in cause establish themselves as role models, they establish a certain general leadership style that is further embraced by subordinate leaders. They pass this leadership style further to their subordinates. This way, founders can influence leaders, through role modeling and socialization.

Founders' presence in the organization's activity allows for them to maintain a constant influence on subordinate leaders. Given the fact that this influence is a constant presence, it means that there is no pressure for subordinate leaders to follow the founders' example, they are influenced in a natural manner. The founders' leadership style is therefore accepted by their subordinates without any negative response.

As a consequence, the behavior of leaders reflects general leadership patterns. These general leadership patterns are also a reflection of the entire societal culture. This means that the societal culture significantly influence the leadership style.

Culture also affects the general vision of leaders. For example, Chinese individuals expect their leaders to be more active and to limit their verbal speeches, which is mostly common in the Western civilization. The Indian culture is very different from the Chinese one, given the fact that Indians prefer leaders that take risks (Wharton Network, 1999).

The importance of gender and cultural background on the leadership style varies in each region. The effect of these aspects is moderate in Anglo, Nordic, Germanic, and Eastern Europe. The effect is also moderate in South Asia, but with different implications (Van Emmerick et al., 2009).

Reference list:

1. 1. House, R.J. et al. (1999). Cultural Resources on Leadership and Organizations: Project Globe. The Wharton School of Management, University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved May 13, 2009 from

2. De Woot, Ph. (1993). Towards a European Management Model. EFMD, FORUM. No. 3. Retrieved May 14, 2009.

3. How Cultural Factors Affect Leadership (1999). University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School. Retrieved May 14, 2009 from

4. Van Emmerick, H. et al. (2009). Leadership Behaviors around the World: The Relative Importance of Gender vs. Cultural Background. University of Utrecht. Retrieved May 14, 2009 from

2. Ethical responsibilities of a leader

In order to practice an efficient leadership, leaders must first make proof of their outstanding ethics. Leaders represent models that must be followed by other individuals. This is why ethics is so important where leadership is concerned.

Leaders must address the following types of ethics: morality, principle ethics, virtue ethics, mandatory ethics, aspirational ethics.

It is difficult for specialists to agree on a common definition of ethics and what it stands for. But everyone can agree upon the fact that ethics show us what is right, what is wrong, and what the difference between these aspects is. Ethics also establish principles that should be implemented by all individuals in order to maintain what is agreed to be a right conduct.

The types of ethics mentioned above are different in terms of manner of manifestation, causes, and effects. Morality usually refers to an appreciation or an evaluation of actions of a certain person. Morality is functioning based on cultural and religious standards and norms. This type of ethics has a more individual importance compared to other types of ethics. But this does not mean that morality should be of less importance for leaders and their subordinates.

Principle ethics have a wider implication and a more complex area of manifestation. The factors of influence for this type of ethics include rational, objective, universal and impartial principles.

These principles are used in order to analyze ethical dilemmas. All the principles listed above are a sine qua non-condition for implementing an ethical system that can be followed by others also.

Virtue ethics refer to individual's character. Although this is an internal, individual characteristic, its effects are external and may even become global, depending on the situation in case. As mentioned in the previous chapter, a leader's efficiency and leadership style can also be attributed to his general education. This includes his character.

As a consequence, the internal structure of the leader has external effects and influences its subordinates in a significant and direct manner. Certain misconducts in this area can be corrected. Others cannot be corrected which means they are likely to affect in one way or another, the leadership style.

Individuals are not perfect and leaders make no exception. But this should not be an excuse for any unethical behavior. A leader that admits his mistakes and tries to correct them is likely to gain more respect and appreciation from his… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Leadership and Motivation Leadership Cultural and Societal.  (2009, May 13).  Retrieved September 16, 2019, from

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"Leadership and Motivation Leadership Cultural and Societal."  May 13, 2009.  Accessed September 16, 2019.