As a professional management consultant working for an new international venture you have been asked to design the appropriate training seminars for a cadre of expatriate managers who are about to embark on their first 5-year assignments to manage one of the subsidiaries strategically located in Vancouver, Sao Paulo, Dublin, and Bombay. Describe the type of leadership training you would provide to the prospective expatriates and the reason for such training. Why is the understanding of subordinate expectations crucial to effective leadership?

There is no simple formula identifying how to lead in every national context. Following are general recommendations:

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National Context as A Contingency for Leadership Behaviors

¨ Most experts on leadership in multinational companies argue that a contingency perspective is required
· The first step in understanding how to adjust one’s leadership to a multinational situation comes from understanding what local managers do to lead successfully in their own country


· The second step is using this knowledge to modify one’s leadership style appropriately to fit a particular national context

Exhibit 15.4 Presents a National-Context Contingency Model of Leadership

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The National Context Contingency Model of Leadership: An Overview
¨ To be successful, leaders must modify their behaviors or develop particular leadership traits depending on two key contingencies
· The first contingency is the characteristics of their subordinates
· The second contingency is the nature of their work setting
¨ In the multinational setting, the basic components of the contingency leadership model (leader behavior and traits, subordinate characteristics, and the work setting) are affected by the national context
¨ How leadership behaviors, traits, and contingencies are affected by the national context:
· Leader behaviors and traits: National culture, business culture, and social institutions define the array of preferred and acceptable leader behaviors and traits for managers
· Subordinate characteristics: National and business cultures influence worker needs and levels of achievement motivation
· Work setting: Culture and social institutions affect the choices managers make in designing organizations and subunits

Leadership Traits and Behaviors in the National Context

¨ Different cultures have different images of what distinguishes successful leaders
¨ However, there is also evidence that some leader behaviors and traits are cultural universals
¨ In Germany, for example, it is the engineer and not the manager who is the cultural hero. Ph.D.s are more important than business degrees
¨ In France, the distinction between management and worker reflects social class distinctions between cadres and non-cadres
¨ In Holland, a desired leadership trait is modesty in contrast to the trait of assertiveness usually valued in the United States
¨ In the overseas Chinese family business, a leader is the patriarch or the oldest male head of the family
¨ Latest research on cross-national research in leadership is called GLOBE (Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness)
¨ The GLOBE study contains insight regarding leadership that can help the multinational manager develop a leadership style to navigate successfully through a maze of cultural settings
¨ The GLOBE team found that numerous leader behaviors and traits are culturally endorsed in some societies but not others

Exhibit 15.5 Shows Culture Contingent Leadership Traits and Behaviors

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National Context and Subordinate Expectations

¨ National context also affects subordinates’ expectations regarding what a leader “should” do and what a leader may or may not do
¨ Different leader behaviors communicate the leader’s person or task orientation
¨ Subordinates also accept or reject certain leader behaviors as legitimate prerogatives of leadership
¨ The cultural value of power distance has profound effects on subordinate expectations regarding leaders
· In countries with high power distance values, including many of the Latin and Asian countries, subordinates expect autocratic leadership
· In low power distance countries, such as Sweden and Norway, subordinates expect the leader to be more like them

Exhibit 15.10 Shows Hofstede’s Ideas Regarding How Subordinates from Countries with Three Different Levels of Power Distance Respond to Different Leadership Issues


¨ Besides power distance, other cultural values likely affect subordinates’ expectations regarding leadership styles and behaviors
· Hofstede’s work suggests that strong masculinity norms often lead to the acceptance of more authoritarian leadership, although perhaps this is a paternalistic authoritarianism in the case of the Japanese
  • Strong uncertainty-avoidance norms may cause subordinates to expect the leader to provide more detail in directions
¨ The classic contingency view of leadership and the national-context contingency model of leadership can provide multinational managers a guide as to when and how to adapt leadership styles to different national context