Impacts of Globalization on leadership and culture

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1.1 Globalization & its impact as a whole

Globalization is the process which has connected the whole globe into one entity for trade, commerce, investment of capital, free movement of goods, services, and people. Jack Welch said and I quote, “Globalization has changed us into a company that searches the world, not just to sell or source but to find intellectual capital”. Thus, Globalization has influenced the world in many different ways, It’s a cycle which links every process such as from manufacturing to selling the product nationally and internationally. This can be a product or service or it can be the form of human resource or capital. It has changed the business procedures in terms of psychological, methodological, technological, cultural, and in term of work mindset of individuals. After all, this change has brought us many advantages and eased our lives. Below I have mentioned the most commonly known advantages that individuals have obtained from globalization:

  • Employment and business opportunities have been increased
  • Competition has been increased which is actually a big threat to the monopoly
  • Access to wide markets for every individual
  • Technological advancement and ease in adopting the new and latest technology

Globalization is a great tool to maximize market competition. Globalization effects in the development of the business in terms of its human resource which is the main pillar of the business organization. It is the integration of lifestyle, technologies, and cultural viewpoints, which totally affects the management level of business organizations. This is why globalization has enabled low cost, best value for customers and increased growth for businesses in the market.

1.2 How globalization affects leadership models

With the increase of globalization and its huge impact on the emerging markets all over the world have presented different challenges for leadership roles. These challenges vary in terms of different capabilities and skills.

A leader is one who takes control, is responsible for other people and has the ability to influence the attitudes, thoughts and actions of followers by motivating them to venture beyond their basic job descriptions, drives the mission and vision of the organization and has the ability to touch the lives of each employee.

Some of the general leadership theories are given below:
general theories of leadership globalization

These general theories about leadership gives us a clear view of leaders in terms of what capabilities they should have actually? They should be task-oriented, employee-oriented etc. The primary factors of the leader should be:

  1. Capacity
  2. Achievement
  3. Responsibility
  4. Status
  5. Situation
  6. Participation

If we talk in terms of leadership model, Four Framework Approach (Leadership Model) is the example to relate the impact of globalization on it:

1.3 Four Framework Approach:

Bolmon & Deal (1991) proposed the four framework approach which best describes the leadership behaviours in one of four types of the framework:
four Framework Approach to understand leadership behavior

1.3.1 Structural Framework:

 Structural leaders focus on structure, strategy, environment, implementation, experimentation and adaptation.

1.3.2 Human Resource Framework:

HR leaders focus on empowering, increased participation, support, sharing information and move decision making into the organization.

1.3.3 Political Framework:

These types of leaders assess the distribution of power and interests, build linkages to the stakeholders, using persuasion and negotiation.

1.3.4 Symbolic Framework:

These types of leaders view the organization in terms of playing certain roles and giving impressions, communicating a vision, using symbols to capture attention.

In an effective leadership situation, the leader is a prophet, whose leadership styles inspires, While in an ineffective leadership situation a leader is a tool, whose leadership style is smoke and mirrors.

Globalization affects the leader in many different ways, It changes the rules of the game of an organization, So the leader doesn’t remain constant in terms of his capabilities and skills where he can always win. No doubt, Globalization helps opening up different opportunities but it is not that easy to avail these opportunities, A leader has to go through different challenges and achieving them coming out as best.

If we go through the above model, these four categories of leaders, what do they actually focus on? Their main focus is to maintain the structure and shaping organization, implementing the best policies for their organization, being employee-oriented, overviewing the decisions, building good relations with other organizations, technological advancements in organizations, following the vision and mission, creating an environment and inspire others. These all the factors are impacted by globalization not only in terms of imports and exports only. But the globalization is the key factor which affects the culture of an organization, changes the employee work nature. “Increased globalization and integration of information technology have brought about a fundamental rethinking of how to conduct business and how to lead a complex organization for the continuous improvement and reinventing of the organization”.

Bartleby said and I quote, “Anyone can be a great leader, but if you are a leader with a good sense of work ethic, personal and professional integrity and determination of success, then managing a  large diverse group of people wouldn’t pose such a challenge”. Globalization does limits the leaders capabilities to work more effectively and efficiently, But a good leader accepts the challenges that come with diversity such as complexity, ambiguity, confusion and resistance will give managers the foresight to effectively and efficiently implement process (Work of a structural leader – As discussed in the above model) that will benefit organization as a whole.

Globalization is the process that changes the rules and implies larger burden on a leader, But the global institutions need effective leadership having multiple traits such as enthusiasm, intelligence, energy, persistence, perseverance, If these traits are present in the leader, He can overcome such challenges and reach to the level of globalization where different new opportunities are open for him.

1.4 Relationship of culture with leadership & its impacts:

Culture is the pillar of the organization development which means “The way you do things around the organization”, The working environment of the business organization depends upon the culture. It doesn’t depend on how good a leader you are, But to be successful it will surely depend upon the culture of the organization. A leader who has different capabilities and skills, but if your culture doesn’t allow you to practice them then it totally becomes irrelevant. So it is very important for a leader to match his skills with the culture of the organization where he leads because this is a very important factor that should be considered by the leader to have the authority to practice according to the culture. According to Bauer, all companies have a culture, In order for employees to function and succeed, It is essential they understand and believe in the culture.

Culture affects the ability of the leader in getting the work done. Previously culture was determined as the main characteristic of the nation but now after the globalization, it is known as a relational matter. With the help of globalization, Cultural differences become smaller and a common culture can be created globally. But it’s not that easy to blend in with different cultures, If we take an example of Coca-Cola in terms of its taste, markets and the cultures become similar everywhere which is due to globalization. So a leadership role depends upon how the cultural aspects are managed. Culture is the blend of values, norms and practices. So these leadership theories are affected by the culture because these all leadership traits that an effective leader should have are all impacted and interrelated on the culture of the organization/company. An effective leader always exercises the changes in the culture and takes it positively. How a leader takes it positively? By having three traits:

  1. Visionary & Strategic thinker
  2. Ethics that support values
  3. Empowerment

So, basically there are different leadership styles that are affected by the culture in the way as discussed above, The most seen leadership styles are as follows:

  1. Autocratic Leaders – Who make decisions without consulting their team members.
  2. Democratic Leaders – They make final decisions by themselves, But include their team members in the decision making the process.
  3. Laissez-Faire – Leaders give freedom to their workers in how to do work, setting deadlines.

So, here we can see these leaderships styles are totally dependent on the cultural aspects of the organizations. It is actually telling what type of culture the organization holds?

Moreover, “My personal experience when my friend’s father was a city manager, He told us about their leader when he used to say this all the time, I am here since 30 years, I have outlasted three city managers and I will outlast you too. This is the cultural effect leaders face when they are usually brought from outside organizations where culture was different and now it’s changed”  So what we learn from here, that culture actually has a negative effect too on the leadership traits and models. Culture is a function of leadership which should be exercised in an effective and efficient way by implementing the positive impacts of leadership.

1.5 Leadership theories in daily life:

Different leadership theories as discussed above, However, there is a wide growing variety of leadership theories that are implemented in daily lives such as in business practices. Here we are going to talk about some well-known theories and how they can actually explain the situations in business practices:

  1. Trait Theory
  2. Skills Theory
  3. Situational Theory
  4. Contingency Theory
  5. Transformational theory

As a student, I discovered and explored my leadership potential. I am now determined to enhance my traits, leadership styles. I have engaged myself in much thought on leadership styles, traits, philosophies and best practices. Through my experience and student of management, I have begun to develop a personal philosophy of leadership. I believe in true leadership. Bellow, I have mentioned my personal life analysis according to the leadership theories:

  1. Traits & Personality influence leadership style.
  2. Situational Leadership and Path-Goal Leadership are the best two approaches which leader can use to meet the needs of its sub-ordinates.
  3. People – People are motivated by goals, a successful leader helps sub-ordinates along the path towards their goals.
  4. High task oriented & High relationship-oriented. 

1.6 Key Traits, Personality, and Strengths & Weaknesses

1.6.1 Major Leadership Traits:

A. Intelligence (A personal strength): Strong verbal ability, Perceptual ability, Better reasoning makes me a good leader, I have been assigned to lead different sports team where I utilize my intelligence traits usually on hiking. It makes me a good leader.

B. Self Confidence (Work in progress): Self-confidence includes self-esteem, self-assurance and a belief that one can make a difference. I am still working on it, For a leadership role, it is very critical as it allows to feel that his attempts to influence others are appropriate and right. Whenever I am given a leadership role, I always try to act that I lead my team with complete confidence.

C. Determination: As the desire to get the job done, initiative, persistence, dominance and drive, a determination is characteristic of a high achiever, and it helps a leader persevere in the face of obstacles, I have always seen myself determinant when leading or working on some task. So I am determinant enough and it’s my personal strength.

D. Integrity: The qualities of honesty, trustworthiness, loyalty and reliability constitute integrity. For my entire life, I have been a student of integrity with a strong sense of purpose, core values and a mission.

E. Sociability: One of my personal strength. I myself have identified myself as a people pleaser, people person who brings everyone together as one. One of the qualities a leader should have.

1.6.2 Path-Goal, Situational Leadership & Task and Relationship Orientations

I believe that most people are motivated and driven by goals in their personal and professional lives. I also believe that a successful leader is a concurrently high task and high relationship-oriented. A leader can keep his eye on the prize while also having a pulse on the needs, wants, and feelings of his followers. In fact, I believe that a leader ignorant of his subordinates’ needs and wants will lead a less productive, task-oriented workplace, for he will have failed to motivate and inspire his followers. So I can relate these theories to my personal life. This I what I am and what I have experienced in my personal life and in my academic life.

1.7 Conclusion:

So, here I will conclude my point on leadership. This is how I think leadership theories, leadership models and styles are really affected by these cultural impacts and the way globalization is entering this era is a good positive sign for the leaders to face the change and groom themselves accordingly.

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2 Thoughts to “Impacts of Globalization on leadership and culture”

  1. TALHA MEHMOOD

    The world in which we live in is increasingly becoming more interconnected. Whole societies, economies, and political systems are becoming more intertwined as products and services are exchanged across continents. Organizations continuously have to adapt to this evolving landscape to survive. In fact, what worked yesterday, may not work today. This phenomenon is attributed to globalization. There is no doubt that globalization has impacted how leadership is practiced at a global level. This has created challenges for many organizations and the global leaders who lead them. For example, leadership skills and practices which are effective in one country may be useless in another due to differences in cultural believes and values. Therefore, it is important to understand how leadership can be used to effectively lead in a globalized environment.

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