Conflict and debate are considered essential to better decision making in some cultures, while in others, it's considered confrontational or rude. What do you need to do to help leaders in an increasingly more globalized work team to bridge the cultural divide?
In a recent survey by CultureWizard, an intercultural training consultancy, a full 63 percent of randomly selected respondents at multinational companies indicated that nearly half of their teams were located outside their home country — with large ramifications for addressing cultural awareness in leadership development programs. How do you prepare a leader when the team is comprised of multiple cultures and creeds, particularly when members of the team have different cultural assumptions on what is "confrontational"? Many people design leadership development programs to help leaders apply techniques to address difference, such as the norms of 'creative abrasion' like John Seely Brown did at Xerox's PARC. In this INSEAD article, the impact that globalization is having on leadership effectiveness requires a few more tactics, to recognize and respect the various cultures and the different ways that people define confrontational.
Lessons from Latin American leaders: leading a team of individuals needs to address individual, company, and community needs, making eldership development partially align with corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts
Continuing on this theme of creating leadership development programs that address cultural differences, the concept of a leader in Latin American countries is closely tied with the community, not merely the team, and has resulted in some interesting attributes of leaders in Latin American businesses. As this article indicates, Latin Americans tend to score high on personal authority and collective or group-related cultural dimensions and values compared to colleagues in the United States or Europe. This cultural trend has given rise to a "paternalistic" leadership style in which personal and social relationships are key to working and leading employees effectively. In the recently published article, "Humanistic Leadership: Lessons From Latin America," published in the Journal of World Business, Anabella Davila of EGADE Business School (Mexico) and IESE Prof. Marta M. Elvira review the psychological, sociological and historical factors behind this leadership style. Prior research suggests that in Latin America, management practices place the individual at the center of the organization and society. The value placed on community development in Latin America increasingly challenges organizations to integrate their business goals with those of the wider community through corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Combining a paternalistic leadership style with a community-focused approach helps to foster institutional arrangements that legitimize the social contract between individuals and organizations. Leaders need to acknowledge the role of each individual within the workgroup and the organization within its community and society at large. This style of leadership requires showing genuine concern for workers, including in such areas as their quality of life, family, and community welfare — in effect, viewing employees as full stakeholders in the management process. When this happens, workers generally respond with high levels of productivity and commitment to the organization. It's an important point to consider in light of your leadership development program design. Read the IESE article, "Humanistic Leadership: Lessons From Latin America"
Profs. Groysberg and Slind offer a new model of leadership based on interpersonal conversation, focused on intimacy, interactivity, inclusion, and intentionality. Is it time to integrate the approach in your leadership development efforts?
As organizations become leaner and flatter, the struggle over the role of the leader in the organization — and the way to develop that leader — has become more pronounced. In this Harvard Business Review blog posting, part of the answer lies in how leaders manage communication within their organizations — that is, how they handle the flow of information to, from, and among their employees. Traditional corporate communication must give way to a process that is more dynamic and more sophisticated. Most important, that process must be conversational. Smart leaders today, the writers point out, engage with employees in a way that resembles an ordinary person-to-person conversation more than it does a series of commands from on high. Furthermore, they initiate practices and foster cultural norms that instill a conversational sensibility throughout their organizations. Chief among the benefits of this approach is that it allows a large or growing company to function like a small one. By talking with employees, rather than simply issuing orders, leaders can retain or recapture some of the qualities — operational flexibility, high levels of employee engagement, tight strategic alignment — that enable start-ups to outperform better-established rivals. Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind have identified four elements of organizational conversation that reflect the essential attributes of interpersonal conversation: intimacy, interactivity, inclusion, and intentionality. Leaders who power their organizations through conversation-based practices need not (so to speak) dot all four of these i’s. However, as Profs Groysberg and Slind have discovered in their research, these elements tend to reinforce one another. In the end, they coalesce to form a single integrated process. Read the HBR Blog "Leadership Is a Conversation"
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How should a Western company manage cross-culturally corporate values in its foreign subsidiaries? Do these values make sense everywhere and can they assumed to be universal or, on the contrary, are they culturally Western specific? In the book Managing Corporate Values in Diverse National Cultures: The Challenge of Differences (to be released on July 10, 2012), Philippe d'Iribarne provides answers to these timely and urgent questions, based on research carried out in the subsidiaries of a leading global company, Lafarge, in the contrasting cultural environments of China, the United States, France and Jordan. It appears that, in a large part of the world, people's expectations are similar: they expect from a good employer, clear and decisive leadership, and fair and compassionate treatment, helping them lead a good life. But treating these expectations as the 'same' could be misleading. Western companies with a humanistic orientation are well positioned to fulfill them, provided they are willing, in each and every geography, to take into account the local vision of the right way to achieve a good life. Buy now
The systems-of-innovation approach is considered by many to be a useful analytical approach for better understanding innovation processes as well as the production and distribution of knowledge in the economy. It is an appropriate framework for the empirical study of innovations in their contexts and is relevant for policy makers. This text, now available in paperback, is the result of the work within an international inter-disciplinary network or "working seminar" with the task of building a more solid and sophisticated conceptual and theoretical foundation for the continued study of innovations in a systemic context. The book Systems of Innovation: Technologies, Institutions and Organizations has three parts. The first presents an overview and tries to work out some conceptual problems. In the second, the system of innovation approach is related to innovation theory. Part three is devoted to increasing understanding of the functioning and dynamics of systems of innovation. There is also an introduction where the genesis and anatomy of different systems of innovation approaches are discussed and where the systems of innovation approach is characterized in nine dimensions. Written by well-respected Charles Edquist, professor at Lund university, Sweden, the book offers a solid grounding in this approach to systematizing innovation in organizations. Buy Now
Techtonic Shift in HR technology (Online Conference)
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