Perceptions of leadership across cultures: a study of French and German managers and their employees in both their domestic and host environments
Jennewein, Annegret (2012) Perceptions of leadership across cultures: a study of French and German managers and their employees in both their domestic and host environments. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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The phenomenon of globalisation has contributed greatly to the increasing interest in investigating cross-cultural leadership in recent years (Avolio, Walumbwa and Weber, 2009). To date cross-cultural leadership research has mainly involved comparative studies between countries at manager level (e.g. House et al., 2004) and has focused on potential cultural effects on leadership styles. The aim of this crosscultural study is to address the gap of neglecting employees’ views on leadership by investigating leadership perceptions both from the perspective of managers and employees in their domestic and host environments.
This study explores leadership perceptions in the specific context of France and Germany, using a mixed methods approach. Based on implicit leadership theories and connectionist theory (Hanges et al., 2006; Lord et al., 2001), the similarities and differences that exist between the structure and the content of cognitive leadership schemas of French and German managers and employees regarding their perceptions of effective leadership are compared.
This study shows that the application of connectionist theory to the field of cross-cultural leadership research provides a meaningful lens to investigate the relationship between culture and leadership. It found that despite the spread of globalisation and an often assumed concomitant convergence of cultures, differences in the approaches to leadership in a French and German business context still persist and should, therefore, be considered by companies planning foreign operations or secondments.
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