How Are Culture and Leadership Linked Essay

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Pages: 9


‘How are the concepts of culture and leadership linked?’


This literature review will make use of four pieces of academic work to discuss how the concept of culture can intrinsically affect leadership. The literature finds that the link between culture and leadership is an important, yet complicated relationship. I will begin by discussing and defining the central concepts of culture and leadership. I will then explain and analyse the significance of culture upon leadership. Finally I will review Hofstede’s cultural framework to assess its significance and relevance to the topic at hand.


To begin, culture is a phenomenon that carries multiple definitions. A simplistic view sees it as “how
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Whereas nations with lower Uncertainty Avoidance, for instance the USA (46) as seen in figure 1; are comfortable with risk, accept dissent with greater ease and rely on as few rules as possible (Hofstede, 1980). The third dimension, Individualism vs Collectivism, explains the extent to which nations are viewed as individualistic, meaning they are a loosely bonded society in which individuals only care for themselves (Kirkman, Lowe and Gibson, 2006) or more collectivist, by which the organisation is more family like and there is a sense of interdependency (King and Lawley, 2013). Leaders in collectivist societies are likely to be paternalistic whereas leaders in individualistic cultures are likely to be driven by achievement and participative leadership will be used (Shanthi, 2009). Hofstede’s final dimension, the Masculinity vs Femininity index, gauges the extent of assertiveness and aggressiveness for certain things in life. More ‘Masculine’ societies obsess over the material objects in life and only care for themselves (Hofstede 1980) whereas ‘Feminine’ societies strive for the quality of life and view the organisation based around idealisms of “welfare and nurturing”(King and Lawley, 2013 pp.501).

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions framework can be applied and discussed in relation to leadership theories and its relevance