Cultural Constraints on Management Theories

“Great Man” Theory
there are certain individuals who have high-level gifts of leadership and can therefore lead effectively regardless of situation, task, or culture
“One best way” Theory
there is a set of definable practices, almost a magic formula that will bring inevitable success in leadership regardless of situation.
•*What drives companies*: strong commitment to a craft to design and produce quality products
•*Most important role*: craftsmen/engineer
•*Works best*: learning through apprenticeship
•*Motivation*: employees self-master – workers do not need a manager to motivate them and instead expect their boss to assign tasks and resolve technical problems.
•*Driven by*: company longevity and peer supervision
•*Prized*: the authority of all employees
•*Works best*: in a culture with low individualism
•Japanese are to a large extent controlled by their *peer group* rather than by their manager.
•*Driven by* the honor of the class
•*Prized*: manager (cadres)
•*Function*: to maintain authority and order
•*Works best*: established classes with little movement
•Superiors behave as superiors and subordinates accept and expect this, conscious of their own lower level in the national *hierarchy* but also of the honor of their own class.
•*Driven by* equality and the need to maintain consensus
•*Prized*: group
•*Works best*: in small, homogeneous society
•*Principle*: open ended conversation
Chinese Americans
•*Driven by* the need to maintain trust and counter weak property rights
•*Prized*: family and the head of the family
•*Works best*: narrow focus on one product/market
•*Principle*: only trust family
Leadership More About Understanding Group than Leader
•Everyone in an organization has the potential to exercise leadership since leadership is defined in terms of influence and influence may be exercised by anyone, from the highest to the lowest member of an organization
•If you understand the group of followers, they culture, wants and needs, you can more easily understand why there is the type of leadership that there is.
USA Focus on Managers as Heroes is Displaced
•Managers are much more involved in maintaining networks rather than acting as the core element of the organization that makes all decisions.
•All levels of an organization have the power to make decisions.