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The robustness of charismatic leadership as a universal paradigm

by Carl, Dale Everton

Abstract (Summary)
With the rapid globalization of business enterprises, corporate leaders are increasingly required to work in cultures with which they are not familiar, or with employees from different societal, politicai, industrial, and organizational cultures. The culture-based Literature in large part suggests that the expectations of those who assess a leader's effectiveness will probably Vary as the result of the cultural influences to which they have been exposed from childhood onward. This study considers the opposite hypothesis: that there may be a leadership profile that is commonly effective across al1 business organizations. Based on a significant number of empirical studies, leadership scholars such as Bass (1997) and House and Aditya (1997) have proposed that one style of leadership, generally cailed " ch~smatic " , might be universal. To date, however, they have not had the theoretical and methodological tools necessary to investigate fully whether charismatic leadership is indeed a universaily effective paradigm. This dissertation develops two conceptual models to assist in explonng the universality of a chansmatic leadership profile. Fit, an interactive, cultural systerns-based leadership model is developed to demonstrate the cultural dimensions that must be included in the design of a rigorous analysis of universality. The systems include a range of societal cultures, different political-economic systems, distinct industry cultures, and diverse organizational cultures. The second model presents a taxonomy of psychologicaUy complex universds for the purpose of testing the universality of constructs. They range £tom 'biform universals", which are the most restrictive in temu of equivalence, through "fùnctional universals', to 'tarifonn universals", the most relaxed category. It is hypothesized that the variform universal category is the most suitable for cross-cultural leadership studîes. This taxonomy is then operationalized for the subsequent analyses in this study and for hiture research. Using leadership data fiom eight countries frorn the Global Leadership and Organhational EEectiveness project, a pan-cultuml charismatic model was developed using exploratory principal cornponents analysis. This model was then tested for three categories of univenality using LISREL multi-sample confirmatory factor analysis on two groups of countries. The results of this study indicate that there is a profile of charismatic attributes and behaviours that transcends cultural boundaries. The three constmcts of this profile include " motivational " , " strong vision " , and "planning". This leadership model is both consistent psychomeûicaliy as a varifonn universal across all cultures and universally effective. It is concluded from this analysis that there is a foundational charismatic leadership profüe that fulfills some of the core expectations that all organizational personnel have of their leaders, and that this profile is not subject to significant cultural modifications. At least some charismatic leadership constmcts, which might be a subset of a larger profile, do form a robust universal leadership paradigm. It is argued that this finding does not minimize the requirement for culture-specific analysis in creating a composite profile of a leader in various cultural enviromnents; rather, both research streams are necessary complements in cross-cultural leadership research. Neither focus should be down-played in the quest for determinhg what attributes help to create effective organizational leaders. My sincere appreciation is extended to those who have assisted me in this endeavor: my supervisor, Dr. Mansour Javidan, who has coached and cajoled me for three years; my Committee members, Dr. Amy Pablo, and Dr. Terry Ursacki, who have ken wonderfidly supportive teachers; and my intemalextemal, Dr. Doyle Hatt fiom the Department of Anthropology, who has stepped into the breach at the eleventh hour for rny oral dissertation defense. Robert House, my extemai examiner, disserves a special note of mention because of his wealth of research in the fields of leadership and cross-cultural leadership, which have been critical in my understanding of this challenging topic. 1also wish to express my sincerest appreciation to the GLOBE Country Co-Investigaton who contributed their leadership data to this study: Staffa Akerblom and IngaIill Holmberg (Sweden), Gyda Bakacsi (Hungary), Colombia de Bustamente (Venezuela), Richard Field and Julian Andrews (Canada), Li Ji (Singapore), Hayat Kabasakd (Turke y), JO ydeep Roy- Bhattacharya (India), and Ema Szabo (Austria). 1 also wish to acknowledge Dr. Paul Hanges, University of Maryland, for his advice on methodology and for supplying GLOBE country data when all lines of communication with some of the GLOBE CCIs had fded. Finally, 1 wish to thank Dr. Barbara Marcolin and Dr. Tak Fung, The University of Calgary, who have been invaluable in my understanding of structurai equation modeling .
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1999

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