Academic journal article IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior

Toward a Conceptual Model of Global Leadership

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior

Toward a Conceptual Model of Global Leadership

Article excerpt


In organizational behavior, leadership appears to be the most researched, debated and discussed topic, and researchers have analyzed what leaders are like, what they do, how they are effective, what are the conditions/situations that make them effective, how do they bring about changes among the followers, the styles of their interactions with the followers and how they go about achieving their individual, group and organizational goals (George, 2000). The traditional focus of leadership is the organization that operates within a limited boundary. However, the changed context of globalization and the emergence of multinational and transnational corporations necessitate the consideration of leadership in the changed focus of global leadership.

Definition of Global Leadership: Different Perspectives

The general understanding of leadership involves the "process of social interaction where the leader's ability to influence the behavior of followers can strongly influence performance outcomes" (Kerr et al., 2006). Yukul (2006) observed that "most definitions of leadership reflect the assumption that it involves a process whereby intentional influence is exerted by one person over other people to guide, structure and facilitate activities and relationships in a group or organization." Leadership concerns building cohesive and goal-oriented teams of performance accomplishments (Hogan et al., 1994). Given the view that leadership is the process of "influencing others to accomplish organizational goals" (Tubb and Schulz, 2006), a differentiation may be made between the exogenous and the endogenous forms of influence which respectively refer to the personal traits, effective behaviors, skills, competencies, charisma (Jokinen, 2005) and expertise, knowledge, dispositions, cognitive abilities and information processing activities, emotional processes, motivational process, visionary processes, global mindset and strategic orientations.

The transition from domestic leadership to global leadership is marked by a change in the definition of the latter and this entails the consideration of the different approaches that specify the influence mechanisms.

Deriving a definition of 'global leadership' involves elaboration on both the nature of 'global' and 'leadership'. In trying to understand the nature of global leadership, researchers (Jokinen, 2005; Osland et al., 2006; and Mendenhall et al., 2012) have attempted to define the concepts of 'global' and 'leadership' of 'global leadership' (leader) from different standpoints where in the contextual and the content dimensions of global leadership.

In the consideration of the global contents and in the attention theory of global leadership, Bouquet et al. (2003) suggested that the active attention devoted to global issues determines the effectiveness of global leadership. The attention directed towards global issues and the subsequent leadership activities defines the global leadership processes.

According to the cognitive complexity perspective, the cognitive structure of a global leader is characterized by "the degree of differentiation, articulation and integration" of cognitive structure and this indicates the amount of diverse and multiple information that an individual is able to process and generate adaptive outcomes or behaviors (Levy et al., 2007). The structural dimension of cognitive complexity is thus made more evident in the organization of information units which are to be differentiated and integrated (Gupta and Govindarajan, 2002). At the functional level, cognitive complexity may be related to information acquisition, interpretation and action (Daft and W eick, 1984, cited by Levy et al., 2007). Further, according to Levy et al. (2007), cognitive complexity is underlined by the process of problem redefinition, balancing contradictions, tolerance for ambiguity and processing of multiple channels of information.

The cognitive science of leadership explains the mechanisms and the patterns of cognitive constructs involved in the way leaders think and process information. …

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