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Leadership: Leaders, Followers, Environments by Art Padilla

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How does culture influence leadership?

How does culture influence leadership, particularly at the organizational level?109 Within a national or regional culture, a number of things are shared. This sharing has an effect on how leadership and followership work. There's a common language, group processes for inclusion or exclusion, accepted norms for distribution of status and power, customs for developing friendship and intimacy, and shared ideologies and religions. These commonalities create powerful habits and bonds among people who share them.

Cultural norms can be absorbed and can lead to good or to bad consequences. For example, individuals observing negative behaviors may rationalize such negative conduct and practices. These negative behaviors may then escalate and spread to others, taking on institutional momentum.110 Rationalizations are mental strategies that justify illegal or immoral behavior. Leaders and followers may also exist in a social cocoon or micro-culture, such as terrorists in hiding, whose standards of acceptable behavior may be quite different from the rest of the organization and society at large.111

Employee expectations and performance as well as organizational structures can be very different across cultures, particularly if comparing Eastern and Western nations. Firms in South Korea and Chinese firms in Taiwan tend to be owned by founders or families. They are likely to be authoritarian, with high-power distances, and bureaucratic and centralized with ...

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