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Leadership: Leaders, Followers, Environments by Art Padilla

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Culture and diversity of people

Leadership is leadership. It has universal elements, such as a context, communication between leaders and followers, sense-making for the group, and decisiveness of action, that transcend time and place. Yet, political boundaries, regional cultures, histories, and traditions mediate how leaders and followers interact. Societies have evolved into groups of ethnically similar peoples with distinguishable behaviors and characteristics that distinguish them. They share a common language and the same laws, religions, and traditions. Argentineans are mostly of Italian and Spanish descent and they share many customs and traditions with their European ancestors. Yet they also are very different from Italians and Spaniards. Argentineans love Evita Perón, adore the tango, eat a great deal of braised meat, enjoy soccer as a national obsession, and they have their own way of doing business and conducting politics.

What are the differences between political leadership situations in the U.S. and South America, and how does culture matter? Are North American political leaders materially different from those in South America? Or do they share the same traits and behaviors, perhaps moderated by the traditions of their nations' peoples and their political institutions? Several factors seem important to the way in which these two sets of leaders from the north and the south interact with their citizens: size, democracy, economics, and lack of institutionalization. ...

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