Leadership effectiveness : The view from four countries

University essay from Växjö universitet/Ekonomihögskolan, EHV; Växjö universitet/Ekonomihögskolan, EHV


- Summary -

- Is it possible to find an ideal leader that would be perceived as effective in four different countries? -

- What characteristics would this ideal leader have if taking the cultures and the countries’ different perspectives of effective leadership into consideration? -

The purpose with this thesis is to find an ideal leader that would be perceived as effective in four countries; Sweden, Great Britain, France and Germany. Due to the globalization of today it is not enough to be perceived as effective in one company or by one nation. An effective manager must have skills that are perceived as effective by many different people, despite cultural differences.

In order to find characteristics for this ideal leader our focus have been on finding similarities within the four countries and to determine what effectiveness means in each country. A questionnaire containing 41 questions about leadership effectiveness was formed and sent out to approximately 200-300 employees within the private sector in each country, whereas they needed to answer the questions with their current manager in mind. The result of this was 58 respondents from Sweden, 35 from Great Britain, 53 from France and 77 from Germany. To be able to develop this questionnaire and include as many aspects of leadership effectiveness as possible, three theories about leadership effectiveness were used as a ground base. A fourth theory represents cultural dimensions and thereby characteristics of the four countries, together with a general description of the stereotypical characteristic in each country. When the answers from the questionnaire were compiled, the theory and the descriptions concerning the cultural aspects were used as a comparison to the answers in order to get as legitimate facts as possible about the characteristics from each country.

The analysis mainly focus on correlations between certain questions, as this provide us with a better understanding of what aspects are important in relation to whether the manager is perceived as effective or not. The last question in the questionnaire, Q 41 if the manager is perceived as effective by others in the organization, has been seen as the most important question in relation to our topic and therefore it has been correlated with the rest of the questions (except for one question). The questions have been placed in different categories depending on what aspects they concern, and also in relation to what similarities the questions have, and this resulted in 13 indicators. Another group was added, which contained of three questions that did not fit anywhere in the 13 indicators. These indicators includes, among other things, charisma, structuring, communication skills, participation etc. In order to understand what aspects that were important in each country, correlations between Q 41 and the indicators where made and thereby a clearer picture appeared to us, about what characteristics the ideal leader should have.

After analyzing back and forth, three aspects/indicators were concluded to be the most important for a leader to be perceived as effective in all the four countries. These aspects concern the human aspect as well as concern for task, and an ability to lead the followers in a way that make them perform their best. The final characteristics that our ideal leader must have, among others, is to lead by setting an example, be optimistic, create team spirit and communicate information in an understandable way. We believe this information and the results from this thesis will provide us with useful and valuable knowledge in our future working life. However, the journey has been though and we have met several set-backs on the route. The hardest thing has been to get in contact with companies in the different countries and even harder to get the employees to answer our questionnaire. Still, we consider that the amount of respondents from each country have been enough to regard our results as valid.

- An ideal leader must, in order to be perceived as effective in the four different countries, be charismatic, have good communications skills, and put emphasis on team building among her or his employees. -

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