Much research has been done on the theme of leadership. If it can be said that there is a common thread in this research, it is that there is no 'single magic formula' for effective leadership. What is effective in leadership depends on factors such as the values and maturity of the organization in question. Does the same statement hold true at with regards to countries? To make it easier for us to understand these tendencies, we have defined two leadership styles as shown in Figure 1.
|The leader leads the organization through his or her personal qualities and abilities. The traditional style of leadership.||・Confidence
・Provides clear instructions
|The leader encourages proactive behavior and draws the potential of the organization members.||・Develops others
Survey respondents were asked to evaluate their leaders in the company using 18 leadership qualities. We conducted a factor analysis based on their evaluations. As a result of the factor analysis, two leadership styles were extracted. (Constructive factors)
In the more traditional "Top-driven" style of leadership, the leader directs the organization using his or her personal qualities and abilities. On the other hand, the "Development" style of leadership encourages proactive behavior and draws out the potential of staff in the organization. While the former strongly relies on the leader's strengths, and abilities, the latter places expectations on the strengths and potential of the members who make up the organization.
The scatterplot below (Figure 2) was constructed after analyzing overall evaluation data from the survey. Each country was plotted in terms of the strength of tendency towards leadership style. Countries above the line more effectively adopt a "Development" style of leadership, while in countries below the line, a "Top-driven" style of leadership is more effective.
Blue countries are classified as "Advanced Economies"
Red countries are classified as "Emerging Market and Developing Countries"
Both classifications were defined by the IMF (International Monetary Fund)
Coaching Research Institute, 2015
We also classified the countries and regions as "Advanced Economies" and "Emerging and Developing Economies" according to definitions created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)(*2).
With some exceptions such as Singapore (which leaned more towards a "Top-driven" style of leadership) and Japan (somewhere in between), most countries classified as "Advanced Economies", tended more towards the "Development" style of leadership. From this result it may be said that in general, for countries with developed economies, "Development" style leadership is more effective than "Top-driven" leadership.
Meanwhile, "Emerging and Developing Economies" were shown to be split, with Brazil, India and Thailand leaning more towards a "Top-driven style of leadership, while China, Indonesia and Russian leaned towards a "Development" style of leadership. From this result, it can be seen that the level of economic maturity of a country alone is not necessarily enough to tell us which leadership style is more effective.
Now let's look at something different called the Hofstede cultural dimensions. Dutch Professor Geert Hofstede conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture. The model of national culture consists of six dimensions. The cultural dimensions represent independent preferences for one state of affairs over another that distinguish countries (rather than individuals) from each other. (*3) We used one of the six dimensions, the Long Term Orientation (LTO) index which examines the temporal orientation of a country. Within this framework, LTO societies place more importance on the future. In the scatterplot below, the "Emerging and Developing Economies" in our survey were plotted in order to visualize the correlations between LTO and "Development" style leadership" (Figure 3) Here, countries that have a higher degree of LTO tends to value more on the future.
"Development" style of leadership: Effectiveness of "Development" style of leadership
Long term orientation: one of Hofstede's cultural dimension
Coaching Research Institute, 2015
A strong correlation (r=0.90) was found between degree of LTO and the "Development" style of leadership, with countries where the "Development" style was more effective having a higher degree of LTO.
As mentioned earlier, the 'Top-driven' style of leadership strongly relies on the leader's strengths. In this style of leadership, there is a risk that the organization may not be able to perform as well if the person occupying the leadership position changes. On the other hand, in a "Development" style of leadership, as the leader delegates authority and each individual is encouraged to take action, the organization's performance can be more easily sustained in the long run.
It goes without saying that a country's values are the amalgamation of the country's history, geography, politics and many other factors. There is no single indicator which can be used to understand everything, but Hofstede's dimension LTO may help us interpret how a country's values can influence what style of leadership is effective in that country. The result here showed that a "Development" style of leadership was more effective in "Advanced Economies", and that this may have had more to do with country values than level of economic maturity.
Survey of Global Values and Perspectives on Leadership and Organizations(2015)
Survey participants: Non-managerial staff between the ages of 25-39
Survey method: Online survey
International Monetary Fund (2015), World Economic Outlook Database