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Title: Executive leadership in China : an investigation into the leadership styles of Chinese executives working for American ventures in mainland China
Author: Shen, X.
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2010
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Leadership and culture are complex fields. Some researchers assert that the transactional-transformational leadership paradigm is universally effective across cultures; whereas, some argue that specific culture traditions and norms, interaction between leaders and followers, as well as core value and belief systems are bound to differentiate leadership styles. It is realized that all these suggestions are subject to challenges and criticism. Adopting a realist philosophy and a case study strategy, this study embodies both qualitative and quantitative perspectives though the quantitative material has been used as an adjunct to the case study interviews rather than as a representative and random survey. Materials have been obtained from sixty five Chinese and American executive level managers within medium to large sized wholly American-owned companies of electronics industry in mainland China. This study argues that leadership seems to be oversimplified in Bass’ two-factor theory since there are a number of flaws that exist within the literature. The case analysis indicates that the leadership styles of Chinese and American executives can be both transformational and transactional. However, the findings suggest that American executives generally exhibited obvious transformational leadership, but also transactional contingent reward; conversely, Chinese executives displayed modest transformational leadership and more transactional management-by-exception (active). Leadership styles and effectiveness are perceived by both Chinese and Americans to be rather situational. Divergent or contradictory underlying assumptions about people and organizations between cultures consequently lead to misinterpretation and incomprehension of transactional and transformational leadership between Chinese and American leaders. This study has also shown that the transactional-transformational leadership theory is, generally applicable, but is inadequate to explain all the differences and similarities between Chinese and American executives. This is the first study to discover micro and perceptual leadership styles of Chinese leaders and macro and rational leadership styles of American leaders. The identification of Chinese-American leadership differences and similarities and special cases provide insights for understanding the dynamic process of leadership. The findings additionally suggest that the probable causes become more complex when the cultural causes are overlaid by a number of situational causes leading to leadership differences, but not previously given much attention in the literature. Nevertheless, due to the influences of corporate culture and American (or Western) management theories, the probability of leadership convergence has been highlighted. Lastly, this thesis proposes a dynamic Yin Yang model of admired leadership styles for convergence and adjustment of leadership styles based upon situation, context and time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available