Table of Contents

Authentic Leadership

Authentic Leadership

Clashes, Convergences and Coalescences

New Horizons in Leadership Studies series

Edited by Donna Ladkin and Chellie Spiller

The majority of authentic leadership literature focuses on the individual leader. However, the authors in this volume expertly focus on the premise that leadership is a relational phenomenon and not something that can be distilled down to the actions of one leader, be they authentic or not.

Chapter 20: Cameo: the challenge for authentic leadership in multi-cultural settings

Lake Wang and Kim Turnbull James

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership


Authentic leadership proposes that leaders need to embrace the importance of ‘being true to the self’ (Avolio and Gardner 2005; Gardner et al. 2005). This can be problematic when leaders operate in multi-national, multi-cultural contexts, in which ideas about what constitutes good leadership can have significant variation. In this study, originally con- ducted to investigate the low rate of promotions of Chinese managers within multi-national corporations (MNCs), it is revealed that the differences in implicit views of ‘leadership’ between senior global expatriate leaders and local leaders can negatively impact the chances of Chinese managers’ career advancement. If Chinese managers are indeed ‘true to themselves’, they do not match the understanding of what constitutes ‘leadership’ within Western-based MNC companies. Using repertory grid tests, the study explored the leadership constructs of 31 senior global leaders working in six MNCs in China. Their constructs were compared with those of 59 Chinese managers in the same organizations. Half of these Chinese managers were evaluated by their organizations as having high potential for promotion and the others as having less apparent potential for promotion. The data were then analysed to identify important and commonly used leadership constructs identified from senior global leaders and then to compare these with the Chinese managers’ leadership constructs. The constructs in each of these groups were then compared with the leadership frameworks used by these MNCs. There were important differences: half the important and commonly used constructs of leadership recognized by the senior global leaders were not identified as important or commonly used by the Chinese managers.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information