Leadership in Spaces and Places

Leadership in Spaces and Places

Edited by Arja Ropo, Perttu Salovaara, Erika Sauer and Donatella De Paoli

By combining new research on leadership and workspaces, Leadership in Spaces and Places argues for a radical reconceptualization of leadership. They argue leadership is not only about leaders themselves, but is also affected by the built environment. With contributions from both scholars and practitioners alike, the authors discuss leadership in six different contexts: • workspaces in change • open-office spaces • virtual workspaces • service spaces • cultural spaces • institutional spaces.

Chapter 10: Culture matters: space and leadership in a cross-cultural perspective

Tor Grenness

Subjects: business and management, business leadership, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


There is little doubt that globalization – the integration of markets, capital, nation states and technologies – represents a major paradigm shift that impacts corporations and their managers, and that multinational corporations have to face several new challenges. One is the challenge of developing a (global) corporate culture, a set of values that are understood and acted upon across the subsidiaries around the globe. However, Telenor, a Norwegian multinational, represents a rare case where office design has deliberately been used as a strategic tool in order to transfer the company’s values and leadership philosophy to its Asian subsidiaries. Based on the Telenor case, I have come to two (preliminary) conclusions. First, even though Telenor thinks that implementing its open-space office solutions in a ‘take it or leave it’ style has been quite successful, it is uncertain whether a more ‘soft’ implementation, leaving room for local adaptions, would have been even better. Second, looking at spatial solutions in order to create a more coherent culture across MNCs should definitely be part of the international human resource management (IHRM) toolbox. Today, IHRM is still concerned with traditional activities such as staffing, compensation, performance appraisals and so forth.

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