Chapter 1: Cultural Mythology and Global Leadership in the United States
Eric H. Kessler INTRODUCTION Imagine that your organization is interviewing several well-known leadership gurus with the hope of improving business performance. Person A speaks about how to utilize cutting-edge technology to produce results. Person B wants you to leverage your competencies in a more effective and socially responsible manner. Person C emphasizes the challenges and opportunities of diversity, recounting how a capable woman can make good in a world dominated by men. Person D talks about boundary management and emphasizes how an outsider can adapt and contribute to an organizational culture. Team E focuses on uniting young diverse talent into an empowered work group. Sound like typical CEO talking points? Or a management consulting firm’s pitch? Perhaps derivative of a standard MBA curriculum? Leadership guru A is Batman, his show on cable television, using his fancy gadgets to battle the evil Riddler and Two-Face. Leadership guru B is Spiderman, his blockbuster movie at the local cinema, who strives to find his core identity. Leadership guru C is Wonder Woman, her comic book at the local bookstore, trying to balance personal and professional callings. Leadership guru D is Superman, his action figure sold on the Internet, dedicated to fighting for individual freedom and justice in his new home. Leadership gurus E are the X-men, their like-named candy products at the corner drug store, seeking to manage diverse talents and personalities toward a common goal. The central premise of this chapter is that United States leadership style, if such a heterogeneous culture...
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