A Cultural Perspective
Chapter 9: Cultural variations and leadership
Recent reports suggest that Vladimir Putin, the former president of the Russian Federation and now the prime minister, has continued to maintain high levels of popularity (70 percent) even in the face of recent terrorist attacks in Moscow (July 2010). North Americans and Western Europeans do not quite understand why Putin, who is quite authoritarian in his policies and in his administration of the Russian Federation, remains popular (Pew Research Center, 2007). In a parallel vein, presidential election campaigns in the US are quite heavily influenced by the religious beliefs and values of the candidates; religion does not play a major role in either Western or Eastern Europe. Whether a candidate is married or supports gay marriage is not considered as relevant in running for the presidency of France, Spain, or the Netherlands as it is in the US. In the US, presidential candidates who support gay marriage in an explicit fashion would have little chance of being elected. In each of these cases, cultural differences among societies, and in particular how individuals construe images and prototypes of leaders, are strongly reflected in which issues leaders choose to emphasize.
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