Global leaders need to understand the motivational forces of social relationships. However, expectations of social relationships vary greatly around the world. In this chapter, we draw on relational models theory to explain how relationships are construed differently in different cultures. We describe how four different relational models (Communal Sharing, Authority Ranking, Equality Matching, Market Pricing) entail different social motives which, in turn, induce different moral imperatives. We then discuss what happens when individuals in a work relationship apply the same or different relational models to their relationship. We suggest that congruence is motivating and incongruence demotivating when the moral imperative associated with a relational model is important to a follower. However, if the moral imperative is unimportant to the follower, congruence will lead to functional behavior of the follower and incongruence will lead to dysfunctional behavior. As a guide for global leaders, we created the Relational Models Leadership Grid. The grid builds on relational model congruence or incongruence between leader and follower on the one hand, and on the importance of the moral imperative associated with the follower’s relational model to the follower on the other. In combining these two dimensions, we describe four types of follower reactions when leaders and followers apply similar or different social relationship models: the Productive Follower, the Thwarted Follower, the Acquiescent Follower and the Dodging Follower. The chapter closes with implications of our analysis for global leadership and ideas for research, teaching, and practice.
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