Cultural Mythology and Global Leadership
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Cultural Mythology and Global Leadership

Edited by Eric H. Kessler and Diana J. Wong-MingJi

This ground-breaking book explains how deep-seated cultural mythologies shape contemporary global leaders and provides insights into navigating the dynamics and complexities in today’s era of globalization. The authors use myths to uncover core characteristics and values from 20 different cultural contexts spanning all major regions of the world – the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Asia and the Pacific Rim – that have evolved over generations and continue to shape global leadership models. Commentaries are included from practicing managers and leaders to provide real world insights on the implications of the ideas discussed. International managers and executives, public officials, business consultants and corporate trainers will welcome the insights on cross-cultural leadership styles. The book will also find interest from researchers and students across a broad array of professional and social science disciplines.
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Chapter 1: Cultural Mythology and Global Leadership in the United States

Eric H. Kessler


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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