Organizational Leadership and Globalization

The idea of multiculturalism and globalization faces numerous debates; however, this phenomenon is an important part of democratic citizenship development and nation-building. Nowadays, globalization is an inseparable characteristic of the social development connected with citizenship and leadership, which complements the multiply society. Analyzing the works of various researchers, I would like to find out how globalization impacts leadership and global mindset, place of ethical schools and ethical education within the process of globalization, the role of emotional intelligence and cultural competency in global leadership, and peculiarities of leadership within the modern educational system.

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Definition of globalization, global leadership, and global mindset

The definition of globalization is closely related to the problem of multiculturalism. In the Middle Ages, the word citizen indicated that the person hails from the city. Later, with the development of nation-states, citizens were considered as a part of the particular country. From the beginning, the idea of the United States included the process of integration of the people from different cultural, social, ethnic backgrounds. Therefore, today, the U.S. society is a mix of hundreds of different cultural, ethnic, religious backgrounds. Based on the conception of Milted Pot, the U.S. national identity demonstrates the unique example of multicultural cooperation in order of common success. The tolerance and acceptance of the traditions and creeds of immigrants are the key aspects of this successful integration. I agree with the opinion that multiculturalism should be lauded for forcing to incorporate the cultural needs of all members of the community. For the U.S. society, multiculturalism is the main idea of the national consciousness.

Although globalization unites people, making the whole world one common structure, there are the fairs that large countries can fall victim to their size and cultural diversity of the citizens who identify themselves more like the members of a particular group than the overall nation. The scientists are afraid of the moment when the representatives of different cultural backgrounds start to identify themselves as a part of the separated structure. This process can lead to paralyzing the political development of the country. In this case, multiculturalism can be considered as a step of nationalism within the multiplex American society. The right of self-determination claims to the respect of one’s ethnic traditions over national. The numerous examples of the Basque in Spain, Welsh in Great Britain, and Quebecois in Canada demonstrate the danger of such claims. Obviously, the old determination of citizenship as the geographical belonging to the particular location is not appropriate today within the multicultural character of the society. It is difficult for the country to keep its identity without a common set of values and language between its citizens. The representatives of different communities have to negotiate with one another in order to come up with the most appropriate for both sides solution. There should be involved dialogue and socialization among the groups.

Today, liberalism is a common idea of the global culture. Those who do not consider multiculturalism as the basement of the global cultural process face numerous problems of cultural interaction. As we live in a complex society, it is highly important to be ready to accept and respect all the cultural issues that are peculiar to the citizens of the United States. All citizens have the same rights and responsibilities. Although every resident of a particular ethnic background should keep one’s own cultural characteristics such as traditions, language, religion, and moral principles, one also should respect the common laws of the country and rules of the joint living within the society. The democratic system that requires people to be united for the common good also allows them to keep the ethnic traditions. Thereby, multiculturalism can be a democratic policy that helps people diversify the society while living together according to the common rules. As multicultural issues respond to every cultural characteristic, every citizen has the right to keep one’s linguistic, educational, and social components.

The opponents of the multicultural approach say that this kind of argument has a problematic basement. The preservation of cultural issues is a complicated process that can lead to a number of problems within the national development. As the result of such interaction and influence of one culture to another, the society can face a cultural hybridism. However, I think that in the modern complex society, it is important to provide the mechanism of regulation the multicultural problems. This process should not be considered as the negotiations. People should be involved in one common and legal system of incorporation. There should not be a strict way with the use of power. I believe that every problem can be solved by constructive dialogue. In case of misunderstandings, the representatives of the different backgrounds should format a committee that could provide a deliberate solution. Multiculturalism as an inseparable characteristic of modern social development requires an argumentative and balanced policy of cooperation of all ethnic groups in order to keep the country’s integrity. Common success is impossible without a comprehensive contribution and the development of tolerance and compromise. It is the fundamental issue of remaining the constant nation.

Individuals become hardwired to that which they are accustomed. When we globalize, we begin to re-wire and create bridges between the hardwired and create even stronger alliances and avenues to conduct our lives. Leaders and leadership fall into this same scenario of globalization. Global leadership will be more successful if they engage in a more collectivist culture, for instance, “cultures where people pay special attention to their relationship with others” (Moodian, 2009, p. 11). Those leaders who operate from an individualistic framework, for instance, “paying attention to themselves without paying much attention to others,” may end up toxic (Moodian, 2009 p. 11).

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Global leadership takes the leader and their mindset and wraps them in a cloak of multiculturalism. Mendenhall et al. would say that a global leader takes “intercultural communication competence, […] appropriateness, […] and the ability to see things through the eyes and mind of others, (perspective)” (Mendenhall, 2008) and blends them together, much like the conductor of an orchestra performs. According to Mendenhall et al., descriptors of the global leader may include the articulation of vision, a catalyst for both strategic and cultural change, the ability to empower, and a focus on results and customers (2008).

Global leadership includes cultural diversity and perspectives. One of the most important keys of leadership is the ability to concentrate on the most valuable part of the task, to do it right, and to complete the job according to the current needs of the company, community, country, etc. In some situations, it can be complicated to choose the main part among all the components. The worst waste of time is doing something good and understanding that one did not have to do it at all. For instance, one may understand that an exact strategy used by the company is absolutely inappropriate for the concrete country due to the peculiarities of its cultural background. It is obvious that multinationals today should be based on the national culture of the country the companies do business in. The influence of the national mentality, traditions, and culture can help develop the multinationals, opening more space for increase. Providing the business strategy that included international aspects, every corporation should take into consideration several aspects of planning business in a foreign country. One of the absolute necessities for successful business development nowadays is the identification of cultural differences. One can notice that all companies provide a policy of consideration of the cultural aspect that includes, for instance, a casual attitude toward work and widespread bribery. An adaptation of the corporative culture of the international company to the national traditions of the foreign country is necessary for business development. However, it is also important for a company to be based on its own culture. It is obvious that an international company today must be based on the national culture of the country the company does business in. The influence of the national mentality can help in developing a company.

As far as global mindset is concerned, as indicated by Javidan in his article Conceptualizing and measuring cultures and their consequences, I would concur with Hofstede that “if you want to find out about the quality of a product, do you ask the producer or the consumers?” (Javidan et al., p. 884). The author’s response is that “you actually need to ask both the consumers and the producers to know about the quality of the product; each side provides a different but important perspective” (Javidan et al., p. 884). Consequently, the global mindset is a combination of both the consumer and producer sides of an individual working to be influential within the context of the environments and cultures at work.

Given my limited knowledge on globalization thus far, I would say that globalization, in general, is an influence on an environment to impact the output in that environment. In my sphere of influence, which is higher education, specifically 21+ years in the Mercy College system (Sisters of mercy – colleges and universities), globalization, global leadership, and a global mindset are all part and parcel to the mission of the Sisters, the mission of the college and ultimately it is hoped, the mission of the community and constituencies in which the college resides (Sisters of mercy). The spiritual works of mercy are: instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish the sinner, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offenses willingly, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead. The corporal works of mercy are: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead. Although globalization changes the face of society, the basic human rules should be considered as the major principles of social life, and humanity is the most significant among them.

Ethical schools/ethics in education – care, justice, and critique

Analyzing the work of Gopinath (2008), I found that the author claims that lack of money is not the main reason for the political conflicts and the problem of economic development. Issues that contribute to the poor care, lack of education, and welfare of people are the basic problems that lead to economic, political, and social conflicts in general. The author says that “if all it took was money to sustain a country where political conflicts and economic development were not of concern, then worldwide issues such as hunger, medical care, and educational development would not be an issue” (Gopinath, 2008). I agree that if wealth was shared among all countries that have a critical economic and health situation, globalized poverty would be overcome. From my point of view, people are the most valuable resource of every country. Society should be based on human rights and freedom where every child can get an adequate education, and every member of this society should be able to get appropriate medical care. Gopinath states on the opinion that the cycle begins where wealthy populations spend more on education and health, which in turn will create a developing populace that is productive and has more discretionary income (2008). The author says that “therein lies the challenge of managing an economy and allocating its resources to further development” (Gopinath, 2008, p. 94). And this challenge begins and ends with the ethical leadership of the country, the provenances, the educators, spiritual leaders, and all those in between. This processor’s lack of a progression is one which I am attracted to exploring further with aspirations to bring a presentation to the ILA conference. Given that our affinity group is quite diverse where geographic location and diverse experiences are concerned, the idea that would be best brought to the forefront for this presentation would be that of the “best interest of the student”. Taking into consideration the position of Gopinath, I agree that leaders must work to extend cycles that include the rule of law, the protection of private property, social insurance, and safety nets for the impoverished, education, and a process for conflict management.

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Stefkovich and O’Brien (2004) discuss what they have determined are the five paradigms for ethical decision-making. In considering an ILA presentation, these five paradigms would serve our group well where unpacking them and applying them to global higher education leadership is concerned. These five paradigms are:

  1. Ethic of justice – the rules of law, fairness, equity, and justice for individuals and society.
  2. Ethics of Care – where one has compassion and empathy in relationships and can make connections with the decision-making process rather than the techniques and rules.
  3. Critique – when an individual is willing to challenge the norm and give voice to the marginalized sectors of society.
  4. Ethics of the profession – where the leaders’ professional and personal ethical principles and codes are aligned for the best interest of the students.
  5. Community – is the context for paradigms one through four. I call this the moral compass of countries’ educational goals.

According to the authors, the best interest of the student must go hand in hand with the moral compass (Stefkovich and O’Brien, 2004). In fact, the best interest of the student could be metaphorically viewed as the dial on the compass. This dial or best is determined for the student by leadership navigating the five paradigms.

Role of emotional intelligence and cultural competency in global leadership

The behavioral leadership intelligence spectrum includes emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence, social intelligence, etc. To some extent, all of the spectrum indicators included would have a modicum of similarities. There are two significant variables that could be listed on this spectrum, and they are emotional intelligence and cultural competency. In this part of the present paper, I would like to analyze how CC and EI wax and wane between unity and disconnectedness where global leadership is concerned.

Triandis indicates that “as Earley and Ang (2003) pointed out, cultural intelligence requires cognitive, affective, and behavioral training” (p. 23). According to Alon and Higgins, “emotional intelligence is crucial to success in both work and life in general; it is a part of the biological, evolutionary importance of emotions in human beings” (2005, p. 504). Leaders and leadership stem from a composite mixture of education, experience, training, knowledge, traits, upbringing, serendipitous situations, and variables that make up this leadership sum of parts. In the case of leadership, cultural intelligence is a reaction and expectation. To be culturally competent is to be adaptable where cultural intelligence is concerned. Triandis says about the value and necessity of personal pieces of training in order to become culturally intelligent. Alon and Higgins argue that global leaders need both sets of competencies to be effective. I agree with this statement but argue that it is unrealistic. Culture is personal and identifiable with that which makes groups unique and different. Tribes, colonies, city-states, settlements, etc., have thrived and grown based on cultural norms. Alon and Higgins provide the information that “in a 1991 Los Angeles Times report, Emmons (1991) found that, when a group of U.S. citizens was asked to identify six basic emotions using pictures of other U.S. citizens’ facial expressions, there was a range of agreement from 86% to 96%” (2005, p. 505). At the same period, in Japan, citizens registered emotional surprise, with 97% in agreement (Alon & Higgins, 2005, p. 505).

Fink, Neyer, and Kölling consider cultural standards as more specific ones that require specific knowledge about cultural differences. Differences in cultural standards between two cultures are not necessarily the consequence of differences in a single cultural dimension (i.e., values). It can be safely assumed that contexts, choices, and decisions made within a society by groups or organizations and interactions among sets of values or combinations of values can influence the emergence of specific cultural standards (Fink, Neyer, & Kölling, 2006, p. 42). Earley and Peterson also agree that “social and emotional intelligence are meaningful within a given cultural context, but they do not necessarily apply in new cultural settings” (2004).

Cultural competency as a component of leadership development is an avenue that can enhance a leader’s aptitude to navigate a behavioral leadership spectrum where global and intercultural relationships are concerned. This begins at the training or education level, so the development of and enhancement of aptitudes, skills, ethics, virtues, and experiential learning must take place. Future leaders will come from new and exciting backgrounds, some of which will be first-generation leaders. To that end, these leaders will bring a global perspective and cultural expectations the likes of which traditional western leaders have never seen. Preparation and commitment to a global leadership perspective that embraces cultural standards, differences, and impartiality among communities is a must. According to Mooradian, “at the present time, there is a greater need for effective international and cross-cultural communication, collaboration and cooperation, not only for effective practice of management but also for the betterment of the human condition” (2009, p. 116).

In my opinion, both emotional intelligence and global competency are vital. The net growth of emotional capital that a leader can accrue through best practices of global competence and ethical standards and values is invaluable in an environment where economic challenges and governmental leadership upheaval are the norms.

Peculiarities of leadership within the modern educational system

As a small private catholic university, the global reach of Mercyhurst is dissimilar to that global corporation. The global reach of the leadership of Mercyhurst may be attributed to the mission and vision of the college. For instance, the following part of the mission statement “enables them to realize the human and spiritual values embedded in everyday realities and to exercise leadership in service toward a just world” (Mercyhurst college mission), along with a core value of global responsibility, lends me to believe that my organization is indeed striving to not only represent Mercyhurst University to the global marketplace but also is capable and currently engaged in teaching scholars to act and communicate on a global scale as well as function and interact on a global level.

According to Knight, “the integration of communication components in so many parts of the curriculum, the reference to communication and leadership skills in mission statements, and the emphasis on communication in entry standards suggest that these programs recognize the importance of management communication skills to succeed in the global economy” (2005). Taking into consideration this statement, I conducted an online search of the college course catalog where communication courses and global communication courses were concerned. I found that one course was specifically concerned with global communication, and a plethora of courses and course content focused on organizational communication.

The leadership of the college strives to reach out to the global market to draw students from a cross-section of the global higher education marketplace. Besides, the university meets its mission by being prudent in developing courses that pay attention to the international perspective so that future graduates are equipped to interact and work in a global society. Ulijn et al. claim that “a global economy requires business organizations to cultivate their international holdings by respecting the national differences of their host countries and coordinating efforts for rapid innovation” (2000). Therefore, an institution of higher learning must cultivate its international student body and create a special environment on campus, using Ulijn’s methods.

In my opinion, Mercyhurst University demonstrates tremendous growth and development. A large portion of this improvement has come in the form of curriculums geared to the global market, such as Intelligence Studies, as well as a more globally focused Communications Department. At the same time, I believe that most programs of study embrace a global perspective within the courses. Incensement and improvement of external communications with partners and customers are highly important for every company. Ulijn et al. say that “their interrelationships of innovation, culture, globalization, strategy and communication are unmistakable and become more visible with time” (2000). Analysis of those works helped me to comprehend that both industry and higher education follow a similar path. Just as business and industry change and adapt, so too does higher education. This pattern can be seen where global communication is concerned. The redevelopment of internal and external communication methods on a global level is just as vital to the growth and development of a college or university as it is to business and industry. Analyzing the article on social responsibility of Dawkins and Ngunjiri (2008), I can tie their review of corporate social responsibility reporting (CSRR) of companies – environment, human relations, community, human rights, and diversity dimensions to the strategic plans of Mercyhurst as an example of global communication methods back to the higher education social responsibility reporting. The authors indicate that “CSRR can play a number of roles as part of the corporate communication strategy: (a) inform stakeholders about the intentions of the company to enhance its social performance, (b) attempt to influence stakeholders’ perceptions about certain events, (c) direct attention away from negative events by emphasizing positive actions, and (d) try to influence stakeholders’ expectations about corporate behavior (Dawkins & Ngunjiri, 2008, p. 3).

Additionally, analyzing the article of Connor and Marquardt, I found that global leaders need to have a sense of personal influence. Besides, they should have a global perspective and a strong character, and an ability to motivate people and should, in most cases, be capable of entrepreneurship (Conner & Marquardt, 1999). These characteristics and capabilities are of importance to leadership across sectors of society like business, industry, education, and non-profits. These capabilities should have a central core centered on the ability to communicate well. Therefore I would conclude that the methods presented in the articles are all valid communication tools and can be applied across sectors and applicable for global entrepreneurship and global development as well as global education.

Reference List

  1. Alon, I., & Higgins, J. M. (2005). Global leadership success through emotional and cultural intelligences. Business Horizons, 48 (6), 501-512. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2005.04.003
  2. Conner, J., & Marquardt, M. J. (1999). Developing leaders for a global consumer products company. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 1 (4), 22-37. doi:10.1177/152342239900100404
  3. Dawkins, C., & Ngunjiri, F. W. (2008). Corporate social responsibility reporting in south africa. Journal of Business Communication, 45 (3), 286-307. doi:10.1177/0021943608317111
  4. Earley, P. C., & Peterson, R. S. (2004). The elusive cultural chameleon: Cultural intelligence as a new approach to intercultural training for the global manager. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 3, 100-115.
  5. Fink, G., Neyer, A., & Kölling, M. (2006). Understanding cross-cultural management interaction. International Studies of Management & Organization, 36 (4), 38-60.
  6. Gopinath, C. (2008). Globalization: A multidimensional system. London: SAGE.
  7. Javidan, M., House, R.J., Dorfman, P.W., Hanges, P.J. & de Luque, M.S. Conceptualizing and measuring cultures and their consequences: A comparative review of GLOBE’s and Hofstede’s approaches.
  8. Knight, M. (2005). Management communication in non-U.S: MBA programs. Business Communication Quarterly, 68 (2), 139-179. doi:10.1177/1080569905277130
  9. Mendenhall, M. E. (2008). Global leadership: Research, practice, and development. London; New York: Routledge.
  10. Moodian, M. A. (2009). Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence: Exploring the cross-cultural dynamics within organizations. Los Angeles: SAGE.
  11. Sisters of mercy. (n.d.). Colleges and universities. Web
  12. Stefkovich, J.A. & O’Brien, G.M. (2004). Best interests of the student: An ethical model. Journal of Educational Administration, 42(2), pp. 197-214.
  13. Triandis, H. C. Cultural intelligence in organizations. 
  14. Ulijn, J., O’Hair, D., Weggeman, M., Ledlow, G., & Hall, H. T. (2000). Innovation, corporate strategy, and cul tural context: What is the mission for international business communication? Journal of Business Communication, 37 (3), 293-316. doi:10.1177/002194360003700305
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