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Diversity In Western Vs Eastern Transformational Leadership

1617 words - 6 pages

B.M. Bass developed a study in 1985 on leadership in the western world which focused on western leaders and how they influenced their subordinates. What he found was that leaders across organizations shared similar attributes. He referred to this style as “transformational leadership”. Through this style, leaders “inspire followers to transcend self-interest for the good of the organization and can have an extraordinary effect on their followers” (Robbins & Judges, 2012:188). Bass discovered that cultures that used this leadership style placed importance on the development of individual’s work performance within organizations. Using his research, Bass was able to organize the behaviors of what he deemed transformational leadership into four categories: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual consideration, and intellectual stimulation. Each category is a different form of influence that the leaders have over their followers which allow them to affect diverse groups of people. Since the theory was based on a study of western leaders, the transformational leadership theory can be viewed as bias in a western context. In other words, this style of leadership may be more effective in western organizations than eastern organizations due to the differing cultural values. However, there are examples of transformational leaders in each culture.
Martin Luther King Jr. is one example of transformational leadership in the west. In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood in front of a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people where he delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. He touched the crowd with his passion and charisma, which created a vision for those people to strive towards. That vision he created is an example of idealized influence, where the leader provides a vision for his or her followers (Sayeed & Shanker, 2009). Dr. King was an integral part – a symbol even - of the Civil Rights movement and the effort to end segregation between blacks and whites in the United States. Dr. King became an inspirational motivation for those around him by using new techniques to solve old problems.
Dr. King instilled pride and gained the trust of his fellow African-Americans. His message was to use non-violent acts to reach equality between whites and blacks in United States(Lawson, 1987). Additionally, M.L.K. Jr. had the ability to influence whites too. He reached out to individuals with power such as Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy to share his infamous dream. Dr. King looked for those with power to help gain political awareness. By intellectual stimulation and individual consideration he was able to convince these men to believe in his ideas.
Dr. King’s valued non-violent protests, this idea came from his own religious and educational background(Lawson). His affect on religious groups was much different than those of blacks or whites because he used an idealized influence on the group but also promoted intelligence over...

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