Culture and Defining The Role Of Leadership
I believe a person can be taught to lead and manage but one can't be taught how to
effectively and successfully lead and manage. I don't believe the corporate culture of the
organization has to with it. I think leading and managing has to do with the individual person.
How that person is motivated, how that person sees him/herself. Can he/she lead
effectively or is managing the nitch that they have.
A Leader will effectively orchestrate change, create a vision, inspire people to follow the
vision and keep people focused towards an ideal future.
What is Culture?
I first want you to understand what culture is because to understand culture is to
understand the organization. According to Anthropologist James Sparely, culture is "the
acquired knowledge people use to interpret experience and generate behavior".
Culture can be interpreted in many ways such as national/ethnic culture, secondary or subgroup
culture, culture in the anthropological sense and the capital C culture.
The national/ ethnic culture is described as how one was raised as a child such as African
American culture or Chinese culture. This interpretation is a very narrow view because it is a
norm and it also raises challenges in our virtual team communication.
Secondary or sub-group culture is described as our social groups such as women's group
or golf group. Culture in the anthropological sense refers to behaviors one shares over time and
the capital C culture refers to the performing arts.
Individuals from different cultures vary in terms of their behaviors and communication
styles (Gudykunst, 1997). Edward Halls theory (1976) is that in order to understand the
communication and behavior of other cultures one must understand the context in which they
occur. These terms are referred to as High Context and Low Context.
High context refers to societies or organizations where people have close connections
over a long period of time. Many aspects of cultural behavior are not readily know because most
members know what to do and what to think from years of interaction with each other. Your
family is probably an example of a high context environment.
A High context situation can be difficult to enter because one has not been a part of that
society and does not have the internal knowledge to understand that group.
The High context group will likely have non-verbal language. An outsider will feel like
he does not belong because he won't understand that type of environment.
Low context refers to societies where people tend to have many connections but of
shorter duration or a special purpose. In these societies or organizations, cultural behavior and
beliefs may need to be spelled out simply so that those coming into the cultural environment
know how to behave.