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Culture And Defining The Role Of Leadership

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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.

Low Context situation is easier to enter for an outsider because one usually has a joint

task to accomplish such as our Learning Teams or large firms. One can form relationships fairly

soon in this situation.


What is Organizational Culture?

Culture is the personality of an organization. It is comprised of the assumptions, values,

norms and tangible artifacts of an organization's members and their behaviors. Culture is

customs and rights.

Culture is the traditions and standards, habits of thinking, acting paradigms.

Members share their knowledge for socialization and their meanings for life. Organizational

Culture is the accumulated shared learning from shared history. It's implications are Structural

Stability and Patterning and Integration. Once Culture exists it determines the criteria of


Great Leaders Create a Healthy Organizational Culture

Cultural beginnings and the Impact of Founders as Leaders spring from three resources:

1. Beliefs, values, and assumptions of Leaders (Founders)

2. Learning experiences of group members

3. New beliefs, values and assumptions brought by new members

A vision is necessary for effective leadership. The impact of the Leader



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