A cross-cultural study of leadership and organizational factors predicting well-being : China and Sweden

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A cross-cultural study of leadership and organizational factors predicting well-being : China and Sweden

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Publication Other
Title A cross-cultural study of leadership and organizational factors predicting well-being : China and Sweden
Author(s) Muhonen, Tuija ; Jönsson, Sandra
Date 2012
Editor(s) Jain, A.; Hollis, D.; Andreou, N.; Wehrle, F.
English abstract
The growing trend towards globalization has initiated a need for organizations and managers to understand how leadership style and organizational factors are related to employee well-being in different cultural contexts (Lok, 2004). The interest for cross-cultural organizational and managerial studies is therefore increasing among practicing managers as well as organizational researchers. Contrasting views can be discerned when it comes to what extent national cultures influence leadership style and co-worker expectations concerning leadership. Some researchers state that there is a universal leadership style that is efficient irrespective of the situation (Arvonen, 1999), whereas others maintain that effective leadership is culturally contingent (Hofstede, 1980; 2001). According to a recent review (Dickson, 2003) there is a decline in the search for simple universality, i.e. that the phenomenon is invariable all over the world, in favour of more culturally contingent view. Considering that earlier research has shown great differences in cultural values between China and Sweden (Hofstede, 2001; House, 2004) the aim of the present study was to examine which leadership styles (employee-centered, Ekvall & Arvonen, 1991; empowering and supporting leadership, Dallner et al., 2000) and organizational factors (goal clarity, Oxenstierna, Widmark et al., 2008; group work, social climate and control, QPSNordic, Dallner et al., 2000) act as predictors for well-being (GHQ-12, Goldberg, 1972) among employees and managers in a large global furniture retail company in China and in Sweden when background variables (age, gender, educational level and position) were controlled for. Questionnaires were distributed in two furniture retail stores in Sweden and altogether 282 individuals participated in the study. The same questionnaire study was also conducted in two stores belonging to the same company in China (n=595). A number of outliers were identified while analyzing the data and these were excluded from the analysis. The final sample consisted of 483 participants from the Chinese stores and 254 participants from the Swedish stores. The results of the multiple regression analyses revealed that managerial position, supporting leadership style and goal clarity were related to well-being in the Swedish sample. The results for the Chinese sample showed that managerial position, goal clarity and social climate were related to well-being, whereas none of the leadership styles acted as predictors for well-being. The findings suggest that the role of culture regarding leadership in global organizations is multifaceted rather than either universal or contingent.
Publisher European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology (EAOHP)
Host/Issue Book of proceedings : 10th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology;
ISBN 978-0-9554365-9-8
Pages 192-93
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note 10th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology, ETH Zürich, 11-13 April, 2012.
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/14638 (link to this page)
Link http://www.eaohp.org/uploads/1/1/0/2/11022736/eaohp2012_book_of_proceedings_2012.pdf (external link to related web page)

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