The expansion of the international marketplace along with globalization has contributed to corporations having greater access to foreign markets and foreign resources (Pieterse, 2008). Corporate leaders competing in the global marketplace are in a continual search for new global opportunities as they expand their operations to improve their corporate stance (Pieterse, 2008; Sidhu, Commandeur, & Volberda, 2007). The entry of corporations into the global marketplace is not a guarantee of success and globalization does bring some risks (Dimov & Holan, 2010; Peter & Donelly, 2006).
A major challenge to global organizations is to create a leadership culture that will effectively mobilize global teams from different backgrounds, countries, and cultures (Javidan, Dorfman, de Luque, & House, 2006). The number of corporations that have global and multicultural teams is increasing every year. A trend in transnational corporations is the dependence on effective global and multicultural teams as a strategy to gain competitive advantage (Friedman, 2006). Global and multicultural teams benefit corporations because they offer a unique perspective as to the needs of customers and a better perspective of doing business in their societal culture. Despite the important roles that global and multicultural teams play in today’s corporations, little research exists in helping leaders to be successful in leading such teams (Javidan et al., 2006).
Leaders still struggle with determining the most effective way to lead global and multicultural teams and are thereby faced with numerous challenges, new responsibilities, and issues (Friedman, 2006). Maintaining a productive, innovative, competitive, and cohesive workforce requires strong, capable leaders and changes in job design (Lyons, 2008; Macik-Frey, Quick, & Cooper, 2007; Yitzhak, Lachel, Hadani, & Levi, 2007).
The managing of global multicultural teams is not a new phenomenon for leaders of global corporations, yet many corporations face challenges within team structures (Gwynne, 2009). Some of these challenges are associated with bridging the gap between culture and language that can lead to disruption within teams (Mercer, Bing, & Laroche, 2002). The leaders of global multicultural teams are challenged to effectively manage these teams for organizational success.
For global corporations, having leaders with good leadership skills is not sufficient. Leaders need a broader range of skills that demonstrate their competence for managing a globally diverse workforce (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004). When developing an effective leadership style for global multicultural teams, leaders need to consider other challenges that can inhibit their ability to be successful. Leader who exhibit effective leadership behaviors in leading their global teams can benefit their corporations on a global scale (Grundy & Ginger, 1998).
Corporations competing in the global marketplace can benefit from understanding the contributing factors that can promote productivity, innovation, and cohesion. Global teams that are effectively managed can help corporate leaders to increase productivity, expand their operations, increase their resource utilization and realize greater economies of scales (Mercer et al., 2002). Leaders can benefit from understanding the optimal leadership styles that can promote productivity, cohesion and innovation and will more likely build trust and confidence among the members of their groups. Research has shown that it is an asset to the workforce when leaders build trust and confidence in their teams, as such trust can lead to employees’ job satisfaction, productivity, and employee (Wallace & Trinka, 2009). Although there has been research conducted on leadership styles and team effectiveness, the available literature has demonstrated little connection between the leadership styles that are most effective among teams comprised of members of various cultures (Javidan et al., 2006).
Global and multicultural teams require a special or distinct leadership styles (House et al., 2004). Some leaders of global corporations fail in their attempts to manage multicultural teams effectively due to an insufficient understanding of the various cultures of their global teams and the drivers of employee satisfaction (House et al., 2004). Culture is important because it influences the values, beliefs, and everyday tasks of individuals (Williamson, 2007). Multicultural teams can offer corporations the ability to be productive, innovative and cohesive. When corporations promote innovation and creativity among employees, employees are more empowered to be involved in the decision-making process (Spreitzer, 2007).
Cultural differences play a significant role among global multicultural teams, as they can be a barrier to effective leadership (House et al., 2004). When managing multicultural teams, leaders need to understand the role societal culture plays in the dynamics of multicultural teams and how the cultural makeup of individual team members are influenced by various leadership styles (Wunderle, 2007).
The trend toward continual globalization will accelerate as new markets open in other parts of the world (Bishop, Reinke, & Adams, 2009). Corporations engaging in international trade will continue to have a need for incorporate global and multicultural teams in their enterprises (House et al., 2004) to be competitive and meet the needs of the expanded marketplace. For leaders to be successful in leading their global and multicultural teams, a better understanding of the cultures and motivational factors of those teams is needed (Javidan et al., 2006), as well as a command of the leadership factors related to improving productivity, cohesion and innovation.
Leadership is an integral element in the success of most organizations (Yukl, 2006). Transnational and domestic corporate leaders face the unique challenge of having to lead teams made up of various societal cultures. Managing and directing teams that consist of members of different cultures can be a challenge for leaders (House et al., 2004). Leaders of corporations benefit from knowing how they can best motivate their global and multicultural teams to promote productivity, innovation and cohesion.
The increase in globalization is expected to accelerate as more corporations enter the global arena. The acceleration of globalization means that leaders will continue to have a need to interact with global multicultural teams. For leaders, understanding the unique balance between the societal culture of their teams and the leadership styles and behaviors that motivate these types of teams may be critical for organizational success.
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Dr. Lisa Elizabeth Small Global Leadership Consultant /ResearcherSmallle1@yahoo.com EXECUTIVE BIOGRAPHY Leadership is a key foundation to any corporation. The advent of globalization has ushered the need for leaders to be business savvy and effective at leading global and multicultural teams. It is this phenomenon of global leadership that Dr. Lisa Elizabeth Small has devoted the past three years of research to uncovering the leadership behaviors that promote that promotes productivity, innovativeness and cohesiveness among global and multicultural teams. Some of Dr Small’s research was published in her dissertation which was an ethnographic study that studied four major transnational corporations. Her dissertation is entitled “An Ethnographic Study: The Impact of Leadership Styles on the Effectiveness of Global and Multi-Cultural teams.” She has publish articles on global leadership and she is currently authoring a book with her husband entitled “The Global Leader” which is based on her research, experience and background in working with different cultures which has given her a unique understanding along with an innate ability to understand the contributing factors that are needed to create successful global teams. Dr Small has many years of experience working with global and multicultural teams and has worked with global team throughout her career. In addition, she has lived and worked Trinidad and Tobago and United States, thus giving her a keen understanding of different cultures. Dr. Small obtained a BA degree in information technology at the University of Houston in 1998. She later earned an MBA at University of Houston Victoria in 2001. She later earned a Doctor of Business Administration in 2011 at the University of Phoenix where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Dr Small has worked in the energy in oil and gas for over 13 years. In her roles she has lead efforts in information technology and information risk management and she has worked as a project manager. She has managed numerous high dollars IT projects for domestic and international deployment. She has worked as a corporate trainer in software technology and provided her expertise in information protection compliance, intellectual property and export compliance, project risks. Much of her compliance work was significant in aiding her corporation to secure data, meet export and trade compliance requirements and protect intellectual property rights. Dr Small is very committed to engaging in community activities and often support many causes around Houston including, Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation, NAACCP , the Diabetes foundation. She also supports her Alma Mater the University of Houston by hosting dinners at her home for the University of Houston Urban Development Program and the University of Houston Forensic Society. She is University of Houston Host family where she provides family support for international students attending the University of Houston.