Literature Review on Global Leadership

Published: 2023-01-06
Literature Review on Global Leadership
Type of paper:  Literature review
Categories:  Communication Sociology Other
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1784 words
15 min read

The current world is becoming globalized because of the modern business environment. Several companies are no longer restricted to particular countries but are instead spread all over the globe (Atiku, 2019). However, the management of these organizations in various countries calls for the need for effective global leadership. This concept of global leadership only appeared in the late 20th century (Osland et al., 2017). The effects of globalization are being felt at all the levels of society today. This then calls for the need for global leadership (Deters, 2017). Globalization has been characterized by an increase in ambiguity and complexity in various organizations. The concept of global leadership began to appear in the 1990s, although publications were done in 2000s. According to Caligiuri 2006, Caligiuri & Tarique 2009, there is a lack of proper definition of whom a global leader is all about. The global leaders have often been referred to as the individuals who effect positive changes in the organizations through the development of the organizational processes and structures (Deters, 2017). The leaders are often expected to address and adapt to the changes within the communities and their organizations (Atiku, 2019).

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Definition and Concepts of Global Leadership

Global leadership is defined differently by various authors. For instance, according to Caligiuri and Tarique, 2009, global leadership refers to the ability of an individual to work on the worldwide stage. It also applies to a job with an international scope or global responsibilities. Each state has a different leadership style. The western leadership styles result in extreme leadership styles. The rapid globalization was accompanied by a deficiency of global leaders who can steer various organizations over the world (Deters, 2017). Another complexity of global leadership is the interconnectedness and the independence of the capital, people, and information associated with global leadership (Atiku, 2019). The ambiguity of the term global leadership has also lead to a complexity in the definition of the term global leadership (Deters, 2017). The concern is why global leadership should be given central attention in the current world (Doh, 2005). The discussion below outlines the needs need for global leadership.

The need for development in the global leadership is because there is a growing diversification in the job markets. There is an increasing deficiency of global leaders. Thus, there is a need to train more skilled and able leaders (Deters, 2017). To achieve organizational success, there is an extreme need to train more of the global leaders in different capacities (Atiku, 2019). However, in the recent past, there has been laxity in the development of global leadership with an improved mindset and development mindsets (Osland et al., 2017). Many articles appreciate the need for efficient and universal, but only a few of these articles recommend ways in which this can be achieved.

In the review of literature, Hollenbeck (2001) underscored that scholars have always taken several perspectives when addressing the issue of global leadership. The views include the study of global leadership as operating cross-nationally and culturally, viewing it as expatriate leadership and the personal backgrounds employed to build the profiles of the global leaders among others (Deters, 2017). All these theoretical problems have an immense contribution to the global gaps in development (Doh, 2005). These gaps continue to affect the effectiveness of service delivery and business operations of various organizations. Graen and Hui (1999), on the other hand, argue that there are several difficulties in the development of global leaders that will effectively address the emerging issues and concepts of globalization. Many arguments also portray that global mindsets are often related to the development of global leadership Atiku, 2019. When talking about global leadership, a global mindset is essential in making a description of the attitudes, skills, behaviors, and competencies of global leaders. Levy et al., 2007 described the proper mindset as the state of mind when the individual can have a look at the world in a much broader perspective.

In this way, the individual can have a precise analysis of the trends and opportunities over the world. This change in mindset is a catalyst that steers the development of global leadership (Deters, 2017). The socio-cultural and religious factors play vital roles in the event of appropriate global leadership skills. Comprehensive leadership development approaches can be viewed in terms of the examination, experience education, and exposure of the worldwide leader. In this case, analysis is used to describe the self-awareness and the introspection of the worldwide leader (Osland et al., 2017). At this stage, the global leader should have a thorough self-examination to identify his interests and concerns that can be instrumental in undertaking global duty. It also displays where there are deficiencies, thus exposing them to improvement opportunities. Education of the global leaders, on the other hand, involves a critical thought and analysis of the subject globalization and taking into account the effects of such things as culture and leadership in the globalization process (Deters, 2017). The individual also tends to have a deep understanding of the level of knowledge that is required to become a global leader (Atiku, 2019).

The global leaders have to be trained on the diversity of cultures and the effects of such cultures on the practiced of a given country (Osland et al., 2017). Again, the experience of global leaders is essential because it promotes the effectiveness of service delivery at the worldwide stage (Deters, 2017). For instance, it is said that experience is the best teacher. In this sense, the global leader should be a person who can demonstrate that he has worked with a diversity of cultures before. The leader should have learned how a particular organization carries business across other parts of the world (Osland et al., 2017). However, exposure involves interaction by focusing on people and their roles. At this stage, one refers to the mentors, the people who have once been there, and asking them about what they experienced (Atiku, 2019). This helps in the improvement in the operations of the global leader.

Key Competencies of Global Leaders

Flexibility is an essential competency for the international leader. A leader who is flexible and can easily adjust to changes can also steer change (Atiku, 2019). Those leaders who are less adaptable often limit the flexibility of others. Through encouraging change, new initiatives can be adopted successfully within the global business environment. The flexible people may portray three basic types of elasticities (Deters, 2017). They include cognitive flexibility that refers to the ability of the global leader to employ different strategies of thinking and mental frameworks.

On the other hand, emotional flexibility of the leader relates to the strength of the worldwide leader to vary a person's approach to dealing with other people's emotions (Osland et al., 2017). The ultimate flexibility required of the global leader is dispositional flexibility. This describes the ability of the leader to remain both realistic and optimistic in the operations (Atiku, 2019).

Another competency requirement of a global leader is self-awareness. Self-awareness enables global leaders to identify the gaps that may be there in business management, thus exposing the areas that require extra work (Deters, 2017). A leader should also be aware of the globalization challenges of the country in which he is assigned. The personal attributes of the global leader also play a crucial role in the duty of the leader. He should be aware of (among other things) the strengths and weaknesses of the business environment of the country where he is assigned to work (Osland et al., 2017).

The resilient and enduring mental attributes of the leaders also constitute an excellent global leader (Atiku, 2019). Resilience is described as the ability of the worldwide leader to recover, withstand, or bounce back from the ever-changing global circumstances (Osland et al., 2017). This skill can often be learned and improved with time. A resilient person often comes across challenges and develops approaches to overcome these challenges (Doh, 2005).

For this work, I shall major on sensitivity to cultural values as a competency requirement for global leaders. Cultural sensitivity refers to the ability to know that there is a distinct difference that occurs between various cultures (Osland et al., 2017). Therefore, there can be an instance of clashes, for example, due to the divergence of a belief from those of the other communities in the multicultural country (Advances in international management, 2002). Although the culture wars may ensue, they can well be handled if the global leader has the skills of handling foreign multicultural nations (Doh, 2005). The cultural competence of the leader should enable him to respect and accept the differences that may occur within and between cultures (Deters, 2017). Alongside culture, the global leader should be able to appreciate the diversity in the organization including the difference in the sex, nationality, spiritual beliefs and the physical and mental ability among others (Osland et al., 2017). What are the benefits of the cultural competence of a global leader? For instance, it results in an increased mutual understanding among those involved (Atiku, 2019). It also results in increased creativity when it comes to decision making by coming up with a new idea and ways of doing things (Deters, 2017). The knowledge and understanding of the cultural diversity of the communities within the nation also enhance equity and the inclusion of the other individual communities from diverse cultures (Osland et al., 2017).

Furthermore, a person's mindset is also essential if he is supposed to undertake a global leadership task (Doh, 2005). A global leader should have a mindset that is accommodative of the diverse cultural backgrounds and the social practices of a particular country (Deters, 2017). Those leaders with high resilience and adaptability can successfully and effectively deliver in the countries where they are assigned. Most importantly, a person undertaking global leadership assignments should always be fearless and should be able to encourage teamwork and work in a team (Atiku, 2019).

Suggestion for Becoming a Global Leader.

According to Advances in international management, (2002), the global leader just as any other leader, require leadership competencies and skills such as honesty, leadership behaviors, and the ability to communicate effectively. Furthermore, a global leader should have several unique competencies that enable him to work in diverse environments (Deters, 2017). The ability and the willingness of the leaders' linkages as well as the ability to adapt into a new environment with a unique cultural setting is another competency skill of a global leader (Atiku, 2019). Other fundamental skills for global leaders are fairness, self-confidence, and communication skills, among others (Osland et al., 2017). According to Advances in international management, (2002), global leaders should be able to create a bonding and connection between the team. He should also care, feel the genuine concern in the group, and look forward to the provision of the needs of the team members.


It is clear that due to the growing concern for globalization, there is a need to have correctly constructed human resource. The global leaders have a role to play in the global environment. Thus, it is vital t...

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Literature Review on Global Leadership. (2023, Jan 06). Retrieved from

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