culturally intelligent leadership in EM


  • cultural intelligence requires leaders and leadership rather than management
  • leaders must be able to create work cultures where differences thrive through:
    • prioritizing diversity
    • getting to know people and their differences
    • enabling trust
    • establishing mutual respect
  • empathy is a good foundation for intercultural relationships, but awareness of cultural nuances is critical

Cultural systems

  • cultural systems have roots of values, assumptions and symbols which are supported through traditions, rituals, ceremonies, and/or myths
  • culture includes not only the things that are visible publicly but also the more private underpinnings of beliefs and perspectives
  • culture is learned, shared, can change dynamically, is systemic and is symbolic
    • an important example of how culture is LEARNED is on your first day at a new place of employment and how you were oriented to the job - in this short period you develop a “story” of how you will fit in and this shapes your thoughts, actions, behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes for the rest of your time with the company
    • you SHARE beliefs, rituals, ceremonies, traditions, and assumptions with people who grew up or live in similar cultural backgrounds
    • cultures are SYSTEMIC in that underlying structural patterns, beliefs, attitudes and perspectives tend to play a key role in behavioural events
    • we create meaning between symbols which may have a unique way in linking us together
    • when people ascribe different meanings to symbols or do not understand a culture's meaning of a symbol, this can lead to culture shock which can be confusing, and surprising.

Culture can be seen to exist on many levels

  • examples of levels include:
    • global clusters of societies - anglo vs Confucian Asian vs eastern European, etc 1)
    • national
    • regional
    • organizational
    • team
    • individual
  • values are said to have 5 main dimensions:
    • identity - group vs individual
    • power - egalitarian - hierarchical - inequality - laissez-faire
    • gender - M-F, cooperative, competitive, modest, assertive
    • uncertainty - the degree of structure and flexibility
    • time and space - past traditions - current or future - task vs relationship

Generalization vs Stereotype

  • one should take great care to avoid using stereotypes and use the less judgmental, less absolute generalization to avoid offending people

Generalization of cultures

  • broad statements based on facts, experiences, examples, or logic
  • descriptive and flexible (modifiable with new inputs)
  • seek to be accurate
  • attempts to capture similarities and principles
  • avoid being judgmental


  • are harmful because they are rigid, place people into boxes and categories and limit them to those specific perspectives
  • are often judgmental
  • tend to over-simplify
culture.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/07 05:21 by wh