What constitutes effective leadership behaviour? A cross-cultural analysis

Peter Steane, Ma Jin Hua

Research output: Contribution to journalConference paperpeer-review


A sample of 372 executives from the Peoples' Republic of China and Australia provide evidence of effective leadership being derived from both transformational and transactional leadership qualities. Bass and Avolio's
MLQ Form 5X was used, both in original form for the English-speaking sample, but in a Mandarin translation for the PRC sample. About one-half of the sample consist of executives from Australia which, as a culture, features in
other cross-cultural research and tends to mimic general American-Anglo patterns of leadership behavior. As such, Australia pairs consistently with close approximations of broader Western management behaviors. Much of the leadership research is "Westo-centric" [1] The inclusion of a large PRC-based sample of executives broadens the understanding of leadership [2] This paper presents findings suggesting that transformational and transactional leadership behavior manifests itself across cultures with minor differences internal to cultures between leadership self-assessment and rater assessments of leaders.
The Chinese raters perceive their leaders as possessing and/or engaging in Idealized Influence (attributed) more than the Chinese leaders do. The Australian raters see their leaders as engaging in Inspirational Motivation more than do their leaders. The only significant aspect of transactional leadership is that the Chinese raters perceive their leaders as possessing more effectiveness than their leaders do. While the transactional feature of contingent reward does feature as significant, it is not as significant as transformational attributes aligned with
critical thinking, empowerment, challenging workplaces in ameliorating positive outcomes associated with effective leadership behavior. The results indicate that Chinese leaders see inspirational motivation as important - as the first or second
attribute - in generating extra effort from associates. For Australian leaders, extra effort and effectiveness is associated with idealized influence, while satisfaction in their style of leadership is more derived from inspirational motivation. The results indicate both Chinese and Australian employees share satisfaction with a leadership style when challenge and enthusiasm is communicated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the 7th Annual Meeting of Asian-Pacific Decision Sciences Institute(APDSI)
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Event7th Annual Meeting of Asian-Pacific Decision Sciences Institute (APDSI) - Bangkok, Thailand
Duration: 24 Jul 200227 Jul 2002


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