There are individual, organizational, and societal human and technological approaches available today. However, there is little integration of these dimensions into a coherent mindset, educational concept, or cooperative platforms. Therefore, I’ve dedicated the last couple of years to the study of leadership, learning & development, psychology consequently from cross-culturally, multi-disciplinary, and inter-generationally cooperative perspectives. And I’ve performed intensive testing of a, as I think, new discovery of a pattern of the human mind, which I’m calling the ‘Tripod Mindset (TM).’ I have found that three logic matrix-derived socio-temporal conditions put together to a “tripod” mindset would eliminate random, imbalanced, and unconnected ways of traditional and contemporary human thinking in favor of more healthy attitudes and drive for positive human evolution.
Tripod Mindset (TM) Highlights
My background in education sciences, leadership, art, technology, and psychology have equipped me with different perspectives on individual, organizational, and socio-cultural functioning. My navigation between the philosophy of time represented by the past, present, and the future, and the intra-, inter-, and extra-personal dimensions of information and communication (technology) have led me to discover a, as far as I’m aware of, novel and lawful socio-temporal matrix in which our temporal thinking about ourselves, our relationships, and humanity consolidates.
The mapping of thousands of (scientific) resources to the matrix of aforementioned socio-temporal dimensions revealed the striking finding of three coordinates that jointly form a set of mental states that governs human psyche and thriving, which I’m going to call the “Tripod Mindset (TM).” The further study of TM as an interdisciplinary concept shall explicitly consider aspects such as the Internet as a tool for democracy and global citizenship. The time seems to be ripe for leading the way to more distributed and participative approaches including a broader range of stakeholders globally. For example, the TM can be translated into design principles, which would be informing the development of next-generation and more cooperative online platforms that integrate the intra-past, inter-present, and extra-future thought patterns necessary for progressing agile approaches and human flourishing in the virtual and physical world.
Also, the TM could be used to get a balanced view on how sustainable (from an individual and collective point of view) any kind of services and products are. Are they based on a mindset that is backward oriented, protective of the status quo, or facilitating innovation? What does each of these temporal aspects mean for the individual, the team, and the broader communities’ respectively the human context? The consistent integration of such a coherent “tripod”-stabilized mindset view will guarantee not losing sight of all that is important for true next-generation solutions.
There are many apt formulations, and rich collections of human qualities proposed to be packaged into so-called mindsets that are deemed to be favorable for individual well-being, organizational performance, or societal functioning. However, looking at worldwide suffering, competitive challenges, and societal issues, there is, apparently, still a lot missing regarding a more holistic, systematically consistent, and continuous awareness that leads to positive human behavior. Technology progress, for example, may enable positive change, but it will not be without a change in human mindset that an improved development and use of technology will occur. The Tripod Mindset (TM) has the potential to inform a new type of guiding principles in sociology/psychology, education, communication, and technology with a disruptive impact on how humanity’s collective mindset, and participative and cooperative policies and economies further develop.
Summary. Younger employees around the world tend to prefer more professional freedom, meaningful work, and work-life in their work. Asking only older senior HR managers might not provide sufficient insight into the generation Y’s thinking though. Listening directly to the younger employees is vital to positively influence job satisfaction, engagement, and work performance altogether. The youth’s resourcefulness, e.g., in digital media, could be used for backward/reverse mentoring to engage senior management more. Offering millennials more short-term job and internship opportunities can represent a win-win situation to gain experience from both an organizational and young talent perspective. Some examples from a Chinese perspective are presented.
Work ethics and quality of life values
Many of the so-called gold-collar workers (GCW) who demonstrate qualities such as high problem-solving abilities in challenging environments but are also used to extraordinary financial compensation, started to quit their positions in prominent Chinese cities to seek improved work-life balance, including, e.g., increased learning and development opportunities . Today’s younger generations in China, while navigating the collectivist society, can also require, even from authorities, more radical openness and honesty, especially in case of perceived unfairness . Researchers found that more professional freedom, meaningful work, and work-life balance constitute job characteristics increasingly crucial as a high-level tendency across different cultures . Varying work values still need to be differentiated between even various countries in East Asia itself. For example, the Chinese tend to be more individualistic, while the Japanese are more risk-averse, and the Koreans are often found somewhat in the middle .
Insight-led Global Talent Management (GTM) and backward/reverse mentoring
Best practice Global Talent Management (GTM) in Asia is best led by insight into economic and cultural context , including the specific understanding of the youth. When re-assessing HR practices, consulting only with older senior management personnel might not provide sufficient and accurate insight into the thinking of the generation Y employees . A demographic shift also takes place in China where the proportion of the population of over sixty-five years is growing, which is resulting in a shrinking workforce with implication for how to manage the pool of younger talents . Cooperative re-negotiation of employee structures and roles within firms might be needed. The Gallup’s global employee engagement database reveals that two-thirds of Asian CEO’s are not engaged and often feel underdeveloped . Bringing together the younger generations’ digital talent and the older colleagues rich experience in a kind of backward/reverse mentoring would offer an exciting approach .
Short and long-term view for win-win situations
Millennials often plan differently for their future, meaning that they seek more short-term employment (i.e., of one to two years length) to gain experience at the beginning of their career . Consequently, talent management practices have to deal with more employee turnover. However, especially when talent acquisition is challenged due to a lack of matching organizational demand and graduate skills, short-term assignments might offer a win-win situation overall. This is the reason why both firms and candidates see internships as an ideal avenue at professional career start .
Empowering the youth
For the youth being able to bring their potential to the table, managers self-identified their central role as empowering their talents in furthering self-esteem and self-promotion capability . For GTM, listening to the younger generation and consider their expectations is vital to positively influence job satisfaction, engagement, and work performance altogether .
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Summary. Although multi-national enterprises (MNEs) in China are looking for talents who can balance domestic and international challenges, the evolving education and Global Talent Management (GTM) systems struggle with the timely identification, development, and retention of a workforce that is matching the required demand of new and future skills. Respect for the Chinese culture and access to so-called guanxi business networks shaped by collectivist cultural values are needed to access business opportunities. On the other hand, the opening up of secretive circles and empowering students and employees for more self-determined and problem-based learning could provide avenues to close the gap between theory and practice as well as more equality in talent development, hopefully resulting in increased entrepreneurship and innovation.
Summary. This article critically sheds light on current socio-economic challenges for Japan and the need for developing a global mindset for companies in a globalizing world. With little chance for getting a management position before the age of 40 and confronted with dominating domestic demand for a monolingual male workforce, Japan’s youth gets blamed for being ‘insular’ and individually responsible for the lack of global mindsets. To improve global success, Japanese HR practices’ global talent management programs have to address the need for highly skilled and globally minded talents in Japan and their expatriates. Japan-specific, step-by-step, and creative alternative solutions may be required to make it happen.
Japan’s current unclear development of its role in global economy comes from various challenges such as two decades lasting economic stagnation  and increased competition from China and India . Salary men sweat devotedly for the big companies and government agencies for the return of stable careers, while their wives take care of raising the next generation guaranteeing the continuation of the system that has become antithetical to fast-paced global changes . A global mindset is needed for many Japanese organization, and there are calls for a related shift in education (; ). However, most Japanese companies favor domestic monolingual male workforce , which informs higher education in the way that fewer and fewer students in Japan envision to study abroad . The collectivist Japanese culture might emphasize that trend as the unity of family raises expectations for children not to stay away from their family and take care of their parents .
Japanese see the development of a global mindset as an individual rather than an organizational burden. Due to seniority-based promotion systems, only 9% of Japanese managers are below the age of 40, compared to 62% in India and 76% in China . Ironically, the lack of talents with global mindsets has not been associated with strict hiring practices, bigoted immigration policies, or with conservative firm cultures but instead the ‘insular’ young people, the so-called ‘uchimuki,’ are blamed for keeping the island inwardly retreated .
Japanese HRM practices’ global talent management initiatives have been reported to not being suitable to attract sufficient talent with a global mindset for multinational enterprises . English in Japan is still treated as belonging to the US or UK rather than being a global language . HR brokers until today have mostly focused on low-skilled short-term immigration . Therefore, not surprisingly, Japan ranks last behind all major industrialized nations regarding the percentage of foreign academics and engineers employed .
A trend of an increasing number of Japanese self-initiated expatriate entrepreneurs to developing countries in Asia indicates the presence of not only entrepreneurial but also global mindsets as related to social and sustainability missions . Japanese multinationals, however, comparatively have difficulties to go international with their often highly successful local businesses in which the home-country expatriates obviously need to re-assess their globalization abilities . For example, Japanese business men are used to relationship-based marketing  and would need to adapt to a more need-based style when selling abroad . Maybe hybrid forms of globalization activities, developed through Japan-based HR training can advance the integration of cultural differences to promote global success . Anti-globalization sentiments after the nuclear plant accident in Fukushima in 2011 and perceptions of unfairly exploitative global businesses may require an alternative kind of globalization as happening in the arts that, e.g., builds on alternative smaller destinations . Step-by-step quick wins could increase confidence in more long-term investment into global mindsets to improve results from globalization .
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1. The role of job analysis in Global Talent Management
2. Japanese tendencies and the focus on people vs. positions
3. Towards systematic talent identification
1. The role of job analysis in Global Talent Management
The identification of talent is a central aspect of Global Talent Management (GTM) practices in multinational enterprises (MNE’s) . Job analysis respectively competency analysis constitutes a required input for talent identification . However, traditional job analysis that has represented a fundamental necessity for many HR activities seems to have become increasingly outdated . Indeed, the number of current articles about job analysis is decreasing, while, in contrast, related fields such as competency modeling and work analysis describing more broadly and evolving organizational roles are trending . The relative popularity of competency models may be explained by its alignment with organizational strategy and related performance goals .
The diminishing relevance of the use of job analysis results such as job descriptions, may come from the shift towards recruitment strategies that are led not by vacancies but rather by onboarding talents to be able to fill strategic roles when they arise. Therefore, rather than looking at existing job tasks, companies strategically may look, especially concerning their leadership competency profiles, for visionary talents who are well connected, cross-culturally skilled, and whose values match well with the firm culture .
Another essential consideration in evaluating the utility of job analysis in Talent Management is the level of detail that is elaborated to describe job requirements. While more holistic approaches result in more generic and abstract information convince through their cost-efficiency, the gathering of more detailed data is supporting the judgment process of what specifics contribute to the overall ratings of importance . Researchers argue that the psychometric quality of competency models decline when judgments are based on broad job descriptions .
2. Japanese tendencies and the focus on people vs. positions
Japanese talent acquisition practices are strongly shaped by domestic approaches , which the interview results of this study also confirm. The identification of skills, abilities, knowledge and other characteristics (KSAOs) informs talents identification. Although methods such as, e.g., job analysis  focusing on jobs as a starting point for Talent Management are a promoted view , Japanese (multinational) companies tend to work the other way around, i.e., starting with people and then figuring out where to go with the workforce.
The concept of lifetime employment is still alive in Japan. When keeping people is an overarching goal of an organization, job descriptions, and missing job descriptions respectively would limit maneuvering room. Line managers’ expectation rather than job requirement and talent assessment documentation is determining who’s considered to be a talent suitable for what position. This relational focus on work, however, is an important aspect of complex job roles in general and everywhere . However, a tendency towards influencing employee behavior subjectively from manager’s perspective versus a more objective reliance on job descriptions  was identified a specific feature of Japanese talent management.
While modern talent approaches may shift from input to a more output-oriented view , past achievements (e.g., education and type of university), as well as seniority, are decisive for the employee payments and promotions . On the other side, HR positions often get occupied by staff who is rotated, even against their will. The interview repeatedly pointed to the need for more education to address the lack of HR and talent management capabilities as measured against good global practices and evidenced anecdotic by especially young talents who seem to expect more consideration for their career aspirations. As for job analysis, inexperience, in contrast to carelessness, would not necessarily have to result in low quality judgments though .
3. Towards systematic talent identification
Job analysis can uncover needs for improvement in work environments  and have positive effects on talent management, such as objective and talent-focusing development. Improper job descriptions leaving employees unclear about their duties and competencies can also lead to legal issues . As, for example, Hitachi demonstrated, the implementation of systematic talent identification and evaluation can improve multinational operations . Albeit talent selection by fixed job characteristics might have become an insufficient method , the usage of some work profiles to create good matches between individuals and jobs would be advantageous for staff and organizations alike . A better (psychological) understanding of strategic jobs from an organization’s HR perspective would for sure help underline the importance of talent management  in achieving the increasingly complex and global organizational goals.
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Some job performances (e.g., the financial results created by investment bankers) is often depending on external factors and is therefore at least difficult to explain and can serve as a reminder that causes of performance often need to be found on other than the individual level alone. This is interesting as it leads to less intuitive notions of talent such as team talent. Also, example conditions under which collective talent may develop best are discussed in this article.
Talent analytics and the search for the ‘why’
Big data analysis can reveal accurate prediction of outcomes, but it often cannot provide meaningful insight into and interpretation of the underlying or antecedent causes. Talent Analytics (TA) is considered a promising use of big data in HR management . Obstacles such as breaking through data silos need to be overcome to harness the full potential of big data analysis. The same might be true for understanding more complex interdependencies that lead to organizational performance. Not only individual performance but the environment in which it occurs is determining results. For example, N’Cho (2017) has found that companies with more audit committee members were able to create higher profits; possibly a non-intuitive fact for many.
The most innovative shop doesn’t generate revenues without marketing . From an organizational perspective, team talent as distinctive to individual talent may be an interesting concept in the way that it is a team commonality. Consequently, group incentives have proven to increase the efficiency of collective efforts (e.g., through reduction of so-called free riding), especially in the knowledge economy . Evidence of studies of Major League Baseball teams also supports the concept of team talent. Allocation of profits is closely linked with the distribution of productivity, and it seems that eliminating weak links in favor of a more homogeneous team is significantly driving team improvement . The celebration of stars should not neglect the appreciation of the importance of the supporting B players as they overall contribute far more to a firm’s durable performance . According to the Peter Principle, leaders often remain at positions in which they are overwhelmed, an impression the financial crisis could not correct. From that perspective, it’s not the leaders who matter, but the people who are competently doing their job .
Encouraging and competitive environments
There is compelling evidence that trust between managers and staff dramatically increase shareholder return. If employees are not regarded as relatively fixed resources to exploit, but rather as a human potential to develop , their performance increases . Talent has become an even more valuable asset than capital itself  and needs to be kept free, encouraged, and heard because control is diminishing is potential  However, in contrast, on CEO level, competition to control for the risk of misreporting showed to be good advice .
Entrepreneurial talent that is mainly characterized by a well-connected network around the company founders was identified to account for the organizations’ profitability and financial success . In that sense, entrepreneurial talent provides another example for relationships with factors other than skill-level measures that determine talent and related business performance.
Photo credit: geralt (pixabay.com)
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(1) Distinct Co-operative Governance Challenges, (2) Distributed Leadership (DL), Self-awareness, Servant Leadership, and Safe Learning Spaces, (3) Empowerment for Service, Democracy, and Value-based Management, (4) Accountability for Strategic Leadership Processes: “Leading is a function, not a status.”
Distinct Co-operative Governance Challenges
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and Co-operatives that are run according to cooperative principles, face distinct challenges compared to governments or for-profit organizations. About 90 percent of contemporary leadership research is not directly relevant for the NGO context. . Furthermore, the available approaches to co-operative leadership need to be tailored according to organizational structure and maturity, economic sector, and membership size .
In a time of mystification and celebration of top-down leadership , capitalist shareholder dominance, and the absence of teaching foundations of cooperative democratic principles in schools, NGOs and Co-ops nevertheless continue to prioritize cooperation, especially by democratic and participatory principles that foster the inclusive membership’s well-being beyond pure business goals (Pinto, 2011). The cooperative governance model developed over decades by the CDS Consulting Co-op  has proven to provide leadership guidance to meet these unique needs by structuring governance elements into the four pillars of (1) teaming, (2) accountable empowerment, (3) democracy, and (4) strategic leadership. The following selected possible leadership program aspects are recommended to address the governance challenges of early-stage, still small cooperative organizations with a diverse and growing volunteering membership base.
Distributed Leadership (DL), Self-awareness, Servant Leadership, and Safe Learning Spaces
Protagonist leaders not sharing appropriately information are roadblocks to the active participation of co-leaders (e.g., other board members) and other members as everyone is supposed to participate in the democratic process . Mutually owned solution development involving all stakeholders (i.e., diverse member categories and other stakeholders in a multi-stakeholder cooperative) cultivate creativity . The risk of stakeholders pursuing their individual career goals at the cost of enhanced social networks and shared knowledge has to be prevented . Cooperative enterprises require concerted collective action . Such a collective capacity  is necessary to sustainably pool resources and know-how and can be addressed by the distributed leadership (DL) paradigm . Co-ops may foresee to offer leadership education that is addressing the dimensions of DL, which are “bounded empowerment, developing leadership, shared decision and collective engagement” (, p. 693).
A higher self-awareness may be needed for individuals to make sense of the broader cooperative perspective . DL suggests a culture of intensified inquiry among individuals  that can be positively influenced by increased self-efficacy, job satisfaction, and creative behavior among the members. A co-op can consider administering the validated DL instrument as the basis for its leadership development . Especially at early stages of forming an organization, group coaching as proposed by Fusco, O’Riordan, and Palmer (2015)  to develop authentic self-leadership within the team can be an appropriate activity as well. Servant leadership characteristics showed global validity and could inform the coaching approach and the creation of safe learning spaces for experimentation , which can be of high value especially in multi-cultural and human-oriented communities .
Empowerment for Service, Democracy, and Value-based Management
It was a misbelief that paid Board members would remain solidary to volunteer work . Rather, a study with students found that independent commitment to service provides for meaningful learning experiences and collaborative capacity building . Democracy offers a meaningful collective leadership approach  that can enhance innovative behavior and commitment among the members who have the possibility for representation in the governance of the organization .
The members need to be offered the potential for own socio-economic success as a result from collective operation , best based on a stakeholder analysis allowing for alignment of different members’ incentives . Engagement comes from understanding the purpose, vision, and values of the organization . Indeed, value-based management helps to create a shared sense of belonging to all stakeholders , which is vital team-building success. More specifically, a formal value statement can help keeping up values required for shared leadership development. A clear positioning against external competition might eliminate internal competition , which can be achieved by training . Another proposition is journaling to analyze how members experience their service contributions, a measure that has been able to confirmed the joy of service .
Accountability for Strategic Leadership Processes: “Leading is a function, not a status.”
Every minute of volunteering should be appreciated, and different levels of engagement between and within members over time accepted. Therefore, rather than defining and assigning roles and responsibilities to which it could be challenging to adhere to, accountability should be promoted. That way leaders can freely emerge without conflicts with non-matching role descriptions . As Cannell (2018)  puts it aptly, “leading is a function, not a status.” Any, and especially also young members should be encouraged to self-nominate for leadership and management roles . Technology can support strategy processes, planning, budgeting, member and associate management, as well as communication and media . The Social Change Model of Leadership offers a framework on which leadership development programs could be built on to facilitate value-based collaborative group processes for social change  and the encouragement of new leaders .
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The paradox of the disadvantaged justifying authoritarian systems
It can seem paradoxical that people often justify the existing social system even when this comes at personal and collective costs . System Justification Theory (SJT) provides a framework to understand what the motives and contexts behind this phenomenon are . SJT posits that an underlying ideology is motivating the justification of social order in a way that contributes to the often-unconscious belief of inferiority most strongly among individuals of underprivileged groups . It is not just passivity that gives way to the dominance of political elites . Psychological and ideological processes related to resistance to change imply that albeit possible, change is often difficult . Change is especially difficult if there is an ideological system in place that pronounces an authoritarian culture of inequality that, according to SJT, tends to reinforce itself as a ‘culture of justification’ . The association of a nation with God further strengthens people’s confidence to justify the system .
Exposure to threat causes conservative shift
The political notion of discussion is persuasion  and SJT can be used to influence voters’ viewpoints. Studies found that people who were exposed to thoughts related to death became more supportive of conservative perspectives . Exposure to threat, e.g. in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, indicated a possible shift towards increased approval rates for President George W. Bush . Protests, from a socio-psychological perspective, are triggered by perceived injustice and related anger, social identification, and the faith in collective action. However, existential and relational needs for security can undermine these change antecedents . Following this logic, employees, for example, show an enhanced tendency to deny flaws at their workplace especially in times of scarce labor markets .
System justification impedes critical consciousness
Although it is a myth that Western Societies are characterized by equality of opportunity, studies found that a majority’s belief in equality helps to justify a meritocratic ideology, i.e., that it is, given we all start with the same possibilities, fair that individual differences are rewarded. The motive to legitimize economic inequality is further blocking critical thinking capacities with severe consequences for the economic and psychological well-being of marginalized persons . System threat defense mechanisms related to SJT, such as victim blaming, stereotyping, and inequality legitimization, can help reduce emotional anguish. However, the victims of a justified crisis often have to pay a high price for it ; a price that may be higher in the long-term than the price of protest to achieve positive change.
The role of psychologists in policymaking
It is essential to understand individuals’ view of the salience and scope of systems as they might be system justifiers of varying degrees related to different systems . Also, one must be aware of how ideologies are advocated and reinforced, e.g., through political and societal structures. Psychologists should work in interdisciplinary teams together with policymakers to remove change-averse infrastructure and untrap citizens from the psychological barrier of system justification .
Should system justification be used by organizational leaders to evoke desirable behavior?
First, according to different missions of organizations (e.g., to generate profit, or to grow a movement, etc.), desirable behavior might differ too. Second, I think, even if the behavior of the employees is desirable, a responsible leader should be concerned about how this behavior is created. As system justification is a mostly unconscious and automatic psychological response to threat , it might not be the best basis to maintain desirable behavior sustainably. It may also be difficult to evaluate whether the lack of awareness is protective of the employees’ well-being or whether there are possible indirect taxes to consider. Rationalizing away inequalities to defense the status quo may seem to support fearful individuals . However, being in control in one area may hinder progress in other areas. For example, studies found that women retaining power in their traditional household role prevented them from claiming more equality at the workplace . Possibly not the best outcome for the women and the organization as workforce diversity may be useful for the innovation capacity of organizations in many cases . As system justification works based on personal fear and lack of self-esteem, it is, for example, causing narcissistic personalities to justify hierarchy in the case they believe to benefit from it personally, i.e., having the chance to rise to the top . I could often observe adverse outcomes related to selfish reasons and hidden agendas. Therefore, in summary, I would foster desirable behavior through increasing awareness and reward informed and transparent efforts towards desired outcomes.
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In an increasingly interdependent world, global leadership understanding for international collaboration  is vital for the development of cross-cultural leadership . This essay provides some hints on what might be determining leadership prototype’s effectiveness from different global perspectives .
Universal and culture-specific features of transformational leadership
Transformational leadership facilitates change through shared vision, intellectual stimulation, and support of individual’s aspirations  and is therefore essential for solving contemporary threats that require change . Social change movements need to be put into the context of globalization . The effectiveness of general transformational leadership was found a cross-culturally valid concept . For example, transformational leaders were able to motivate their followers independent of cultural context . In contrast, the desirability and effectiveness of transactional leadership turned out to be culture-dependent . On a more detailed level, also transformational leadership contains some culture-sensitive aspects . For example, enabling others to act and challenging the process appeared to be culture independent, while inspiration through shared vision and showing the way was negatively correlated to cultural values such as uncertainty avoidance .
Societal and cultural beliefs and values
Following the rationale and evidence that the concept of leadership has to be understood against the backdrop of social, historical, and cultural context , what are these factors then? Leadership literature has been criticized for being US-centric . Indeed, 98 percent of leadership concepts stem from Western values and don’t assume a cross-cultural view . As change involves setting goals , and as beliefs about goals represent values, it becomes clear that leadership is not decoupled from the social and cultural context . Consequently, subordinates may respond differently according to their cultural value orientation . For example, while, besides a charismatic leadership style, a participative leadership dimension is most important in the US, Latin America prioritizes team-orientation, and Eastern Europe scored highest in team-oriented and human-oriented aspects . According to the implicit theory of leadership, the bedrock of leadership is how a certain style like transformational leadership gets implicitly meaningful and fine-tuned by the cultural endorsement of values such as, for example, collectivism/individualism, power distance, and level of context .
Global leadership understanding for international collaboration
Despite significant differences measured on national mean levels, individual differences shouldn’t be forgotten when examining cross-cultural differences . Especially power distance orientation has proven to provide a better individual-level measure than individualism/collectivism as the central cultural value . Power distance orientation describes the degree of acceptance and expectation of unequally distributed power [19, 20]. For example, emotional commitment to a transformational leader was higher among followers low in power distance . Beyond national culture, there are even more relevant variables, such as politics, language, feminine and masculine tendencies, and organizational culture . Person-job fit was fund to mediate inclusive leadership and employee well-being . In an increasingly interdependent world, global leadership understanding for international collaboration  is vital for the development of cross-cultural leadership . This essay provided some hints on what might be determining leadership prototype’s effectiveness from different global perspectives .
photo credit: geralt (pixabay.com)
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Men have made millions of laws to punish crimes, and they have not established even one to reward virtue; Virtue being a product not of the command of law, but of our own free will, society has no right whatsoever over it. Virtue on no account enters into the social contract; and if it remains without reward, society commits an injustice similar to that of one who defrauds another of his labor.
Moments of instability bear the opportunity for change, and leadership determines whether it be a breakdown or breakthrough . Many institutional environments experience turning points through “critical actors” rather than through “critical masses” . To gain acceptance for change, leaders use different types of power, e.g., coercion, punishment, reward, legitimation, and expert information ; . In contrast, to incentivize change through fear, dissatisfaction, or guilt , reward power is to offer a positive motivation in case of compliance, e.g., an increase in salary, a career promotion, or other privileges . In the study of coach-athlete relationships, rewards and not punitive methods have shown positive effects on the athletes’ behaviors .
Dragonetti, an old Neapolitan economist, more than 250 years ago stated that “Men have made millions of laws to punish crimes, and they have not established even one to reward virtue ” . Indeed, a system more based on incentives, e.g., in the form of intrinsic societal awards, would foster more cooperation with economic and civic benefits . This may be required today more than ever. Longitudinal research found that as a result of modernization and westernization, mothers in San Vicente, Mexico, developed more self-promoting behavior at the cost of a more giving and rewarding (e.g., including encouraging failures) attitude only forty years ago .
Monetary compensation, social status, or ideological values all may provide for reward . Equating satisfaction with perception minus expectation, unexpected rewards can impact individuals’ satisfaction disproportionately and therefore, motivate change . Contingent rewards have proven to be an effective change leadership tool. However, it was also found that rewards need to be specified according to the situation respectively to the field of interest . Strategic alignment of changes and related rewards is essential to create clear psychological contracts that define well what contributions to company performance the employees owe their employer and what they can hope for in return . Of course, it is foolish to incentivize something and expect something else in return .
Because not all change is of equal ease to everybody, change efforts rather than change expertise/effectiveness should be rewarded . Not only reward size, but also the sequence and frequency of incentivizing are influencing the future expectancy of further rewards in social-change theories . Age may also be a factor for reward-sensitivity, as, for example, adolescents with typically lower inhibitory control capability attribute more value to reward . In conclusion, the focus on rewarding desired behavior rather than punishing unwanted conduct might have several advantages, such as creating positive feelings, increasing acceptance of positive change, and enabling higher likability of the influencing change agents .
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Choosing not to change risks failing if change is understood as improvement . In organizations, mainly the investors, but also drivers like competition, globalization, technology, and employees require change . Change always signifies loss that prompts threatening emotions, which cause resistance. Therefore, resistance to change needs to be understood from an individual’s emotional perspective . For example, people mostly don’t alter their change decisions related to moral dilemmas solely based on reason . Often, leaders and managers have a better understanding of the organizational situation than of individuals . Change antecedents, reactions to and consequences from changes like, for example, organizational commitment and job satisfaction, have to be carefully considered. Commitment can positively correlate with a favorable perception of proposed change, while commitment to the status quo can be negatively related .
Personality differences in predispositions to resist change
Helping conquering limitations in improving is a core function of leadership, and it is relieving for people to feel understood in their resistance to change . Indeed, supervisory support is a key factor in positively influencing people’s commitment to change . However, there might also be personality differences in predispositions, i.e., having negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors towards organizational change . It is more difficult to positively influence job satisfaction for people characterized by lower levels of openness to change . Increased mindfulness (i.e., engagement in new and healthy thoughts and habits) and tolerance of ambiguity (i.e., tolerance of lack of clarity and uncertainty) predict a more positive attitude toward change .
Trust and authenticity in transformational leadership
Change follows a process , most simply described as ‘unfreeze,’ ‘mobilize,’ and ‘re-freeze’ . To help people through these phases, understanding their emotional and intellectual needs seems to be essential. Transformational leadership ought to consist of these qualities, but some researchers suggest a broader integration of leadership dimensions, including spiritual elements to bridge the gap between profit strategies and quality of life . Studies found that transformational leadership, regardless of the leaders’ behavior, was positively associated with promoting acceptance of change. Even change-specific leadership behavior could not compensate for transformational leadership, especially when there was a lot at stake personally for the change receivers. A history of long-term trustful relationships with their followers may be the reason for this as consistent research of authenticity in leadership evidenced too. In cases where the job impact of the change was low, rather than transformational leadership, proper change management practices were sufficient for effective change. This finding speaks for a close integration of the change leadership and change management disciplines 
We change for what we have chosen for ourselves
Resistance can be a capacity for change itself , sometimes coming from positive intentions too , and providing feedback from people who may know best about the day-to-day operational details . To support effective change, leadership should involve change-related training , possibly also in early developmentally sensitive school years . It is crucial to help individuals experiencing close and successful participation in the change process  because people are more likely to adapt what they have chosen for themselves .
Photo credit: Geralt (pixabay.com)
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The life and work of author and speaker Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, who died at the age of seventy-five in 2015, provides the opportunity to reflect on leadership from a holistic perspective beyond a specific organizational setting or national politics. Dyer’s many best-selling books on the practical psychology of personal development towards a positive transformation for all of humanity  brought him the nickname of the Father of Motivation by his fans . Writing and meditating on Maui on Eastern Philosophies like Taoism, the Sage of Maui covers the self-conscious wisdom category of the self-help genre . Like in the book ‘Wisdom of the Ages,’ Dyer’s messages focus on virtuous love, inspiration, and patience as found in Confucian, Christian, and Thoreauvian teachings . Having written ‘Erroneous Zones,’ one of the most famous books of all time , and if leadership is about influence, Wayne Dyer was an enormous leader in influencing masses around the globe . Although not limited to an organizational goal setting context, the topics Dyer was promoting represent the core of the study of leadership and address change, motivation, inspiration, and influence .
A practical, humorous, personal, and sometimes too self-confident leader?
As a Welch proverb puts it aptly: “The hand will not reach for what the heart does not long for” , p. 38. In that sense, Dyer’s messages speak empathically to the core desires of people through practical, humorous , and personal  stories, presented as inviting offerings rather than pushing rules. Practical intelligence is of high importance for leaders . Indeed, Dyer focused on outcome rather than intellectualization , one possible reason why he chose the career of an independent writer rather than continuing his university job, which he saw limited to producing papers for the sake of a small self-serving academic community . It was Dyer’s high self-confidence that allowed him to, for example, tell “the shocking truth” he was so convinced about publicly  and therefore intuitively take required risks to advance his growth as a leader . Dyer got accused of plagiarism of Albert Ellis’ Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) . However, he did seemingly ignore what other people think of him  and unwaveringly continued his mission.
Life transitions and openness to experience
Assertiveness is the candid expression of one’s desires, opinions, and feelings and may help to get the recognition that is a powerful human motivator . Wayne Dyer’s public exposure of his style in writing and speaking may have also reflected a personality tendency of extraversion. In the US, extraversion is a personality trait showcased to create a societal image of openness and friendliness . It is therefore difficult to say how much Dyer’s demonstration of extraversion is part of his working brand to reach the goal of spreading his messages as much as possible, and how much, in comparison, he enjoyed his extended writing retreats on Maui from a more introvert perspective. In any case, according to his children’s accounts, he naturally loved to lecture and entertain others with his vast knowledge . Extraversion and openness to experience are personal characteristics that strongly relate to leadership effectiveness . Wayne Dyer’s openness to experience may be well seen in his demonstration of mindfulness that allowed him to accept new and demanding situations, to further develop his self-image, to promote changes, and to let go of attachments . Dyer went through different career transitions and lived over time with three wives and eight children . He also underwent a spiritual transformation in his “meaning stage” of life. These may be lessons of what Dyer framed in his film ‘Shift’ as “What was true in the morning has become a lie in the afternoon” .
Between charismatic mentorship and rescuer syndrome?
Regardless of the leadership position, it seems that the opportunity to help others’ personal growth, rather than sources of satisfaction like power, salary and status  represented the main motive of meaningfulness for Wayne Dyer throughout his life. Dyer spent parts of his childhood in foster homes. However, he described himself as seeing and remembering mainly the positive aspects, what helped him already at the age of three to help others in overcoming their despair . It may be this “naturally” developed talent of soothing others distress that adds a charismatic quality  to Dyer’s personality. In his thirties, Dyer visited his father’s grave and could resolve his anger towards that person who had left a wife with small children in a difficult situation. This pivotal event of forgiveness might not only have unlocked Dyer’s potential as a writer  but may have been necessary not to let the urge to mentor other people become a self-serving compensation for emotional and psychological issues; which would also be known as the rescuer syndrome .
Holistic leadership: inspirational motivation, trust, and loving service
Like Einstein and Emerson, Wayne Dyer believed in the Transcendentalist ideas  of the human soul being able to intuitively connect to the spiritual truth that creates a collective consciousness , itself capable of reconstructing the world . Wishing to lead a God-realized life  and occasionally named a self-help guru  and pied piper of the movement , Dyer could be suspect of suffering self-perceptions of grandiosity . However, Dyer believed, and that’s the position of equality that might have been so appealing to his diverse readers, that the divine realm is available to all . Such an uplifting vision is inspirationally motivating and contributes to a new-genre leadership style that emphasizes an environment of trust and feelings beyond what is necessarily found in transformational leadership . Dyer may be an example of one of the newest leadership theories, that is authentic leadership, and which is true to its values . As a friendly, amiable, assertive, and serving ‘soft leader’ , Dr. Wayne W. Dyer lived the messages he taught . It is loving service and unselfish love that makes holistic leadership .
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There are significant differences between leadership and management
In our contemporary world both leadership and management may be required and co-exist in different situations, but the identification and understanding of their distinguishing features is important if we want to use both of them effectively and eventually think about shifting the emphasis towards managers who are real leaders too.
Having been in diverse leadership and/or management positions in educational institutions and schools, business and consulting firms, military/public service organizations, media and communication practices, as well as leisure/sports clubs and civic movements over the last 20 years, I’ve reflected on the difference between leadership and management from many different angles. I’m always coming back to the conclusion that the concepts of leadership and management are not as related as the popular interchangeable use of the terms might suggest.
The ultimate market-participating organizational SMART goals versus dreams and visions
Like a path is leading to a different place, or a sheep can be led into a stable, human leadership can be defined as leading something or somebody towards a certain direction. It is said that leadership requires meaning; meaning that is represented and communicated through goals. Although managerial and leadership goals should always be believed to be achievable, the type of goal formation process and quality of goals themselves involved in leadership and management differs significantly .
A leader typically is self-guided by intuition and his intimate moral understanding, while a manager is hired by the board of directors pursuing shareholders interest for securing maximized return on their investments. In case of doubt or conflict, the financial interests always have to succeed over other values in a for-profit organization. Manager’s success is measured by how accurately they achieve the business goals. The more long-term, the less predictable the attainment of goals becomes. Leadership tolerates not directly measurable long-term results . Managers, in contrast, for above reasons preferably are to set short-term goals. To ensure that goals are as clear and realistic as possible, so-called SMART goals are commonly used in the corporate world, which ought to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Leaders may not only not have SMART goals, but even allow more vague dreams and visions that are often requiring significant imagination.
There is a difference between the concept of power based on formal authority and influence through inspiration
One broad approach is to define leadership as the interpersonal dimension of management that comprises the “ability to inspire confidence and support among the people who are needed to achieve organizational goals” (, p. 5). Frequently leadership gets confused with authority, seeing power as being based on formal roles. The formal assignments of a manager or officer let people notice legitimacy and comply with instructions because of fear of negative consequences in case of non-compliance . When saying that leadership requires power, it is, however, not this authoritarian capability of incurring costs (for example in the form of punishment) for the people who refuse to obey . Authoritarian regimes as examples of tight leadership in the form of control and prescription are generating poor results for the people. Instead, it is the ability to inspire for a voluntary fellowship by unforceful means that is resulting in individual prosperity, well-being, and peace through personal self-determination and fulfillment. Real leadership allows people self-leadership.
Leadership goes beyond the leadership aspects practiced in business administration
When the sum of the leadership structures followed by society is called culture , then the sum of management structures of market-participating organizations can be seen as the economy. Leaders create culture through the leadership structures they leave behind (, p. 11), while managers build administrations through the organizational patterns they establish. This thinking is in line with the terminology used in managerial education, where the top courses for aspiring or acting executive officers award for the title of the Master of Business Administration. Increasing parts of businesses consist of technology and digital resources, whereas human aspects tend to be further pushed into the background. Emotional and organic elements are taken out from the management of resources in favor of optimal planning accuracy. Again, although there may (but doesn’t have to) be some deal of leadership involved as well in steering a business, a real leader would never be reduced to be an administrator in that sense.
The irrelevance of leadership in the management of expectations
As Rudy Giuliani once put it, leaders first figure out what’s right, and then explain it to people, as opposed to first having people explain it and then just saying what they want to hear (, p.3). Indeed, managers tend to behave in a manner more or less in line with the management style endorsed within their country, industry or organization . Firms choose new executives whose values are consistent with their own. If an executive is not filling the role as expected, he will be replaced with somebody who adheres more closely to expectations. From that perspective it is essential to have a rider, to use this metaphor, who holds the reins of a horse put before a cart, but any other rider who follows the relatively simple rules how to guide a horse and carriage can carry them as well. You can even let a child play the carter. It can be observed that the horse’s, respectively the organization’s personality, to come back to the organizational context, is actually more important than the “leader” himself .
Leaders emerge when there is an urge for change or the need to resolve a crisis or conflict
Leadership creates change, often of dramatic dimensions, such as when completely new market dynamics are developed, societal perceptions are shifted, or more diverse cultures emerge. Management on the other hand often is concerned about maintaining predictability and order . Let’s think about why and how changes are managed in organizations. A big part of organizational administration deals with tracking changes to protect the status quo of power balances and interests of stakeholders and resources that contribute most to the profitable business. Such times of contentedness and stability are not calling for leaders whose strength is to move towards widening the range of beneficiaries. It is the time of crisis, in which leaders emerge. Managers monitor operational excellence of their subordinates typically in periods of economic strain. Charisma arises when there are heightened levels of distress among an increasing number of people that can be of not only financial but also psychological nature, constituting an individual and collective crisis of meaning that demands answers. If the problem is sought to be solved by somebody else, the ground is fertile for people to follow a leader who convincingly directs toward a comforting solution . It has to be carefully evaluated whether these promises are meaningful and serving the common good, or whether there is an overemphasis on leader-reliance for whatever reason. Leaders are also required in situations of conflict. Conflict as the opposite of leadership is characterized by the absence of a functioning leader-follower relationship, typically because of disagreements related to a common course of action .
There is little leadership required and even possible in corporations
Following the argumentation so far, it is conceivable to suggest, assuming a bit a black and white perspective, that in organizations, at ordinary times there is little leadership required and even possible. Instead, what is required is a disciplined management that administers an organization to stay on track without visioning any significant change that would require leadership. Abraham Maslow regarded leaders as self-actualizing individuals who are self-determined, independent of culture, and following their inner guidance to help their fellow humans. For a leader of such qualities a narrow corporate environment likely would be unsatisfying at least and possibly over longer or sooner and would also be ethically conflicting. Executives of big corporations have contributed to the mistrust in corporate ethics due to their perceived focus on self-promotion and excessive greed. What seems to be required is more compassionate leadership in the service of others respectively in the view of the broader society and humanity beyond an institutional context .
The difference between moral, ethics, and professionalism
Ninety-nine percent of the global wealth is controlled by the top one percent of richest people. The issue is that this causes, for example, the daily death of tens of thousands of innocent children who are left without the necessary means to survive, such as food or health care. Unfortunately, as long as it is a tolerated practice that the already highly concentrated wealth is invested almost exclusively in opportunities that further accentuate this income and wealth inequality, there is little hope that compassionate (moral) and ethical leadership will prevail. Corporate social responsibility struggles to demonstrate a positive impact on the single measure bottom-line of financial profit generation, why it remains not much more than an afterthought. On the one hand, public relations and marketing communications of organizations increasingly use language that includes terms like ‘sharing,’ ‘love,’ ‘community,’ and ‘better world for all,’ to brand themselves socially towards consumers who are willing to pay a premium for such labels. This is true even for industries such as tobacco and arms. On the other hand, corporate ethics training is poised to be mere professional instruction on how to operate within legal constraints without jeopardizing business performance. This may be diligent management to serve capital, but not leadership to improve the human condition.
Shaping the role of genuinely great managerial leadership
Again, in all kinds of organizational settings, there may be a necessary mix of administrative and leadership qualities at work, suggesting a combined role of a ‘managerial leader’ .
Maybe the understanding of managerial leadership as based on self-actualization could further evolve to increasingly focus the help of other people in the organizational context while also not losing sight of the fairness towards and the well-being of people in the broader national societal and even global humanitarian context. Importantly, we should not forget that such a broadening of the benefits of leadership requires courageous first-/early-moving followers, who lead others not to remain passive bystanders but to support change towards growth and development of all actively. Asking managerial questions for organizational survival is foundational, but without further questioning on what basis, to what extent, and at whose cost, it is difficult to see real leadership added to management. The more inclusive and compassionate questions get expanded to the scope of all humanity, the greater the leadership involved.
In the current economic and competitive context, cooperation may indeed risk losing some battles in the field of short-term inter-organizational rivalry. However, already today more than ever, genuinely great managerial leadership also can become a competitive advantage and an opportunity for priceless emotional rewards for our all well-being. I think we are on the way to return to a more overall life-relevant philosophical understanding of leadership in which everyone’s full human potential is embraced. In that sense, leadership beyond management is relevant and possible for all of us. If we all assume a managerial leadership role, we don’t need managers anymore. Let’s take the chance.
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Self-leadership process and the ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’
Emotional self-leadership and authenticity
Educational, physical, health, stress, and coping benefits of self-leadership
Self-leadership competences in leadership development, recruitment, and work performance
Self-leadership process and the ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’
Modern leadership at increasingly challenging workplaces tends to move away from the mere function of supervising employees but aims to empower the workforce to improve organizational effectiveness, e.g., managers being able to rely on their people . “Self-leadership is the process through which individuals target their cognitions and actions toward desired outcomes” . Desired outcomes may be intrinsically motivated , or externally influenced, i.e., being learned as, for example, when being asked to set performance goals in an organizational setting . Such task motivation, as well as cognitive thought strategies like visualization, positive affirmations and the examination of personal beliefs, are positively related to career development . These strategies are also supporting a charismatic leadership style . Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ profile can be used to measure self-leadership competency and includes the following seven habits , p. 1424:
Be Proactive (take responsibility for your own behavior),
Begin with the End in Mind (have a clear vision of what to achieve and accomplish),
Put First Things First (focus heavily on highly important but not necessarily urgent activities),
Think Win-Win (look for synergistic solutions to problems),
Seek First to Under- stand (listen with the intent to fully understand the other person, both emotionally and intellectually),
Synergize (believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts), and
Sharpen the Saw (seek continuous improvement).
Emotional self-leadership and authenticity
Cognitive and behavioral processes also involve emotional responses as evidenced by neuroscience . Emotion regulation is part of emotional intelligence  and together with self-leadership could be conceptualized as emotional self-leadership . When situations cause a person to hide or express feelings differently than the actual emotions, compromised authenticity comes with negative consequences for an individual’s well-being. Inauthenticity may also affect the interaction with others and therefore impact relational effectiveness, be it in private or at the workplace .
Educational, physical, health, stress, and coping benefits of self-leadership
Self-leadership can, as a related training program with soldiers showed, significantly improve educational and physical achievements. Further benefits are higher levels of self-efficacy and reduced stress . Healthy self-regulation in high-stress environments as studied in academia can potentially be even increased when combining self-leadership with mindfulness training . For example, cancer patients with self-leadership skills were found to cope better with their disease .
Self-leadership competences in leadership development, recruitment, and work performance
Some researchers suggest that self-leadership may help women leaders reflect on themselves to improve their leadership of others . Similarly, the concept seems to be promising for leadership development and recruitment in general . By supporting unsatisfied employees (e.g., contractors concerned about their status of employment) in their self-leadership, perceptions of the workplace can be improved . Extended to the team and societal context, self-leadership is helping team development and performance that will stimulate socio-economic growth . Despite all these general promises, in an organizational workplace context, the following differentiation has to be made. Behavioral strategies such as goal setting are indeed effective strategies, but self-navigation by natural motivation and constructive thought patterns did not positively influence performance in organizational work environments .
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Summary. Shared leadership as part of modern transformational leadership style has proven to favorably influence team effectiveness and the achievement of an organizational balance between opportunity-seeking and advantage-seeking innovation, which positively impacts company performance. Mastery goal orientation (i.e., learning and development) rather than performance goal orientation (i.e., competition and social comparison) results in better group performance as required to solve complex problems. Therefore, questioning hierarchy and leadership is critically important to improve teamwork. High professional identification and altruistic and service-oriented goals are necessary for the successful development of collaboration competency and collective leadership.
Shared Consensus in Decision-Making in Animal and Human Studies
Unshared consensus and single leaders were assumed to be the norm in species like macaques and horses. However, studies have found that, in fact, also these animals take decisions based on consensus shared among group members . In human leadership research, shared leadership (including collective and distributed leadership) as part of modern transformational leadership style evidently has a positive effect on team effectiveness . Indirectly through the creation of organizational adaptability that enables finding the balance between opportunity-seeking and advantage-seeking innovation, shared leadership favorably influences company performance .
Leadership Style Depending on Relational Trust and Goal Orientation
In healthcare, flat hierarchies and shared decision-making structures that empower leaders on all levels, are suitable strategies to add to patient safety and employee well-being ; . Learning is another area for which collaboration is beneficial . Although the most effective way to enhance student achievement is the creation of professional learning communities, many middle schools still focus on managing test scores instead of enabling team learning processes in a collaborative learning environment . Regarding tensions between official functions and citizens, for institutions like police departments, transformational leadership with a shared cooperative vision is imperative .
Trust was found to increase the likelihood of collaborative engagement between teachers , and to be a success factor for re-culturing schools . Trust seems to be the necessary condition to enable the exchange of knowledge . Shared information and knowledge elaboration allow diverse groups to develop practical solutions to challenging problems . As studies in groups of children showed, leadership styles may depend on whether set goals are related to learning and development (mastery goal orientation) or competition and social comparison (performance goal orientation). Mastery orientation proved to contribute positively to shared responsibility and resulted in better group performance (i.e., solving a complicated math problem) than the performance condition in which lack of communication, member dissonance, and exclusion led to the use of forceful domination instead of cooperative leadership .
Challenging Hierarchy and Leadership to Improve Teamwork
Besides individual characteristics such as enthusiasm, vision, and knowledge, organizational culture, political situation, and member composition are influential factors for the development of shared leadership capacity . Questioning hierarchy and leadership to improve teamwork  may be necessary but also challenging within traditional settings . Group processes can be problematic for individuals who are used to concentrate high power . Low professional identification as well as weak focus on, for example, patient safety or student success hinders support for shared leadership too . Not insisting in mere self-reliance in information elaboration  and valuing altruism and service towards others are critically important for the successful development of collaboration competency and collective leadership .
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When presenting Platform Cooperativism as a fairer user-/worker-owned model of running online platforms, I often hear answers like “that’s a great idea, but it’s too difficult to realize.” However, technology to implement the co-operative digital economy is emerging. Solutions become available to sustainably crowd-source, share value, and govern democratically. Hexalina.io is one such example.
It is now generally admitted that income inequality is one of the biggest problems of our world and a peril to the fabric of our society. A few years ago, the rise of the “sharing economy” gave great hopes to change this: soon everybody would be self-employed, and benefit from the new opportunities unlocked by the internet, technology and platforms.
Today, unfortunately, the reality is bleaker: millions of people have indeed become self-employed and provide the services that increase –sometimes dramatically- the value of these platforms thanks to the network effect they create and the customer adoption they generate.
However, neither the contributors, nor the customers of the platforms have the opportunity to own a share of the value they create.
A lot of people realize this is counterproductive and eventually unsustainable. However, there seems to be no easy solution that can address the problem and scale to match its rate of expansion.
What we propose is a technology that can be integrated into platforms, allowing them to adopt a more collaborative approach where interests of owners, customers and contributors are aligned, because a fraction of the created value is shared fairly between them.
Think of it as the “Fairtrade” label for a platform. We call it the “sustainable network effect”.
Industry adaption of Platform Cooperativism is the goal of the Platform Cooperativism Japan (PCJ) Consortium. Although awareness and motivation for the co-operative way is crucial, if there is no easy way to act upon, good intentions don’t get realized. That’s where technology solutions come into play.
The PCJ Consortium supports the cooperative digital economy through research, experimentation, education, advocacy, documentation of best practices, technical support, the coordination of funding, and events.
Transformational leaders who are utilizing humor are more effective in winning trust and affective commitment from their followers. However, not every leadership style is similarly suited to employ humor as a co-existing leadership characteristic. Several types of humor have to be differentiated, such as, for example, constructive and aggressive humor. Shared laughter avoids conflict, creates teams and sparks innovation. Despite cultural specifics in how followers appreciate leaders’ humor, effective leaders globally may employ humor as a powerful means to harness emotional and diplomatic effects that enable the formation of positive leader-follower exchanges and the leadership of change.
Humor and Leadership: A Bi-directional Relationship
Research has not yet managed to compile a holistic theory of humor and is continuing to study the influences of humor in leader-follower relationships . The expression of positive, such as affiliative , constructive , and self-deprecating humor as a leader’s offer to bridge authority gaps between him and his followers  might increase acceptance of leadership. The effect is two-sided, i.e., a leader’s humor can improve the leader-follower relationship and consequently also creates the atmosphere supportive for further use of humor by the subordinate too that, which on its part reinforces the positive emotions involved on both sides . Transformational leaders who are utilizing humor are more effective in winning trust and affective commitment from their followers .
Matching Types of Humor and Leadership
For leaders who set clear expectations related to goals and rewards, humor increases their effectiveness. Interestingly, these leaders are perceived even more persuasive when they use aggressive humor that is pointing to a common threat . However, aggressive humor causes defamation, decry, disrespect, embarrassment, and ridicule of groups and individuals . An aggressive and offensive humor style potentially creates the feeling of exclusion , but only among those followers who are not in favor with the leader . For the targets of aggressive humor, the results are often negative impacts on private and professional life, such as related to performance, attendance, safety, and health . Leaders with a rather laissez-fair style can’t afford humor style as it may be seen as a tactic of self-enhancement and a proof for taking the situation not seriously enough . Such dependencies also depend on followers’ need for certainty and guidance; light-heartedness in the form of humor may better resonate with followers who need less structure .
The Usefulness of an Organizational “Jester”
The use of humor as a specific aspect of leadership processes can be used to produce shared laughter that is allowing to raise critical topics in a group in a conflict-alleviating way ; ; . Scientific experiments showed that the stimulation of laughter increased the subsequent creativity of study participants thanks to better mood and a sense of safe environment . The Hallmark Card Company in Kansas City introduced an organizational role with the unofficial description of “jester” that used humorous storytelling in leadership workshops, e.g., in the form of caricatures, to disarray gridlocked hierarchical structures in the firm and foster innovation . While storytelling is helpful to soften unnecessary direct critique, it can also be misused to disinform followers .
Humor appreciation depends on cultural context
The extent to which different cultures value humor as a related leadership characteristic may vary significantly. For example, Chinese employees, compared to US workers, emphasize more seriousness than humor in a “serious” work environment to build leader-follower relationships . In conclusion, though, effective leaders globally may employ humor to create emotional and diplomatic effects enabling the lead of change .
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