Tag Archives: Individualism

Cross-Cultural Transformational Leadership


In an increasingly interdependent world, global leadership understanding for international collaboration [1] is vital for the development of cross-cultural leadership [2]. This essay provides some hints on what might be determining leadership prototype’s effectiveness from different global perspectives [3].

Universal and culture-specific features of transformational leadership

Transformational leadership facilitates change through shared vision, intellectual stimulation, and support of individual’s aspirations [4] and is therefore essential for solving contemporary threats that require change [5]. Social change movements need to be put into the context of globalization [6]. The effectiveness of general transformational leadership was found a cross-culturally valid concept [7]. For example, transformational leaders were able to motivate their followers independent of cultural context [8]. In contrast, the desirability and effectiveness of transactional leadership turned out to be culture-dependent [9]. On a more detailed level, also transformational leadership contains some culture-sensitive aspects [10]. 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 [11].

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 [12], what are these factors then? Leadership literature has been criticized for being US-centric [2]. Indeed, 98 percent of leadership concepts stem from Western values and don’t assume a cross-cultural view [12]. As change involves setting goals [13], and as beliefs about goals represent values, it becomes clear that leadership is not decoupled from the social and cultural context [14]. Consequently, subordinates may respond differently according to their cultural value orientation [15]. 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 [16]. 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 [17].

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 [18]. Especially power distance orientation has proven to provide a better individual-level measure than individualism/collectivism as the central cultural value [4]. 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 [21]. Beyond national culture, there are even more relevant variables, such as politics, language, feminine and masculine tendencies, and organizational culture [22]. Person-job fit was fund to mediate inclusive leadership and employee well-being [23]. In an increasingly interdependent world, global leadership understanding for international collaboration [1] is vital for the development of cross-cultural leadership [2]. This essay provided some hints on what might be determining leadership prototype’s effectiveness from different global perspectives [3].

photo credit: geralt (pixabay.com)


[1] Huffman, J. B., Olivier, D. F., Wang, T., Chen, P., Hairon, S., & Pang, N. (2016). Global Conceptualization of the Professional Learning Community Process: Transitioning from Country Perspectives to International Commonalities. International Journal Of Leadership In Education, 19(3), 327-351.

[2] Rakesh, M., & Steven M., E. (2016). Social power and leadership in cross-cultural context. Journal Of Management Development, (1), 58. doi:10.1108/JMD-02-2014-0020

[3] Jung, D., Yammarino, F. J., & Lee, J. K. (2009). Moderating role of subordinates’ attitudes on transformational leadership and effectiveness: A multi-cultural and multi-level perspective. The Leadership Quarterly, 20(4), 586-603. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2009.04.011

[4] Kirkman, B. L., Chen, G., Farh, J., Chen, Z. X., & Lowe, K. B. (2009). Individual power distance orientation and follower reactions to transformatioal leaders: A cross-level, cross-cultural examination. Academy Of Management Journal, 52(4), 744-764. doi:10.5465/AMJ.2009.43669971

[5] Berger, R., Romeo, M., Guardia, J., Yepes, M., & Soria, M. A. (2012). Psychometric properties of the Spanish Human System Audit Short-Scale of transformational leadership. The Spanish Journal Of Psychology, 15(1), 367-376.

[6] Chen, S., & Kompf, M. (2012). Chinese Scholars on Western Ideas about Thinking, Leadership, Reform and Development in Education. [e;ectronic book].

[7] Petia, P., & Herbert, B. (2017). Cross-Cultural Variation in Political Leadership Styles. Europe’s Journal Of Psychology, Vol 13, Iss 4, Pp 749-766 (2017), (4), 749. doi:10.5964/ejop.v13i4.1412

[8] Wang, Z., & Gagné, M. (2013). A Chinese–Canadian cross-cultural investigation of transformational leadership, autonomous motivation, and collectivistic value. Journal Of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 20(1), 134-142. doi:10.1177/1548051812465895

[9] Hussain, G., Wan Ismail, W. K., & Javed, M. (2017). Comparability of leadership constructs from the Malaysian and Pakistani perspectives. Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, 24(4), 617-644. doi:10.1108/CCSM-11-2015-0158

[10] Lam, Y. J. (2002). Defining the Effects of Transformational Leadership on Organisational Learning: A Cross-Cultural Comparison. School Leadership & Management, 22(4), 439-52.

[11] Ergeneli, A., Gohar, R., & Temirbekova, Z. (2007). Transformational leadership: Its relationship to culture value dimensions. International Journal Of Intercultural Relations, 31(6), 703-724. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2007.07.003

[12] Ryu, S. Y. (2015). Kunja leadership: Concept and nomological validity. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 36(6), 744-764. doi:10.1108/LODJ-12-2013-0167

[13] Clarke, G. A. (2009). An Essay on Leadership, Especially through South African and New Zealand Cultural Lenses. International Journal Of Leadership In Education, 12(2), 209-216.

[14] James C., S., & Joseph C., S. (2001). Leaders and values: a cross-cultural study. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, (5), 243. doi:10.1108/01437730110397310

[15] Louw, L., Muriithi, S. M., & Radloff, S. (2017). The relationship between transformational leadership and leadership effectiveness in Kenyan indigenous banks. South African Journal Of Human Resource Management, 15(1), 1-11. doi:10.4102/sajhrm.v15i0.935

[16] Suzana Dobric, V. (2017). Charismatic, Transformational, and Servant Leadership in the United States, Mexico, and Croatia. International Journal Of Business And Social Research , Vol 6, Iss 12, Pp 25-34 (2017), (12), 25. doi:10.18533/ijbsr.v6i12.1003

[17] Yang, I. (2016). Lost overseas?: The challenges facing Korean transformational leadership in a cross-cultural context. Critical Perspectives On International Business, 12(2), 121-139. doi:10.1108/cpoib-09-2013-0036

[18] Lee, K., Scandura, T. A., & Sharif, M. M. (2014). Cultures have consequences: A configural approach to leadership across two cultures. Leadership Quarterly, 25(4), 692-710.

[19] Hofstede, G. (1980), Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values, Sage, Beverly Hills, CA.

[20] Hofstede, G. (2001), Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations, 2nd ed., Sage, Newbury Park, CA

[21] Newman, A., & Butler, C. (2014). The influence of follower cultural orientation on attitudinal responses towards transformational leadership: Evidence from the Chinese hospitality industry. The International Journal Of Human Resource Management, 25(7), 1024-1045. doi:10.1080/09585192.2013.815250

[22] Chin-Chung (Joy), C. (2011). Climbing the Himalayas : A cross-cultural analysis of female leadership and glass ceiling effects in non-profit organizations. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, (8), 760. doi:10.1108/01437731111183720

[23] Choi, S. B., Thi Bich Hanh, T., & Kang, S. (2017). Inclusive Leadership and Employee Well-Being: The Mediating Role of Person-Job Fit. Journal Of Happiness Studies, 18(6), 1877-1901.



Visiting individual existences
Natural, awakening places
Kissing compassion and potential
Inspiring mysterious doors

Escaping forced appearances
Sterile, lulling spaces
Sucking possession and control
Depressing golden gates
Far away

Being driven or thriving? Sigmund Freud versus Carl Rogers on human motivation


Sigmund Freud suggests inborn mental processes, the id, which represents an unconscious and irrational force along the sexual development from childhood to grown-up personality (Ziegler, 2002). Freud used the term ‘drive’ to explain the unconscious triggers causing the variety of human behavior (Gillespie, 2014). It is the superego’s function to consciously guide socially compatible actions in a person’s hedonistic pursuit of pleasure (Cooper, 2010). If drive appetite is not satisfied (Shuman, 2016), psychopathological symptoms in manifestations linkable to childhood background may arise as the result of the ego’s defense against the demands of the id (Cooper, 2010). Freud’s therapeutic approach bases on therapist-led analysis that are making such unconscious discrepancies conscious to the client (Mogg, Stopa, & Bradley, 2001).

In contrast to Freud, Carl Rogers explains motivation as an innate tendency of a person to self-actualize, i.e. self-determine its personality towards bringing together the real and the ideal self as close as possible (Finke, 2002). Although the self-actualization tendency, like Freud’s id, is considered to be a constitutional factor, Rogers’ self-concept theory assumes that humans are rationally reasoning (Ziegler, 2002). The increased emphasis on characteristics such as values, will, and self-realization are constituents of humanistic psychology (Walsh & Vaughan, 1980). For humanists like Rogers, “the purpose of one’s life rests in becoming the self that one truly is” (Winston, 2016, p. 150). Rogers’ self-concept aligns to positive psychology’s concept and motives of life (Finke, 2002). These stand for the human motivation to strive for personal development and achieve well-being, for example by successfully studying, crafting, and relating (Joseph, 2013). Such activities for Freud, including wishful thinking (Elster, 2010), can only satisfy the original drives as temporary and partial substitutes though (Boag, 2017).


Both Freud’s and Rogers’ clinical approach cannot rely on evidence of large samples and statistical analysis that could be seen as scientifically preferable (Giordano, 2014). Both use self-report data of clients (Mogg et al., 2001) whereby for Rogers’ work recordings are available allowing a certain verifiability (Goldfried, 2007).

Dream analysis as a therapeutic technique to read the unconscious (Ziegler, 2002) implies that dreams are motivated. Indeed, according to Boag (2017), dopamine and motivation play a role in dreams and therefore are in support of this aspect of Freud’s psychoanalysis. However, Freud’s theory of the unconscious mind does not describe in more detail what is known from contemporary neuroscience and behavioral research regarding how instincts, feelings, and reasoning are networking together (Levine, 2017). Mogg et al. (2001) states that Freud’s concept of unconsciousness is not scientifically falsifiable.

According to Coopers (2010), Freud’s psychoanalysis has not proven to be effective. On the other side, the clinical and empirical data from Rogers’ therapies are supporting the person-centered approach related to his concept of the self (Goldfried, 2007). Empirical positive psychology studies have backed Rogers self-concept theory, and a psychologically healthy and thriving person, in fact, has been found to relate to the concept of self-actualization (Proctor, 2016).


Rogers theory seems to be a more holistic concept. Freud’s reductionistic (Walsh, 1980) approach to personality development is limited to childhood years (Ziegler, 2002). Rogers’ motivations do not focus on a narrow definition of personality (Cooper, 2010) like Freud’s central assumption of sexuality and aggression as the sole human primary motivations (Shuman, 2016). Freud’s psychoanalysis may have tapped only a fraction of the unconscious mind (Levine, 2012) and the concept of pleasure alone may be a too simplistic explanation for a human life’s purpose (Behrani, 2017). In contrast to Freud (Ziegler, 2002), according to Rogers, a person is capable of autonomously increasing his or her well-being during a lifetime (Proctor, Tweed, & Morris, 2016).



Behrani, P. (2017). Beyond the Freud’s pleasure principle: The Indian perspective to pleasure. Indian Journal Of Positive Psychology, 8(1), 73.

Boag, S. (2017). On dreams and motivation: Comparison of Freud’s and Hobson’s views. Frontiers In Psychology, 7doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.02001

Cooper, C. (2010). Individual differences and personality (3rd ed.). London: Hodder Education.

Elster, J. (2010). Self-poisoning of the mind. Philosophical Transactions Of The Royal Society Of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 365(1538), 221-226. doi:10.1098/rstb.2009.0176

Finke, J. (2002). Aspects of the actualizing tendency from a humanistic psychology perspective. Person-Centered And Experiential Psychotherapies, 1(1-2), 28-40. doi:10.1080/14779757.2002.9688276Gillespie, P. (2014). Revisiting Freud’s drive theory in the psychoanalytic clinic. Issues In Psychoanalytic Psychology, 3621.

Giordano, P. J. (2014). Personality as continuous stochastic process: what Western personality theory can learn from classical confucianism. Integrative Psychological & Behavioral Science, 48(2), 111-128. doi:10.1007/s12124-013-9250-2

Goldfried, M. R. (2007). What has psychotherapy inherited from Carl Rogers?. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 44(3), 249-252. doi:10.1037/0033-3204.44.3.249

Joseph, S., & Murphy, D. (2013). Person-Centered Approach, Positive Psychology, and Relational Helping: Building Bridges. Journal Of Humanistic Psychology, 53(1), 26-51. doi:10.1177/0022167812436426

Levine, D. S. (2017). Modeling the instinctive-emotional-thoughtful mind. Cognitive Systems Research, doi:10.1016/j.cogsys.2017.05.002

Mogg, K., Stopa, L., & Bradley, B. P. (2001). ‘From the conscious into the unconscious:’ What can cognitive theories of psychopathology learn from Freudian theory?. Psychological Inquiry, 12(3), 139-143.

Proctor, C., Tweed, R., & Morris, D. (2016). The Rogerian Fully Functioning Person. Journal Of Humanistic Psychology, 56(5), 503-529. doi:10.1177/0022167815605936

Shuman, R. B. (2016). Motivation (psychology). Salem Press Encyclopedia Of Health,

Walsh, R. N., & Vaughan, F. (1980). BEYOND THE EGO: TOWARD TRANSPERSONAL MODELS OF THE PERSON AND PSYCHOTHERAPY. Journal Of Humanistic Psychology, 20(1), 5.

Winston, C. N. (2016). An existential-humanistic-positive theory of human motivation. The Humanistic Psychologist, 44(2), 142-163. doi:10.1037/hum0000028

Ziegler, D. J. (2002). Freud, Rogers, and Ellis: A comparative theoretical analysis. Journal Of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 20(2), 75-92. doi:10.1023/A:1019808217623

Solving the “everybody’s problem becomes nobody’s responsibility” issue


Predominance of responsibility at the individual level rather than at the societal-level

Floridi (2016) is pointedly describing the issue around the distribution respectively diffusion of responsibility as “everybody’s problem becomes nobody’s responsibility” (p. 11). He suggests a framework that is recommitting responsibility for any action of a collective back to the individual by rejecting the concept of faultless responsibility, i.e., even when an individual would lack intention or information regarding the immorality of his action (Floridi, 2016). Ralston et al. (2014) found that the individual level determines ethical behavior rather than the societal level. This may be surprising when considering, for many psychological explanations often defining, the influence of culture and society. One possible explanation could be that there is an increasing variety of values within a single culture (Ralston et al., 2014). One type of collectivist setting, however, was found to be influencing ethical behavior, namely institutional collectivism (Ralston et al., 2014).

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