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Ethical leadership across cultures: a comparative analysis of German and US perspectives

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This paper examines beliefs about four aspects of ethical leadership –Character/Integrity, Altruism, Collective Motivation and Encouragement– in Germany and the United States using data from Project GLOBE (Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness) and a supplemental analysis. Within the context of a push toward convergence driven by the demands of globalization and the pull toward divergence underpinned by different cultural values and philosophies in the two countries, we focus on two questions: Do middle managers from the United States and Germany differ in their beliefs about ethical leadership? And, do individuals from these two countries attribute different characteristics to ethical leaders? Results provide evidence that while German and US middle managers, on average, differed in the degree of endorsement for each aspect, they each endorsed Character/Integrity, Collective Motivation and Encouragement as important for effective leadership and had a more neutral view of the importance of Altruism. The findings are reviewed within the social-cultural context of each country.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Germanic Studies, Trinity College, Dublin, Eire; 2: Management Department, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA; 3: School of Business, Trinity College, Dublin, Eire; 4: Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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