The relationship between culturally endorsed leadership theory (CLT) factors and project success
a literature review
The existing literature on organizational behavior and general management theory frequently reports on the impacts of leadership and culture on organizations. Project management researchers have explored the relationship between leadership and project success and, to a minor extent, between national culture and project success; however, there seems to be a gap in research on the relationship between national culture, leadership, and project success. In the GLOBE study of 62 societies, researchers have investigated the relationship between national culture and leadership, and developed the culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory (CLT) and the factors. However, the GLOBE study did not explore the relationship between culturally contingent leadership factors and project success; it also did not investigate the practical implications of CLT factors on project success. Thus, this literature review provides an opportunity to bring these bodies of literature together so that we can explore the relationship between national culture, leadership, and project success, along with practical implications. This study aims to investigate the relationship between culturally contingent leadership factors and project success dimensions from a CLT perspective in the context of a high power distance culture. Our point of departure is national culture, leadership competencies, culturally contingent aspects of leadership, cultural dimensions of the GLOBE study, project success factors, and project success criteria. This literature review builds upon the research and theoretical framework of the GLOBE study and attempts to extend it to the project management arena. It provides direction for theory development from the CLT and project management perspectives. Through our proposed research model and a series of hypotheses, researchers can investigate the relationship between CLT factors and project success criteria, which can also have practical implications in the project management field. It can allow organizations globally to choose project managers with certain culturally contingent leadership traits and possibly enhance the project success rate; thus, billions of dollars can be saved by delivering projects successfully around the globe.
Keywords: national culture; leadership; culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory (CLT); project success; GLOBE study
According to McFarland, Senen, and Childress (1993), the 21st century would be known as the “global world.” Because the world has become a global village, it requires leaders to be global, and organizations need to cross societal, cultural, and physical boundaries to manage teams. Therefore, there is a great need for effective international and cross-cultural communication, collaboration, and cooperation (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004). Alfred Zeien, the retired CEO of Gillette, stated that globally literate leaders were scarce in his company (Ehrlich, 2002; House et al., 2004). In a survey of Fortune 500 firms, having competent global leaders was rated as the most important factor for business success (House et al., 2004). In the same survey, 85% of executives stated that they do not think they have an adequate number of global leaders, and more than 65% believe that their existing leaders needed additional skills and knowledge before they can meet or exceed the challenge of global leadership (Gregersen, Morrison, & Black, 1998; House et al., 2004). Researchers have also cited that there is a need for leadership in organizations (Gregersen, Morrison, & Black, 1998; House et al., 2004). Turner and Müller (2003) have defined project as a “temporary organization to which resources are assigned to undertake a unique, novel and transient endeavor managing the inherent uncertainty and need for integration in order to deliver beneficial objectives of change.” Because a project is also an organization, although temporary, it also requires leadership, which leads us to the significance of the leadership style of the project managers on project success. According to Müller and Turner (2010), the competence of the project manager, including his or her leadership style is a contributor to project success and, also, different types of projects require different profiles of competence. In their research, Müller and Turner (2010) have shown that the importance attached to project success criteria is different in different cultures; therefore, the evaluation of success is influenced by national culture, because the decision on project success criteria is determined by the weight assigned to different project success criteria.
Research has been conducted in the past on the relationship between national culture and leadership and then between leadership style and project success; however, the literature review indicates a ‘gap' in research on the relationship between national culture, leadership, and project success. The gap exists because the literature has not been tied together to bring these three bodies of knowledge together. In addition, the theoretical framework and CLT factors of the GLOBE study (House et al., 2004) have not been extended and tested in the project management field. There is also a gap in research to explore the practical implications of CLT factors on project success criteria (Müller & Turner, 2007a); thus, the aim of this literature review is to bridge these gaps. We review the literature and try to explore if national culture has an impact on the leadership style of a project manager and to what extent the leadership style contributes to the success of a project.
Some of the earlier studies have indicated a relationship between national culture and leadership. As per Javidan and Carl (2004), the relationship between national culture and leadership is an important and debatable subject. Due to the global nature of businesses, practitioners and researchers are keen on explaining the impact of national culture on leadership attributes/competencies (Javidan & Carl, 2004). Other researchers have argued for a direct impact of culture on leadership styles, arguing that specific cultural traditions and norms are bound to differentiate leadership styles (Smith & Peterson, 1988). What may work in one culture may not work in another (House et al., 1999). Thus, projects that are successful in one cultural setting may not be successful in another culture, because leadership competencies of project managers in different cultures and countries might be different.
Hofstede and Bond (1988) have stated that power distance is an important determinant of leadership styles. They also state that countries with a high power distance culture prefer autocratic leadership and a strong directive approach by supervisors. As per Javidan et al. (2006b), countries that score high on the power distance cultural dimension are more stratified economically, socially, and politically. Those in positions of authority expect and receive obedience. People in these cultures tend to have hierarchical decision-making processes (Javidan et al., 2006b).
The GLOBE (Global Organizational Behavior Effectiveness) Research (House et al., 2004) has been one of the largest studies in recent times to link national culture and global leadership attributes. This study was a 10-year program based on quantitative data analysis of about 17,000 responses from managers working at 951 organizations, which were functioning in 62 societies throughout the world. The GLOBE study (House et al., 2004) is significant because it focuses on global culture dimensions and leadership attributes that are contingent upon national culture. Both national culture dimensions and leadership attributes are directly related to our research topic. For a deeper and broader understanding of the GLOBE study (House et al., 2004), we also explore the literature published by critics of the GLOBE study, including Hofstede (2006, 2010), Maseland and Van Hoorn (2009), and Brewer and Venaik (2010).
First, we review the existing literature on each of these three aspects: national culture, leadership, and project success. Second, the relationship between these three aspects is explored and analyzed and it provides the basis for a theoretical framework, research model, and the hypotheses proposed in this paper. National culture and leadership are commonly cited in organizational behavior and general management literature, whereas project success has been investigated in project management literature. Therefore, we investigate the literature on organizational behavior, general management, and project management in order to understand and explore the relationship between the three aspects.
In addition, the literature on the relationship between culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory (CLT) factors of the GLOBE study (House et al., 2004) and project success criteria is explored. Our study can be helpful from a theoretical as well as a practical perspective. It has theoretical implications because it attempts to extend the GLOBE study and the CLT factors into the project management arena, with a focus on project success. It will provide future direction for theory development from CLT and project success perspectives. From a practical perspective, our research can help organizations to recruit project managers with certain culturally contingent leadership traits and profiles in order to deliver projects successfully.
The GLOBE study (House et al., 2004) has investigated the relationship between national culture and leadership with organization as its unit of analysis. We try to extend the GLOBE research into project management with the project manager as a unit of analysis. Our research also builds upon the research that has been conducted by Müller and Turner (2007a; 2007b) on the relationship between leadership competencies and project success.
We explore the literature around the following research questions:
- What is the relationship between national culture, leadership, and project success in high power distance culture?
- What is the relationship between culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory (CLT) factors and project success in a high power distance culture?
- What is the leadership profile (by project type) of a project manager working in a high power distance culture?
General Management Literature on National Culture
Social scientists have not agreed on a universal definition of culture (House et al., 2004). Generally speaking, culture is reduced by researchers to a set of parameters of collectives that differentiate each collective in a meaningful way (House et al., 2004). One of the most notable and quantitative research studies on culture was done by Geert Hofstede. He is credited for his studies on culture and for exploring the differences among different cultures; thus, we begin by looking at the concept of culture as defined by Hofstede. Hofstede (1984, p. 81) defines culture as:
The collective programming of the mind, which distinguishes the members of one group or society from those of another. Management within a society is very much constrained by its cultural context, because it is impossible to coordinate the actions of people without a deep understanding of their values, beliefs, and expression.
The cultural dimensions model of Hofstede is popular for assessing and distinguishing between national cultures. Through research within a large multinational organization and its subsidiaries in more than 67 countries (Hofstede, 1984), Hofstede identified five major dimensions to explain the differences among cultures:
1. Power Distance: The extent to which the members of a society accept that power in institutions and organizations is distributed unequally. This dimension addresses the issue of how people in a society handle inequalities when they take place, which has very clear implications for the way people build their institutions and organizations (Hofstede, 1984).
2. Individualism versus Collectivism: In individualist cultures, individuals are supposed to take care of themselves and their immediate family. On the other hand, collectivistic cultures are represented by individuals who can expect their relatives, clans, or other groups to look after them with unquestioning loyalty. This dimension addresses the issue of the degree of interdependence a society maintains among individuals, emphasizing the concept of ‘I' or ‘we' (Hofstede, 1984).
3. Uncertainty Avoidance: The degree to which members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty or ambiguity. The main issue addressed by this dimension is how a society deals with the issue of time, taking into consideration the fact that time only runs one way and the future is uncertain, so whether society should try to control the future or let it happen. This dimension also has an impact on the way people build their institutions and organizations (Hofstede, 1984).
4. Masculinity versus Femininity: Masculinity signifies a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness, and material success. Femininity, on the other hand, represents a preference in society for relationships, modesty, caring for the weak, and the quality of life. The main issue addressed by this dimension is the way in which social roles, within a culture, are allocated to the sexes (Hofstede, 1984).
5. Long-term Orientation: The extent to which a society develops and adopts a long-term attachment to traditional values (Hofstede, 2004).
It can be learned from Hofstede's definition of culture, as well as the five dimensions, that a project manager can be influenced by these cultural dimensions because he or she does not work in isolation. A project manager would hold values and beliefs while living in a society or culture and executing projects. Different project managers would score differently on Hofstede's five dimensions; however, Hofstede does not relate these cultural dimensions to leadership styles. Therefore, it is hard to ascertain from Hofstede's study (Hofstede, 2004) whether these dimensions have any relationship with a project manager's leadership competencies or traits.
People in high power distance cultures tend to have hierarchical decision-making processes (Javidan et al., 2006b). This indicates that project managers working in high power distance cultures might adopt hierarchical decision-making processes, which might have a relationship with project success. On the other hand, countries with a low power distance culture prefer participatory management and a consultative approach by supervisors (Dorfman, 1996).
Research shows that differences in cultural values help explain the variance in job satisfaction and organizational commitment of employees. Because a project is also a temporary organization (Turner & Müller, 2003), it can also be impacted by national culture. Culture is an important antecedent to organizational commitment (Meyer & Allen, 1991; Wiener, 1982). Clugston, Howell, and Dorfman (2000) identify important relationships between individual measures of culture and the elements of a nine-factor commitment model to support the view that cultural socialization is antecedent to organizational commitment. Palich, Hom, and Griffeth (1995) found employee commitment levels in 15 European and Canadian affiliates of a U.S. multinational company to be significantly, negatively affected by individualism, and uncertainty avoidance and commitment levels were significantly, positively affected by masculinity. Hui, Yee, and Eastman (1995) found a positive relationship between collectivism and job satisfaction. Kirkman and Shapiro (2001) build upon previous research and argue through a theoretical model that cultural values may create resistance to management initiatives (such as self-managing work trams), which in turn leads to negative organizational outcomes. These studies indicate a relationship, positive or negative, between national culture and organization, which means there can be a relationship between national culture and a project. However, these studies do not explain the nature of the relationship between national culture and project; therefore, we also reviewed the Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1998) model of culture.
According to a quantitative study of Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1998), culture consists of a number of layers: there is an outer layer (explicit products), which consists of the products and artifacts that represent the symbols of the deeper and more basic values and assumptions about life. Then there is the middle layer, which consists of the norms and values of an individual group. Norms are described as the mutual sense a group has of what is “right” and wrong.” Values determine the meaning of “good” and “bad,” and are thus related to the ideas shared by a group (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1998). The core layer is the implicit layer, which represents the shared meanings that are integrated into people within a culture, yet go beyond the people in the culture (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1998). This model of culture is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: A model of culture (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1998).
As stated by Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1998), basic norms and values can vary across cultures and countries. Similarly, project managers' norms and values can differ across cultures. It seems apparent from the Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1998) model that a project manager would be influenced by all three layers of the model because he or she would have basic assumptions about life, norms, and values and would believe in shared meanings and implicit assumptions about life.
National culture is an essential organizing principle of employees' understanding of work, their approach to it, and the way in which they expect to be treated (Newman & Nollen, 1996). Thus, it seems like a project manager can also use national culture as an organizing principle. Management practices that emphasize national cultural values are more likely to yield predictable behavior (Wright & Mischel, 1987), self-efficacy (Earley, 1994), and high performance (Earley, 1994), because similar management practices are consistent with existing behavioral expectations and routines that go beyond the workplace (Newman & Nolley, 1996). Therefore, it seems that national culture can have an impact on the leadership style of a project manager.
Before establishing a relationship between national culture and leadership through literature, it is important to understand leadership; therefore, the next section explores the literature on leadership.
Organizational Behavior and the Project Management Literature on Leadership
The importance of leaders for a global world has been identified, and leadership has also been a topic for researchers for decades, yet there is no universal consensus on the definition of leadership (Bass, 1990; Yukl, 2002; House et al., 2004). Leadership has been defined in different ways by more than one authority on the subject. During the first GLOBE research conference, held at the University of Calgary in Canada in 1994, fifty-four researchers from 38 countries agreed to the following GLOBE definition of leadership: “it is the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organization of which they are members” (House et al., 2004. p. 15).
Bennis and Nanus (1985, p. 62) make an important distinction between management and leadership:
To manage means to bring about, to accomplish, to have responsibility for, and to conduct. Leading is influencing, guiding in direction, course, action, and opinion. This distinction is crucial. Managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right things.
The difference between leadership and management has also been identified by Kotter (1990, p. 45): “leadership and management are two distinctive and complementary systems of action. Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change.” Thus, leadership can be important on projects, because project managers have to deal with multiple facets of change on projects (i.e., employee turnover, economic conditions, environmental changes, organization change, and others).
In a volatile and increasingly difficult business environment, both of these are essential for achieving success. Both strong leadership and strong management should be used to balance each other. Kotter (1990) emphasizes the role senior executives in an organization need to play in order to develop leaders. Leaders can be found by identifying and recruiting people who possess leadership qualities and have that potential early in their careers, and then working on nurturing and developing their skills over a period of time. However, as more people with leadership potential are needed, organizations also need more people to create the culture that creates that leadership. “Institutionalizing a leadership-centered culture is the ultimate act of leadership” (Kotter, 1990). The same can be true for projects in which leadership skills and competencies can be vital, and project managers may need to exhibit leadership qualities in order to deliver projects successfully. According to the International Project Management Association's (IPMA) Competencies Baseline, “Leadership involves providing direction and motivating others in their role or task to fulfill the project's objectives. It is a vital competence for project managers.” (IPMA, 2007, p. 86)
Leadership Theories and Competencies
The six schools of leadership theories, which have been around for the last seventy years, as summarized by Turner and Müller (2005), are:
- Trait school
- Behavior school
- Contingency school
- Visionary school
- Charismatic school
- Emotional intelligence school
The trait school concentrates on the leadership traits people are born with, such as their physical appearance, capabilities, and personalities. Behavior school focuses on the styles adopted by leaders for their particular leadership tasks and in which the leadership and behaviors can be learned. Contingency school deals with the suitability of different leadership styles in different leadership situations. Visionary and charismatic schools are concerned with organizational change. Emotional intelligence emphasizes self-management and interaction management. The trait, behavior, contingency, and emotional intelligence schools summarized by Turner and Müller (2005) are directly related to our research topic and support our research questions.
According to these schools of thought, leadership is considered as a combination of personal characteristics and areas of competency. It is seen as a combination of skills and knowledge, such as achievement and empowerment, with personal characteristics, such as conscientiousness, which make a leader (Geoghegan & Dulewicz, 2008). The theoretical framework and research model presented in this paper build upon the trait, behavior, contingency schools as described by Turner and Müller (2005) and the project success school by Turner, Huemann, Anbari, and Bredillet (2010).
The competence school is well represented by Dulewicz and Higgs. Dulewicz and Higgs (2003) have identified 15 leadership competencies, which affect the performance of leaders. The competencies have been grouped into three types: intellectual (IQ), managerial (MQ), and emotional (EQ). The Fifteen Leadership Competencies (Dulewicz & Higgs, 2003) are shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Fifteen leadership competencies (Dulewicz & Higgs, 2003).
|Intellectual||Critical analysis and judgment|
|(IQ)||Vision and imagination|
As mentioned thus far, the literature on leadership makes it quite clear that leadership is an essential part of managing organizations and people. Because a project is also a temporary organization (Turner & Müller, 2003) and it entails managing people and tasks, it also requires leadership skills and capabilities. In the next section, we explore the literature on the relationship between national culture and leadership.
Literature on the Relationship between National Culture and Leadership
We have mainly reviewed the journals and books related to organizational behavior, leadership, project management, and psychology, as they are directly related to our research questions.
National cultures and their respective management practices differ, including strategic decision-making (Schneider & DeMeyer, 1991), leadership style (Dorfman & Howell, 1988; Puffer 1993), and human resource management (Newman & Nollen, 1996). The impact of leadership style on the management and success of an international and global business is an area of research that is gaining importance. A manager's national culture plays the central role in the eventual success of international and global businesses, through the mediation of his or her cultural values on leadership style (Byrne & Bradley, 2007). The GLOBE study (House et al., 2004) is one of the popular studies conducted in this regard because it links national culture to leadership dimensions and competencies of managers.
According to House et al. (2004), cross-cultural literature has shown a strong relationship between national culture and leadership styles. As Hofstede argues, “ideas about leadership reflect the dominant culture of a country. Asking people to describe the qualities of a good leader is in fact another way of asking them to describe their culture.” (Hofstede, 2001, p. 388) Leadership affects organizational form, culture, and practice (House et al., 2004). Organizational culture is influenced and maintained by founders and subsequent leaders (Bass, 1985; Miller & Droge, 1986; Schein, 1992; Thompson & Luthans, 1990; Yukl, 2002). According to empirical evidence, leader attributes, status, behavior, and influence diverge largely because of culturally unique forces in the country or regions in which the leaders function (House, Wright, & Aditya, 1997). Many researchers have argued that there is a direct impact of culture on leadership styles (House et al., 2004), arguing that specific cultural traditions, values, ideologies, and norms are “bound to differentiate as much or even more than structural factors between societies.” (Lammers & Hickson, 1979, p. 10) The GLOBE study (House et al., 2004) investigated various leadership dimensions from national culture perspectives, which are directly related to our research questions. It seems that national culture can have an impact on the leadership style of a project manager, which in turn can have an impact on the project success. Turner and Müller (2005) and the general management literature suggest that a manager's leadership style and competence are keys to successful performance in business, and some studies have confirmed a correlation between these and the performance of organizations and companies. Turner (1999) identified leadership as one of the project success factors in its seven forces model. Müller and Turner (2010) further described that competence of the project manager, including his or her leadership style, is a contributor toward project success.
As per Javidan, Dorfman, Sully de Luque, and House (2006), the GLOBE study differentiates culture in terms of cultural practices (the way things are) and cultural values (the way things should be). Hofstede and his colleagues (Hofstede, Neuijen, Ohayr, & Sanders, 1990) make a distinction between organizational and national culture by identifying the difference between ‘values' and ‘practices.' They summarized that organizational culture relates more directly to ‘organizational practices,' whereas culture at the country/national level relates to ‘values' rather than practices (Hofstede et al., 1990). Values are defined as “broad tendencies to prefer certain states of affairs over others. Practices are more superficial and easy to change than values.” (Hofstede, 1999, p. 36) Hofstede's work leads to the conclusion that organizational cultures can be managed because their controlling factors are management practices and other organizational and contextual factors. On the other hand, national cultures are normally firmly established and they are difficult to change because they are based on values (Dastmalchian, Lee, & Ng, 2000).
Triandis (1994), in a comprehensive review of the literature on national culture and leadership, stated that the optimum leadership in a country is strongly influenced by its cultural values. He showed that employees in individualistic countries prefer more freedom and autonomy, whereas those in collective cultures favor security and in-group harmony (Javidan & Carl, 2005). It indicates that project managers' leadership competencies/styles might also be influenced by national culture. In some cultures, project managers might exercise freedom and autonomy, whereas in other cultures they might have to practice collectivism. As per Hofstede (1980), collectivistic cultures are represented by individuals who can expect their relatives, clans, or other groups to look after them with unquestioning loyalty. This might mean that project managers working in collectivistic cultures might be expected to take care of their relatives, clans, or other family associations.
Literature Review of the GLOBE Study
The GLOBE study of 62 societies/countries (House et al., 2004) and other empirical research (House et al., 1997) have shown that the status and influence of leaders vary considerably as a result of the cultural forces in which the leaders function. The theoretical basis of the GLOBE Research study (House et al., 2004) was the integration of: implicit leadership theory (Lord & Maher, 1991), value/belief theory of culture (Hofstede, 1980; Triandis, 1995), implicit motivation theory (McClelland, 1985), and structural contingency theory of organizational form and effectiveness (Donaldson, 1993; Hickson, Hinings, McMillan, & Schwitter, 1974). The GLOBE study tries to link national culture dimensions with global leadership dimensions and competencies that are contingent upon culture.
Implicit Leadership Theory (ILT)
Research on ILTs and their implications for leadership perception emerged 35 years ago in response to developments in social cognitive theory (Shondrick, Dinh, & Lord, 2010). Fiske and Taylor (1984, 2008) describe the social cognitive theory by saying that information is represented abstractly in the forms of cognitive categories called schemas. These schemas are used by people to symbolize the prototypical features of many categories like types of animals, cars, events, emotions, and people. All these different kinds of schemas have an impact on the social cognition and person's perception by shaping a person's interpretation, perception, and memory of social stimuli based on its categorical membership (Fiske & Taylor, 1984). ILTs can be seen as schemas for leaders, where perceptions of others can be guided by providing them with a set of basic assumptions and beliefs as to what to expect and how to get accustomed to and interact with various individuals (Brown, Scott, & Lewis, 2004; Fiske & Taylor, 1984, 2008).
An individual's implicit leadership theory refers to the beliefs held about how leaders behave in general and what is expected of them (Eden & Leviathan, 1975). Implicit leadership theories can be classified as prototypes or ideal instances of leadership (Lord, Foti, & De Vader, 1984). Lord and Maher (1991) give a detailed explanation of ILT. According to implicit leadership theory (ILT), individuals hold a set of beliefs about the kinds of attributes, personality characteristics, skills, and behaviors that contribute to or impede outstanding leadership. These belief systems (sometimes referred to as prototypes, cognitive categories, mental models, schemas, and stereotypes in the broader social cognitive literature) are assumed to affect the extent to which an individual accepts and responds to others as leaders (Lord & Maher, 1991). Although leadership perceptions might not be the reality, they are used by perceivers to assess and consequently differentiate leaders from non-leaders or effective from ineffective leaders. This kind of attribution process provides a foundation for social power and influence (Lord & Maher, 1991). A prototype can be perceived as a collection of characteristic traits or attributes. The more commonalities there are between the perceived individual and the leadership prototype, the better the chances of this person being considered as a leader (Offermann, Kennedy, & Wirtz, 1994; Foti & Luch 1992).
According to Shondrick et al. (2010), the Globe study extended ILT to the cultural level of analysis by arguing that the structure and content of these belief systems will be shared among individuals in common cultures. This shared cultural level of analog of individual implicit leadership theory (ILT) is referred to as culturally endorsed, implicit leadership theory (CLT).
Value Belief Theory
Hofstede defines value as a broad tendency to prefer certain states of affairs over others (Hofstede, 1980). Hofstede and Triandis define the value-belief theory and according to them, “the values and beliefs held by the members of cultures influence the degree to which the behaviors of individuals, groups, and institutions within cultures are enacted and the degree to which they are viewed as legitimate, acceptable, and effective.” (Hofstede, 2001; Traindis, 1995) Collectively, the nine dimensions mentioned in the GLOBE study reflect not only the dimensions of Hofstede's theory but also David McClelland's theory of human motivation (McClelland, 1961; McClelland, 1985).
Implicit Motivation Theory
The implicit motivation theory is a theory of non-conscious motives, which was initially developed by McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, and Lowell (1953). The implicit motivation theory asserts that “the essential nature of human nature can be understood in terms of three implicit (non-conscious) motives: achievement, affiliation, and power (social influence).” Three obvious motives that are predictive of short-term, non-complex, and related to achievement, affiliation, and power have been recognized by this theory.
Behavioral intentions and conscious values predict distinct task behaviors for short periods of time under constant situational forces (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1970), but implicit motives predict (1) motive arousal in the presence of particular stimuli; (2) spontaneous behavior in the absence of motive-arousal stimuli; and (3) long-term individual global behavior patterns, such as social relationship patterns, citizenship behavior, child-rearing practices, and leadership styles (House et al., 2004).
McClelland's theory is an individual theory of both non-conscious and conscious motives, but the GLOBE theory is a theory of motivation resulting from cultural forces (House et al., 2004).
Structural Contingency Theory
The central proposition of this theory is that there is a set of demands that are imposed on organizations that must be met if organizations are to survive and be effective. These demands are referred to as organizational contingencies. It is asserted that these contingencies influence organizational form and practice and that congruence between the demands of the contingencies and organizational form and practice is associated with organizational effectiveness (House et al., 2004).
Hickson et al. (1974) declared the propositions of this theory to be universal and culture free on the grounds that the demands enforced on organizations by the organizational contingencies are so compelling that it becomes necessary for organizations to act accordingly so that they can perform in an efficient manner and survive in the competitive environment (Hickson et al., 1974). House et al. (1999) refer to this assertion as the task environment imperative.
The Integrated Theory
The GLOBE study used the integrated theory (Figure 2). The main proposition of the integrated theory is that the attributes and entities that distinguish a specified culture are predictive of organizational practices and leader attributes and behaviors that are most often endorsed and most successful in that culture (House et al., 2004).
Figure 2: The integrated theory (House et al., 2004).
Drenth and Den Hartog (1998) concluded that, regardless of the increasing roles of multinational firms, international supply chains, and other forces that could be seen to lead to homogeneity of cultural practices and values, these values and practices are still quite different. Research from the GLOBE study on leadership is an example. Drenth and Den Hartog argue that this research shows that, although attributes associated with charismatic leadership are universally valued, this does not imply similar enactment of such characteristics across cultures (Drenth & Den Hartog, 1998). The GLOBE study reports leadership attributes that are universally endorsed as contributing to outstanding leadership.
Culturally Endorsed Implicit Leadership Theory Dimensions (CLTs)
House et al. (2004) stated that leadership is contingent. They also stated that the importance of leadership varies across cultures. The GLOBE study (House et al., 2004) empirically supported “Culturally Endorsed Implicit Leadership Theory (CLT).” As part of the GLOBE study (House et al., 2004), twenty-one primary leadership factors were explored. Out of these twenty-one primary factors, six global culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory dimensions (called CLTs) were derived through a second-order factor analysis (as shown in Table 2).
Table 2: CLT dimensions and twenty-one primary factors (House et al., 2004).
As part of the GLOBE study, nine global cultural dimensions were also studied (as shown in Table 3). Six of the nine cultural dimensions were based on Hofstede's (1980) study.
Table 3: Nine cultural dimensions of GLOBE (House et al., 2004).
The GLOBE study focused on the leadership dimensions that were clearly culturally contingent. Six global culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory dimensions were analyzed against nine global cultural dimensions. As a result, seven culturally contingent leadership (CLT) factors were derived out of the analysis and are shown in Table 4. The correlation between seven culturally contingent leadership factors and eight cultural dimensions was analyzed as part of the GLOBE study. The ninth cultural dimension (future orientation) was dropped from the regression analysis for an unexplained reason in the literature (House et al., 2004).
Table 4: GLOBE's seven culturally contingent leadership factors, including the range of country scores (House et al., 2004).
The Anti-GLOBE Debate
The GLOBE study (House et al., 2004) has been criticized by a few authors. It is important to mention and analyze this critique in order to get a deeper understanding of the issues and future research direction.
Hofstede (2006) points out the similarities and differences between the GLOBE study and his work; according to him, GLOBE's operationalizations of ‘values' and ‘practices' are much different than those of his study. Hofstede's major concern about GLOBE is that the questionnaire items used may have not captured what the researchers wanted them to measure (Hofstede, 2006). In response to Hofstede's criticism of the GLOBE study, Javidan et al. (2006) emphasize that there is no theoretical or empirical basis for Hofstede's criticism that the GLOBE measures of values are too abstract or for his disagreement that national and organizational cultures are phenomena of a different order. Javidan et al. (2006) argue that GLOBE separated values and cultures, because the researchers felt that it was time to take a more meticulous approach to understanding and measuring national cultures. Hofstede's claim that the GLOBE's instruments reflect researchers' psycho-logic is also refuted by Javidan et al., who identify that the GLOBE instruments are ecologically focused, not related at all to the researchers' psycho-logic and “pass very rigorous tests of validity, reliability, and aggregability across cultures.” (Javidan et al., 2006, p. 900)
Maseland and Van Hoorn (2009) point out the unexpected negative correlations between values and practices reported in the GLOBE study. They suggest that the negative correlations were due to the limitations of the self-report questionnaires. They proposed that the GLOBE study questionnaire measured marginal preferences as opposed to cultural values (Taras, Steel, & Kirkman, 2010a). Taras et al. (2010a) have called the GLOBE study one of the most ambitious and comprehensive studies in recent times. They also point out that this study is quite similar to other cultural comparison studies, because all of them measure culture using a series of self-report survey questions with Likert-type scales. However, there are also critics of the GLOBE study, including Maseland and Van Hoorn (2009), Brewer and Venaik (2010), and Hofstede (2010). As stated by Taras et al. (2010a), marginal preferences could be useful for future research regardless of their status. As proposed by Maseland and Van Hoorn (2009), marginal preferences probably predict organizational behaviors and attitudes, which can help managers and project managers devise systems to improve organizational performance or project performance by matching marginal preferences and managerial practices (Tara et al., 2010a). Tara et al. (2010a) state that the GLOBE study, along with hundreds of others (Taras et al., 2010b), confirmed significant relationships between cultural variables and dozens of workplace-related outcomes. Cultural variables have been called marginal preferences by Maseland and Van Hoorn (2009); however, they also recognize that the problem is not unique to the GLOBE questionnaire. They state that other self-report value surveys also measure marginal preferences as opposed to values. They further emphasize their point and suggest that alternatives to the stated preferences approach, such as revealed preferences and experienced preferences need to be explored (Maseland & Van Hoorn, 2010). If the GLOBE study and other cultural value surveys are using marginal preferences rather than values, then marginal preferences have already been shown to be important (Tara et al., 2010).
Hofstede (2010) has also questioned the cultural dimensions that were used by GLOBE. While criticizing GLOBE, Hofstede was not sure whether the GLOBE study would be remembered as a landmark study or disappear into oblivion (Hofstede, 2010).
As stated by Brewer and Venaik (2010), the significant negative correlation between practices and values across seven of the nine GLOBE dimensions is one of the most interesting GLOBE findings, because it is so counterintuitive. Brewer and Venaik (2010) propose that the relationship between GLOBE cultural practices and values can lie in the nature of each cultural dimension, and in the specific content and meaning of the question used to measure each dimension in the GLOBE questionnaire Although Brewer and Venaik (2010) agreed that self-response questionnaires might not adequately capture cultural values, they also refuted the hypothesis of marginal preferences proposed by Maseland and Van Hoorn (2009). “Although MH's diminishing marginal utility explanation is superficially appealing, after further examination we find that no generalizable, plausible explanation of the GLOBE values-practices can be provided my marginal utility theory.” (Brewer & Venaik, 2010, p. 1318)
Although the debate on the GLOBE study still continues, it has raised several questions but has not offered a conclusive solution; however, it provides a foundation for future research (Taras et al., 2010a). The GLOBE study established the relationship between national culture and leadership dimensions/competencies, but it did not explore the impact of CLT factors on project success. Since GLOBE has already empirically tested these seven CLT factors in 62 societies, we would like to extend this knowledge to project management and explore the relationship between CLT factors and project success criteria. The GLOBE study is summarized in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Summary of the GLOBE Study.
The GLOBE study, despite its critical reviews, has established a relationship between national culture and leadership dimensions. This means that national culture can have an impact on the leadership styles of managers. Therefore, culturally contingent leadership (CLT) factors, including status conscious, bureaucratic, autonomous, face saving, humane, self-sacrificial/risk taking, and internal competition are worth exploring because they may have an impact on project success.
Müller and Turner (2010) have pointed out that the importance attached to project success varies across cultures. They state that the evaluation of success is influenced by national culture because the decision on project success criteria is determined by the weight assigned to different project success criteria. Project managers working in their home countries are often considered to be more successful than those working abroad or as expatriates. The reason for this is that national culture influences the perceived importance of team satisfaction, end-user satisfaction, and stakeholder and supplier satisfaction in a project (Müller & Turner, 2010).
Based on the GLOBE study and the research conducted by Müller and Turner (2010), it is clear that there is a relationship between national culture and the leadership style of a project manager. The next aspect that we explore in the literature is the relationship between leadership style and project success criteria.
The Literature on the Relationship between Leadership and Project Success
Like leadership, there is no universal agreement on the definitions of “project success” and “project failure.” (Ika, 2009) Project success has been a topic of discussion for many years now. There are different aspects on which project success is measured and many of them have been discussed but yet very rarely agreed on. Atkinson and Baccarnini state that project success today takes stakeholder's satisfaction, product success, business and organization benefits, and team development as measures of project success (Atkinson, 1999; Baccarnini 1999). Baker, Murphy, and Fisher (1988) have given importance to planning as a key factor in boosting potential project success as compared with leadership. They define “perceived” project success as “meeting the project's technical specification and/or the project's mission and attaining a high level of satisfaction from the client, the users, and the project team.” (Baker et al., 1988, p. 680)
However, much of the research indicates that in order to measure project success, it is important to take into account these two elements of project success: project success factors and project success criteria (Jugdev & Müller, 2005; Morris & Hough, 1987; Wateridge, 1998; Turner, 1999).Project success factors refer to those components or independent variables of a project that can be changed in such a way so as to increase the chances of success (Jugdev & Müller, 2005; Morris & Hough, 1987; Wateridge, 1998; Turner, 1999). Project success factors may refer more precisely to events, conditions, and circumstances that have an impact on the project results (Ika, 2009).Project success criteria refer to those components or dependent variables by which the successful outcome of a project can be judged (Jugdev & Müller, 2005; Morris & Hough, 1987; Wateridge, 1998; Turner, 1999). Success criteria may refer to a set of principles or standards that are used to evaluate or establish project success (Ika, 2009).
Project Management Schools of Thought
Turner et al. (2010) identify nine schools of project management. Table 5 shows these nine schools and their antecedents. The schools are grouped into four sets, namely performance, business objective, people, and solution. These schools refer to nine different perspectives, which can be applied in projects to devise methodologies to managing them.
Table 5: The nine schools of project management and their antecedents (Turner et al., 2010).
|Nine schools||Frank Anbari (1985)||Jonas Soderlund (2002)||Christophe Bredillet (2004)|
|Governance||Transaction cost||Transaction cost|
According to the behavior school, the project is treated as a temporary organization and this temporary organization is seen as a social system. It also includes other areas concentrating on organizational behavior, team building and leadership, communication, and human resource management (Turner et al., 2010).
The behavioral and success schools explored by the various authors mentioned above are related to our research topic, which justifies exploration and investigation of the topic. Pinto and Slevin (1988) identified the 14 project success factors, of which ten were internal and four were external to the project; however, researchers often refer to the ten project success factors shown in Table 6. Pinto and Prescott (1988) undertook a quantitative test of the ten factors and found that three of them were insignificant. Therefore, there were only seven real factors. Their empirical research showed that these success factors were strongly related to project success. The various factors become more important to project success at different points in the project life cycle; therefore, “it is important for the project manager to make use of a multi-factor model, first to understand the variety of factors impacting on project success and then to be aware of their relative importance across stages in the implementation process.” (Pinto & Slevin, 1988) Pinto and Prescott (1988) in their later study, found that out of the ten critical factors, only eight of them were important. However, their results also indicate that the relative importance of several of the critical factors change significantly based on the project life cycle stages. Chua, Kog, and Loh (1999) identified critical success factors for construction projects based on accumulative knowledge and judgment of experts in the industry. They employed an analytical hierarchal process (AHP) to come up with 67 factors pertaining to four main project aspects, namely project characteristics, contractual arrangements, project participants, and interactive processes. The various factors contribute differently to different project objectives (Jaselskis & Ashley, 1991). Critical success factors for the objectives of budget, schedule, and quality were identified through a survey with experts from leading construction-related organizations. Chua, Kog, and Loh's (1999) research concluded that the likelihood of project success can be increased if inherent characteristics of the project can be thoroughly understood, appropriate contractual arrangements are adopted, a competent management team is assigned, and a sound monitoring and control system is established. However, the success criteria identified by Müller and Turner (2007a), shown in Table 7, are more elaborative and practical in nature from the project management perspective. Thus, the dependent variables of our proposed research model are based on the success criteria of Müller and Turner (2007a). It can also be deciphered from these studies that the competence and leadership styles of the project management team, including the project manager, are important.
Table 6: Project success factors (Pinto & Slevin, 1988).
|1. Project Mission||Clearly definedgoals and direction|
|2. Top management support||Resources, authority and powerfor implementation|
|3. Schedule and plans||Detailed specification of implementation process|
|4. Client consultation||Communicationwith and consultation of all stakeholders|
|5. Personnel||Recruitment,selection and training or competent personnel|
|6. Technical tasks||Ability of the required technology and expertise|
|7. Client acceptance||Selling of the final product to the end users|
|8. Monitoring and feedback||Timely and comprehensive control|
|9. Communication||Provision of timely data to key players|
|10. Trouble-shooting||Ability to handle unexpected problems|
Table 7: Project success criteria (Müller & Turner, 2007a).
|Other stakeholders' satisfaction|
|Performance in terms of time, cost, quality|
|Meeting user requirements|
|Project achieves its purpose|
Most of the literature on project success fails to recognize the importance of the project manager and his or her leadership and competence for project success (Müller & Turner, 2005). Müller and Turner (2006) in later studies have shown, by using different models, that the competence and leadership styles of the project manager are vital factors in determining the success of a project. According to Crawford (2007, p. 680), project competence is “a combination of knowledge (qualification), skills (ability to do a task), and core personality characteristics (motives + traits + self concepts) that lead to superior results.” Project success and the competence of the project management personnel, according to Crawford, are strongly interrelated. Crawford also states that the project manager is a factor for the effective delivery of a project; nevertheless, Crawford also noted that among the project manager competence factors, leadership appears constantly in the highest-ranking category, but it hasn't been seen in the highest-ranking category for project success factors (Crawford, 2007).
Another often cited model on project success is the one proposed by Shenhar, Levy, and Dvir. They developed a universal multidimensional framework for the assessment of project success (Shenhar et al., 1997). Such a framework represents multiple interests and points of view. They mention that different people will assess the concept of success in different ways. This view is well represented by Freeman and Beale (1992):
Success means different things to different people. An architect may consider success in terms of aesthetic appearance, an engineer in terms of technical competence, an accountant in terms of dollars spent under budget, and a human resource manager in terms of employee satisfaction. Chief executive officers rate their success in the stock market.
In their study, Shenhar et al. treat project success as a strategic concept. The main premise for their study was that, in order to cope with the rapid changes and global competition, organizations have to be much more efficient and competitive. Thus, projects “must be perceived as powerful strategic weapons, initiated to create economic value and competitive advantage, and project managers must become the new strategic leaders, who must take on responsibility for project business results.” (Shenhar, Levy, Dvir, & Maltz, 2001, p.703) Shenhar and Dvir's study resulted in the development of five success dimensions and the measures against which project success can be determined. These dimensions are described in Table 8 (Shenhar & Dvir, 2007).
Table 8: The five main dimensions of project success (Shenhar & Dvir, 2007).
|1. Project efficiency||Meeting schedule |
Meeting budget Yield
|2. Impact on the customer||Meeting requirements and specifications |
Benefit to customer
Extent of use
Customer satisfaction and loyalty
Brand name recognition
|3. Impact on team||Team satisfaction |
Team morale skill
Team member growth
Team member retention
|4. Business and direct success||Sales |
|5. Preparing for future||New technology |
New product line
New core competency
New organizational capability
As pointed out by Shenhar and Wideman (2000), the success measures mentioned above should be differentiated from the critical success factors mentioned earlier. Success factors are managerial variables, not outcomes, and may be defined as: “Those managerial factors, listed in order of importance, that when present in the project's environment are most conducive to the achievement of a successful project.” (Shenhar & Wideman, 2000, p. 4)
Some important features of Shenhar's study are: different dimensions are more important at different times with respect to the moment of project completion; the conceptual timeframes of the different success dimensions are shown in Figure 4. The project success dimensions depend on project type. The study also shows that the level of project technological uncertainty affects the importance of success dimensions. Table 9 describes the likely success dimensions for different project types and the typical expectations from each
Figure 4: Timeframe of success dimensions (Shenhar et al., 2001).
Table 9: Descriptions of success dimensions for various project types (Shenhar et al., 2001).
|Success dimension||Project type: level of technological uncertainty|
|Project efficiency||Critical||Important||Overruns acceptable||Overruns most likely|
|Impact on customer||Standard product||Functional product, added value||Significantly improved capabilities||Quantum leap in effectiveness|
|Business success||Reasonable profit||Profit, return on investment||High profits, market share||High, but may come later|
|Preparing for the future||Almost none||Gain additional capabilities||New product line, New markets||Leadership—core and future technologies|
It is interesting to note that team satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and performance (time, cost, and quality) have been cited by both Müller and Turner (2007) and Shenhar and Dvir (2007) as project success criteria. However, the success criteria qualitatively derived and empirically tested by Müller and Turner (2007) are more elaborate and practical to use for project managers as well as researchers.
Turner and Müller (2006) and Müller and Turner (2007) researched how project managers, through their leadership competencies, lead their team to achieve project success. According to Müller and Turner (2010), leadership competence of the project manager is a contributor to project success (Figure 5), and also different types of projects require different profiles of leadership competence.
Figure 5: Leadership competencies and project success criteria model (Müller & Turner, 2010).
Dulewicz and Higgs (2005) define the leadership competencies as:
- The Managerial Leadership Cluster (MQ): This cluster is similar to the behavioral perspective of leadership, which deals with the generic leadership styles that lead to excellent results. This competency deals with the basic leadership behavior.
- The Intellectual Leadership Cluster (IQ): This cluster deals with the rational and cognitive sides of leadership. The historical roots of this cluster relate to the early leadership theories like the trait perspective, which perceives intelligence as a trait of successful leaders.
- The Emotional Leadership Cluster (EQ): This cluster deals with the social and interpersonal aspects of leadership.
The research conducted by Müller and Turner (2010) on the relationship between the project manager' s leadership style and project success shows that across all projects, regardless of the type of project and the performance of the project, the EQ competency of motivation and the MQ competency of managing resources are significantly related to the success of a project. They found that 9% of the success of a project is explained by EQ and MQ competencies (Turner & Müller, 2006; Müller & Turner, 2007a). Dulewicz and Higgs (2003), in their study found out that EQ accounts for 36% of the variation on leadership performance, IQ accounts for 27% and MQ accounts for 16%; thus, emotional competence is the most significant (Turner, Müller, & Dulewicz, 2009). Even though Turner et al. (2009) mentioned that EQ competency was the most important, the literature supports the idea that all three competencies are critical for a project manager to lead and deliver projects successfully.
As can be seen from the current literature on leadership and project management, the leadership style of a project manager and his or her competencies can be a contributing factor to project success (Müller & Turner, 2010). This supports our research question of exploring the relationship between leadership and project success.
Summary of the Literature Review
Literature has been published on national culture, leadership, and project success in a disparate manner. We have reviewed the literature on these three bodies of knowledge and have tried to bring them together in order to find a direction for future research. Table 10 provides a summary of our literature review.
Table 10: Summary of our literature review.
Proposed Model for Future Research
We have proposed a research model called CLT Factors and Project Success Model (Figure 6) to fill the gap in research. Our proposed research model can be used to investigate the relationship between CLT factors of the GLOBE study (House et al., 2004) and the project success criteria developed by Müller and Turner (2010).
Figure 6: Research Model and Theoretical Framework.
The following hypotheses have been derived based on the literature review, identification of common project success criteria by Shenhar and Dvir (2007), and Müller and Turner's (2007a) models, and mapping of the CLT factors to Hofstede's 5-D model of culture. In addition, these hypotheses seem to be more practical and useful for project management professionals as well as organizations around the globe because they are related to the project success; thus, based on the research model, the following seven research hypotheses can be empirically tested:
- H1: The humane CLT factor is positively correlated with project success.
- H2: The bureaucratic_CLT factor is positively correlated with project success.
- H3: The autonomous_CLT factor is positively correlated with project success.
- H4: The face saving CLT factor is positively correlated with project success.
- H5: The self-sacrificial / Risk Taking CLT factor is positively correlated with project success. .
- H6: The status conscious CLT factor is positively correlated with project success.
- H7: The internally competitive CLT factor is positively correlated with project success.
Our proposed research model and theoretical framework (Figure 6) would build on the culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory (CLT) of the GLOBE study (House et al., 2004) and the research conducted by Müller and Turner (2010) on leadership and project success. It would extend the CLT factors of the GLOBE study into the project management arena in a high power distance culture, which could provide insights for future research and theory development. Through the proposed model and series of hypotheses, researchers can explore the relationship between CLT factors and project success criteria in a high power distance culture, which can have practical implications in the project management field. For example, it could allow organizations to choose project managers with certain culturally contingent leadership traits, while implementing projects in various countries and possibly enhancing the project success rate.
Our research can provide direction for theory development from CLT and project management perspectives. It can also explore the practical implications of national culture and leadership on project success in a high power distance culture.
For future research, it is recommended to:
- Test the proposed “CLT Factors and Project Success” model using quantitative and/or qualitative techniques.
- Investigate the research hypotheses mentioned in this paper.
- Identify project managers' culturally contingent leadership traits and profiles by project type, which can lead to project success.
Our research can provide key insights and guidelines to both public and private sector organizations globally to recruit projects managers with culturally contingent leadership traits, so that projects can be delivered successfully around the world and millions of dollars can be saved.
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