How Cultural Factors Affect Leadership

Industrial Psychology

Any human interaction will necessarily be influenced by individually differential factors such as age, gender, and culture. So the primary response to this question is likely to be yes, there will be cultural differences when it comes to interviews. The literature appears to confirm this. Wheeler (2008), for example, focuses on job interviews when examining the cultural factor. The author emphasizes the North American tendency to assume that candidates from all cultures will be westernized and understand the operating principles of the North American culture. Experience has proven, however, that this is not the case. There are perhaps few cultures that differ more from the North American one than those in the Asian countries such as China and Japan. The general tendency within American culture, for example is to be individualistic, whereas the Chinese culture tends to be collectivist. The latter is, for example, far ore family- and group-oriented than the former. Americans consider accomplishing things independently of others a professional virtue. An interviewee from a collectivist culture, on the other hand, would tend to focus on his or her family to show commitment to the well-being of the group.

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False positive and false negative errors can occur during the employee selection process (Antariksa, n.d.). The false positive error occurs when an applicant is selected based on the prediction that he or she will succeed in the position; however, the time of his or her employment results in failure. There are three types of costs when this error occurs; the first is during the time of the person’s employment in terms of production failure or lost profits; the second concerns the costs associated with training; and the third concerns the costs of recruiting a replacement. The false negative error occurs when a candidate is rejected based on the prediction that he or she would have failed, when in fact the person would have succeeded. The costs associated with this error are lower. However, the cost is still significant, in terms of losing a potentially profitable and valuable employee.

In terms of material costs, making a false positive selection error is worse than a false negative. Hence, a company might pay more attention to reducing these. One way to reduce either error is to improve the selection criteria. Careful testing of the factors that resulted in a false selection can be weeded out in this way. A trial period for each employee is another potential method of reducing false positive or negative selections. While the same or similar methods could be used to reduce either false positive or false negative selections, I doubt that reducing either would increase the other. Instead, reducing one would more likely reduce the other as well.


To provide a training program for my team, I will follow some of the suggestions made by Silverman (2011). Most of the training program components will be applicable to all players, with only the Strength Training and Skill Building components differentiated according to the different positions. Cardiovascular and Speed conditioning will be doen daily. For the Cardiovascular component, players will be provided with interval training, which means an initial spring of 100 yards, followed by 90, 75, and 60 yards springs. Two-minute breaks will be given between sets. This training will be provided three times per week for all positions. To build speed, a series of 40-yard sprints will be undertaken. Players will begin the dash by taking the stance they take on the field. At least five sprints will be run, with a 10 yard walk after each. Skill Building will be given according to the position of each player. Running backs will do high-knee and change-of-direction drills; quarterbacks will do accuracy drills; wide receivers will work to improve their hands and footwork; and linemen will do blocking and shedding drills. Strength training will occur three times per week in a gym. These exercises will be designed according to the position and needs of each player.


Employee feedback in any situation tends to be stressful for me. The main reason for this is that I always wonder whether my work will be adequate according to my supervisors, despite my every effort to do the best I could. The way in which my work as grad assistant football coach was appraised is by means of a comprehensive performance appraisal. Company policy is to complete these for every employee who has been employed for a semester or more. Various components of the work are evaluated, such as the assigned duties and other responsibilities. The way in which it was done for me was by means of visitation, during which my work was observed and evaluated. While I understand the rationale beyond this, visitation by a person outside of my normal work situation created an unusually stressful work environment for me. For this reason, I am not sure that I worked or connected as well with my team as I do on other occasions. I therefore feel that there is some room for improvement in this type of evaluation. Instead of an outside party, I would have preferred to be observed and evaluated by the head coach for whom I was doing the assistant work. This would have resulted in less stress for me and also a more accurate assessment of the work I generally did with my students (University of South Florida, n.d.). Nevertheless, I appreciated the fact that those who evaluated my work took time to schedule a meeting with me to discuss my performance. In general, I agree with what they found, although I did make the point that I was under unusual stress.


Organizational change is always difficult to accomplish. The main reason for this is that human beings tend to resist change in favor of the status quo. Change means anxiety, since it brings with it uncertainty regarding the new situation. Usually, when change is suggested, regardless of the soundness of the reasons behind it, people tend to be negative and resistant towards it before accepting the new premise. This does not, however, make a difference to the fact that change is sometimes a necessity in organizations. Most companies, I believe, would want a type of organizational culture that promotes either collaboration or creativity, depending upon the specific goals of a company. In a company that offers information products, for example, creativity is of utmost importance to remain relevant in an extremely competitive and innovative business climate (Tharp, n.d., p. 3-4). For a coaching and sports business such as the University, however, there is greater emphasis on collaboration than innovation. Teams must be encouraged to work together in collective format for the benefit of the team as a whole and the ultimate benefit of the university as a whole. Hence, as an assistant coach, a collaborative culture is the one I would seek to encourage in my sports team as well as among the coaches working with that team.


In teams that are made up of different cultures and genders, it is likely that this component would have an influence on the cohesion and communication, as well as task performance, of the team. The reason for this is that team work, in many ways, relies on trust. The more different individuals are in terms of culture and other factors, the more time it will take for them to communicate effectively and trust each other. Lee and Ma (n.d., p. 3), for example, suggest that conflicts may arise as a result of cultural factors rather than material disagreements about the task at hand. This could be detrimental to the task being performed. Hence, managers should make every effort to ensure the smooth communication among cultures.


Because justice is a very human phenomenon, it is also highly integrated with specific cultures. What might be considered justice in the United States might not be considered in the same light in a country such as China or Korea. Organizational justice is one type of justice that is increasingly important in terms of culture. Taras and Rowney (n.d.), for example, consider the academic environment in this regard, where cultural differences could influence the perception of justice within the American academic environment. The authors (p.9) mention various types of justice, which are perceived and preferred differently among individualist and collectivist cultures. Individualist cultures such as the United States, for example, prefer the equity rule, which means rewards are determined by individual contributions. Collectivist cultures such as China, on the other hand, prefer equality and need rules. The equality rule means that rewards are identical for each group member, regardless of individual contribution. The need rule determines that outcomes are distributed according to individual needs. Managers and educators in a multicultural setting should be aware of these differences in perception in order to enhance the educational experiences of all their students.


My general goal in everything that I do, whether this be as student, employee, family member, citizen, or indeed human being, is that I deliver the best I can according to my ability to come as close as possible to the goals set for me by my superiors. More specifically, my goal as a student, for example, is to achieve grades that are as high as possible, which will determine the type of work I will be able to get in my future. As employee, I will strive to reward my employer’s trust in me by delivering work of as high quality as possible. As family member, my goal is to spend enough time with those close to me to maintain my relationship with them. As citizen, my goals are to further the principles and values of my country by participating in public debate and politics. As human being, my goals are to make my best effort to help those in need of assistance and to be part of the interconnected network of humanity in such a way that life and peace are promoted.

My main motivators can be found in McClelland’s acquired needs theory (CliffsNotes, n.d.). These include the need for achievement and the need for affiliation. The need for achievement motivates me to score as well as I can in my career as student and also my future as employee. My need for affiliation drives me to maintain close family and friendship relationships with those around me.


As with any other human phenomenon, culture would certainly have an influence on leadership. The way in which followers behave is either consciously or subconsciously determined by cultural factors, age, and gender. A young female leader may, for example, experience greater frustrations and challenges in gaining the respect and loyalty of followers than an older, male leader in an American organization, for example. There are many differences in preferred leadership types among cultures (Knowledge @ Wharton, 1999). The way in which communication occurs, for example, differs significantly among American and Japanese managers. American managers tend to provide face-to-face directions, for example, while Japanese managers are more likely to use written memos. American subordinates also tend to expect negative feedback directly from supervisors. In Japanese culture, the collectivistic norm of “face-saving” requires managers to provide negative feedback via a peer of the subordinate.


I believe that unions are generally good for employees. While they also have advantages for employers and society in general, some union actions could be detrimental in this regard. The main function of a union is to ensure that the relationship among employers and employees remain mutually beneficial. To accomplish this, they represent employees, generally in terms of salary and working conditions. The main advantage of unions for all parties concerned is that they accomplish fair and just relationships among employees and employers, which is an extension of a just and equal society. They can also, however, have disadvantages in terms of company finances (Brown, 2009). Legal strikes are one of the ways in which companies can lose significant amounts of money. This also affects society in general, since products or services are not provided for the duration of the strike. For employees, a disadvantage of unions is that they remove the right and ability of the employee to negotiate his or her own terms as an individual.


Like leadership and team work, stress is also a human factor, which means it is necessarily influenced by culture. In American cultures, for example, the work-family conflict and the stress experienced as a result are based upon the individualist culture of the country. Work and family are seen as separate entities that should be managed in terms of time and commitment. A collectivist culture such as Japan, however, consider work and family as equally important in terms of loyalty and support. Managers in such a culture would consider family as at least equally important to work and therefore would be more likely to create an environment in which family relationships can be managed proactively (Mujumdar, 2008).


Antariksa, Y. (n.d.). Selection Error. Retrieved from:

Bingham, a. And Spradin, D. (2011, Apr. 18). Introduction ot the Open Innovation Marketplace. Financial Times. Retrieved from:

Brown, K. (2009, Oct. 3). Unions — Good or Bad? Retrieved from:

CliffsNotes. (n.d.) Motivation Theories: Individual Needs. Retrieved from:,articleId-8908.html

Knowledge @ Wharton. (1999). How Cultural Factors Affect Leadership. Retrieved from:

Lee, S.J. And Ma, T. (n.d.) an analysis of cultural differences upon project team perofrmance for global projects. Retrieved from:

Mujumdar, S. (2008, Apr.). Work Stress in Australian Professionals: The role of Culture, Gender and Work-Family Conflict. Retrieved from:

Silverman, S. (2011, Jun 14). Workout Programs for College Football. Retrieved from:

Taras, V. And Rowney, J. (n.d.) Cross-Cultural Differences in perceptions of Justice: Consequences for Academia. Retrieved from:

Tharp, B.M. (n.d.) Four Organizational Culture Types. Haworth. Retrieved from:

University of South Florida. (2011). Graduate Assistant Performance Evaluation. Retrieved from:

Wheeler, K. (2008, Sep. 11). The Challenges of Cultural Difference: 5 Tips on Cross-Cultural Recruiting. Retrieved from:

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