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The GLOBE program on societal and organizational culture and leadership

The global leadership and organizational behavior effectiveness program (GLOBE) on societal and organizational culture and leadership set a standard in cultural research around the world after its start in the early 1990s. Nine cultural dimensions along with six leadership factors were identified and comprehensively described for 62 societies by Javidan, Hanges and House (2004). This was followed by an updated description of 25 societies by Chhokar, Brodbeck and House (2007), who grouped them into society/culture-clusters.

Prior to the GLOBE studies, from 1970 until the late 1980s, Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede and Minkov (2010) introduced six cultural dimensions in a smaller study that would influence the GLOBE study years later. This research was extended by the Chinese value survey (CVS) in the late 1980s to cover the specifics of these increasingly important societies.

Societal cultures do not necessarily end at nations’ political borders. This depends very much on the region and nations involved. National culture is defined as the set of norms, values, and beliefs that people have in common and that describes their entity, making them different from people from other nations (Peruta et al., 2011, p. 49).

The GLOBE researchers assigned nations to society/culture-clusters that were grouped based on their data upon cultural similarities, shared geography, and climate conditions:

Society/Culture- ClusterNations
AngloAustralia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United States
Latin EuropeFrance, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland (French-speaking)
Nordic EuropeDenmark, Finland, Sweden
Germanic EuropeAustria, Germany (former East and former West), Netherlands, Switzerland (German speaking)
Eastern EuropeAlbania, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, Slovenia
Latin AmericaArgentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Venezuela
Sub-Saharan AfricaNamibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Middle EastEgypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Turkey
Southern AsiaIndia, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand
Confucian AsiaChina, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan
GLOBE society/culture-clusters (Chhokar et al., 2007, p. 13)

The nine cultural dimensions adopted by GLOBE are (Chhokar et al., 2007, pp. 3-4):
1. Assertiveness is the degree to which individuals in organizations or societies are assertive, confrontational, and aggressive in social relationships.
2. Future Orientation is the degree to which individuals in organizations or societies engage in future-oriented behaviors such as planning, investing in the future, and delaying gratification.
3. Gender Egalitarianism is the extent to which an organization or a society minimizes gender role differences and gender discrimination.
4. Humane Orientation is the degree to which individuals in organizations or societies encourage and reward individuals for being fair, altruistic, friendly, generous, caring, and kind to others.
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5. Institutional Collectivism reflects the degree to which organizational and societal institutional practices encourage and reward collective distribution of resources and collective action.
6. In-group Collectivism reflects the degree to which individuals express pride, loyalty and cohesiveness in their organizations or families.
7. Performance Orientation refers to the extent to which an organization or society encourages and rewards group members for performance improvement and excellence.
8. Power Distance is defined as the degree to which members of an organization or society expect and agree that power should be unequally shared.
9. Uncertainty Avoidance is defined as the extent to which members of an organization or society strive to avoid uncertainty by reliance on social norms, rituals, and bureaucratic practices to alleviate the unpredictability of future events.

GLOBE strategically groups 21 leadership subscales into six culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory (CLT) factors and makes recommendations on how the dimensions of culture and leadership differ from one country to another.

CLT factorsLeadership subscales
charismatic/value basedvisionary, inspirational, self-sacrifice, integrity, decisive, performance oriented
team orientedcollaborative team orientation, team integrator, diplomatic, malevolent (reverse scored), administratively competent
self-protectiveself-centered, status-conscious, conflict inducer, face saver, procedural
participativeautocratic (reverse scored), non-participative (reverse scored)
human-orientedmodesty, human oriented
GLOBE leadership factors and subscales (Chhokar et al., 2007, p. 23)

Chhokar, J. S., Brodbeck, F. C., & House, R. J. (2007). Culture and Leadership Across the World - The GLOBE Book of In-Depth Studies of 25 Societies. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Della Peruta, M. R., Del Giudice, M., & Carayannis, E. G. (2011). Cross-Cultural Knowledge Management - Fostering Innovation and Collaboration Inside the Multicultural Enterprise. Springer.
Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and Organizations - Software of the Mind - Intercultural Cooperation and its Importance for Survival (3rd edition). McGrawHill.
Javidan, M., Hanges, P. J., & House, R. J. (2004). Culture, Leadership, and Organizations - The Globe Study of 62 Societies. SAGE Publications.

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