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Dissertation Abstract

Culture and Leadership in Transition: Comparing Perceptions of Cultural Values, Cultural Practices, and Leadership Preferences across Generations in Israel, South Africa, and the United States

Melissa H. McDermott
April 2008

Globalization has created an increased interest in understanding the cultural values of people around the world. Cultural values studies have been conducted and used to compare people from different countries during the past century. The Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) study (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004) is the most recent and comprehensive study on perceptions of cultural values, cultural practices, and leadership preferences across 62 nations. The GLOBE study links culture and leadership and is the most useful study to examine leading people from different cultural backgrounds. However, the cultural values and leadership preferences that were studied in GLOBE may not be steady over time. Empirical research on cultural values in the World Values Survey has demonstrated that values change over time as a result of prevailing social and economic conditions of a country. Although there has been empirical and theoretical evidence that cultural values change over time, there does not appear to be any current studies that have used the GLOBE data to examine changes since the data were first collected among middle managers in the mid to late 1990s. This study found significant differences in the perceptions of cultural values, cultural practices, and preferences for leadership between emerging professionals and middle managers in Israel, South Africa, and the United States. These differences could be explained by age differences or by prevailing social, economic, and political changes in each of these countries.