Literature Review of GLOBE’s CLT: Culturally Endorsed Implicit Leadership Theory
This study provides a beginning step in an exhaustive literature review of articles related to the culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory within the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) project from 2008 to 2018. While there are many articles related to the GLOBE project since its inception in 1991 and beginning research in 1994, this study is limited to scholarly and peer-review journal articles available in the Regent University Summon database that specifically cover or use GLOBE’s culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory. Each article is summarized by author, GLOBE project year, study method, cultural and leadership dimensions associated with the culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory, and article highlight. This literature review includes the following observations: (a) researchers in most articles from 2014 to 2018 used GLOBE 2004 because data was reliable, publicly accessible, and the only data available in specific areas; CLT leadership dimensions are effective tools for measuring cross-cultural leadership effectiveness within countries and clusters or across regions; and unlike some other leadership theories, GLOBE’s cultural and CLT leadership dimensions remained relatively unchanged for more than two decades; (b) that although GLOBE defined nine cultural dimensions and six global CLT leadership dimensions, the 21 primary dimensions and 112 leadership attributes are undefined, which was considered ambiguous; (c) that while GLOBE included 62 societies in its 2004 report, it did not contain specific data for each country, or it consolidated data into broad clusters containing dissimilar countries; and finally, (d) that although GLOBE published a report in 2014, researchers in this small sample of articles continued to use GLOBE 2004 data rather than the newer data in GLOBE 2014.
This study begins the first step in an exhaustive literature review of the culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory (CLT) developed under the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) project (Dorfman, Javidan, Hanges, Dastmalchian, and House, 2012, p. 504). This literature review covered how researchers in journal articles referred to or used GLOBE’s CLT from 2008 to 2018. After almost two and a half decades of research, GLOBE (sometimes referred to as Project GLOBE, GLOBE project, GLOBE study, or just GLOBE) and the affiliated nonprofit GLOBE Research and Education Foundation were designed to analyze the effectiveness of leadership across cultures, and GLOBE was recognized as one of the largest leadership studies covering numerous societies globally (Dorfman et al., 2012). An internet search of the GLOBE study using Google Scholar produced 1,390,000 results, with some articles cited more than 200 times. A Google Scholar search of culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory revealed over 56,000 results, 221 results when the topic was bounded with quotation marks, and 178 results when delimited with quotation marks and limited to the period of 2008 to 2018. Due to the constraints of this literature review, the scope was limited to scholarly and peer-reviewed journal articles available from 2008 to 2018 in Regent University’s Summon database specifically related to the topic of culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory bounded by quotation marks. Of the 35 articles listed in the Summon database, only 14 accessible articles provided adequate information for the purpose of this study as it relates specifically to GLOBE’s CLT.
GLOBE and CLT Development
Researchers published three GLOBE reports in the form of books from 2004 to 2014. Most studies in this literature review referred to or used the GLOBE report released in 2004. To better understand how researchers drew from and used CLT data and the empirically based theoretical framework produced by GLOBE, the following introduces the development of GLOBE since its inception in 1991.
Robert House initiated the idea of GLOBE in 1991 based on the concept of charismatic leadership (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004, p. xxi). House concluded that charismatic leadership might have universal application, but finding little empirical studies on the subject, he began designing the GLOBE study without first conducting an exhaustive literature review because it would take a year to complete, and he believed it was not necessary for design development given his extensive background as a social scientist (House et al., 2004, p. xxi). The US Department of Education funded GLOBE in 1993 (House et al., 2004, p. xxii; Koopman, Den Hartog & Konrad 1999, p. 505) and research began with 65 countries in 1994 (House et al., 2004, p. xxii). To help categorize data collection, the final 62 societies were divided into ten clusters: Latin America, Anglo, Latin Europe, Nordic Europe, Germanic Europe, Confucian Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle-East, Southern Asia, and Eastern Europe (House et al., 2004, p. 201).
Initial research resulted in the identification of nine independent variables of cultural attributes, referred to as cultural dimensions. The nine cultural dimensions are (a) Uncertainty Avoidance; (b) Power Distance; (c) Collectivism I, Institutional Collectivism; (d) Collectivism II, In-Group Collectivism; (e) Gender Egalitarianism; (f) Assertiveness; (g) Future Orientation; (h) Performance Orientation; and (i) Humane Orientation (House et al., 2004, pp. 11-13). House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, and Gupta (2004) define the cultural dimensions as:
- Uncertainty Avoidance is the extent to which members of an organization or society strive to avoid uncertainty by relying on established social norms, rituals, and bureaucratic practices.
- Power Distance is the degree to which members of an organization or society expect and agree that power should be stratified and concentrated at higher levels of an organization or government.
- Collectivism I, Institutional Collectivism, is the degree to which organizational and societal institutional practices encourage and reward collected distribution of resources and collective action.
- Collectivism II, In-Group Collectivism, is the degree to which individuals expressed pride, loyalty, and cohesiveness in their organizations or families.
- Gender Egalitarianism is the degree to which an organization or a society minimizes gender role differences while promoting gender equality.
- Assertiveness is the degree to which individuals in organizations or societies are assertive, confrontational, and aggressive in social relationships.
- 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 individual or collective gratification.
- Performance Orientation is the degree to which an organization or society encourages and rewards group members for performance improvement and excellence.
- 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. (pp. 11-13)
Built on the framework of Lord and Maher’s implicit leadership theory (ILT) (Dorfman et al., 2012, p. 505; House et al., 2004, p. 18), researchers developed six global leader behaviors (referred to as leadership dimensions) labeled as culturally endorsed implicit theories of leadership or culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory, both referred to as CLT (House et al., 2004, p. 11). The six CLT leadership dimensions are (a) Charismatic/Value-Based, (b) Team-Oriented, (c) Self-Protective, (d) Participative, (e) Humane-Oriented, and (f) Autonomous (House et al., 2004, p. 137). House et al. (2004) defined CLT leadership dimensions as:
- Charismatic/Value-Based Leadership. A broadly defined leadership dimension that reflects the ability to inspire, to motivate, and to expect high-performance outcome from others based on firmly held core values.
- Team-Oriented Leadership. A leadership dimension that emphasizes effective team building and implementation of a common purpose or goal among team members.
- Participative Leadership. A leadership dimension that reflects the degree to which managers involve others in making and implementing decisions.
- Humane-Oriented Leadership. A leadership dimension that reflects supportive and considerate leadership but also includes compassion and generosity.
- Autonomous Leadership. A newly defined leadership dimension that refers to independent and individualistic leadership attributes.
- Self-Protective Leadership. From a Western perspective, this newly defined leadership behavior focuses on ensuring the safety and security of the individual and group through status enhancement and face-saving. (p. 14)
GLOBE was based on three phases. Phase one consisted of ten years of research from 1994 to 2004 (House et al., 2004, pp. 4, 9). Phase two included a study report published in a 2004 book with over 800 pages of findings and quantitative data from 62 societies, 951 organizations, and 17,000 middle managers (House et al., 2004, pp. 4, 9). Before the completion of phase one, researchers began phase three by studying the effectiveness of cross-cultural leadership at the executive level and the behavior chief executive officers (CEO) had on subordinates (House et al., 2004, pp. 4, 9). Phase three culminated with a report published in a 2014 book with data collected from more than 1,000 CEOs and 5,000 executive leaders in more than 1,000 corporations in 24 countries (House, Dorfman, Javidan, Hanges, & de Luque, 2014, p. xix). Before completion of phase three, GLOBE released a second book in 2007 (House et al., 2014, p. 7). For brevity, the three GLOBE books in this study are referred to as GLOBE 2004, GLOBE 2007, and GLOBE 2014. While GLOBE 2004 was structured around the nine cultural dimensions, GLOBE 2007 focused on “country-specific analysis of cultural values, practices, and leadership expectorations” (House et al., 2014, p. 7). House, Dorfman, Javidan, Hanges, and de Luque (2014) slightly modified the nine GLOBE 2014 cultural dimensions to (a) Performance Orientation, (b) Assertiveness, (c) Future Orientation, (d) Humane Orientation, (e) Institutional Collectivism, (f) In-Group Collectivism, (g) Gender Egalitarianism, (h) Power Distance, and (i) Uncertainty Avoidance (p. 7) (see Table 1). The CLT leadership dimensions remained the same in GLOBE 2014 (House et al., 2014, p. 368). Another change from GLOBE 2004 to GLOBE 2014 was the definition of leadership. In GLOBE 2004, “Leadership was defined as the ability to motivate, influence, and enable individuals to contribute to the objectives of organizations of which they are members” (House et al., 2004, p. xxii). In GLOBE 2014, leadership was defined as “the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members” (House et al., 2014, p. 17).
Table 1: GLOBE 2004 and 2014 Cultural Dimensions and CLT Leadership Dimensions
|2004 Cultural Dimensions||2014 Cultural Dimensions||2004 & 2014 CLT Leadership Dimensions|
|Performance Orientation||Performance Orientation||Charismatic/Value-Based|
|Future Orientation||Future Orientation||Self-Protective|
|Humane Orientation||Humane Orientation||Participative|
|Collectivism I, Institutional Collectivism||Institutional Collectivism||Humane-Orientated|
|Collectivism II, In-group Collectivism||In-Group Collectivism||Autonomous|
|Gender Egalitarianism||Gender Egalitarianism|
|Power Distance||Power Distance|
|Uncertainty Avoidance||Uncertainty Avoidance|
Table 2 below is used to summarize key aspects of how researchers in journal articles from 2008 to 2018 referred to or used GLOBE’s CLT leadership dimensions. Articles are arranged chronologically by year to reveal progression, development, and evolution in the use of GLOBE studies. A summary of the article is provided to give a broad overview of how researchers used GLOBE studies and CLT, exposing benefits, gaps, and weaknesses observed or noted in the articles. These benefits, gaps, and weaknesses are discussed in detail in the next section of this study.
GLOBE CLT Leadership Behavior Articles from 2008-2018
|Author(s)||GLOBE Project/Study Method(s)||Cultural and CLT Dimensions||Summary|
|Grisham (2009)||GLOBE 2004||None||In a non-GLOBE related study, Grisham adopted GLOBE’s use of a seven-point Likert scale as a method to test “complex and multifaceted topic” because the scale used in the GLOBE study provided “more latitude and nuance in a qualitative survey” (p. 121).|
and Dorfman (2011)
|GLOBE 2004 /|
leadership study using GLOBE qualitative data
|All cultural and|
|A managerial leadership study of culture in|
Sub-Saharan Africa used extensive data from
all of GLOBE 2004’s cultural and CLT leadership dimensions as a basis for analysis. The study revealed a high level of humane- oriented leadership.
|GLOBE 2004 /|
Theoretical leadership framework development
cultural dimension and CLT framework
|The cross-cultural adjustment study used|
GLOBE 2004 CLT with another theory to build a theoretical framework for a cross- cultural leadership adjustment. This was proposed because CLT focused on leadership styles whereby one entity or the other was required to make a change toward culturally accepted norms or accepted values.
Karacay, and Bayraktar (2012)
|GLOBE 2004 /|
Analysis of data
from GLOBE report
|All cultural and|
|In the absence of data from other sources,|
the study used data collected from GLOBE
2004 to analyze leadership and culture in the Middle East and North Africa.
Hanges, Dastmalchian, and House (2012)
2007 / Summary of GLOBE
|All cultural and|
|The journal article summarized all the|
information researchers had learned through
GLOBE up to 2012. The article included development of the GLOBE project to date, definitions and explanations of the six global CLT leadership dimensions, listing of the 21 primary CLT leadership dimensions, relevance of the nine cultural dimensions, identification of the ten culture clusters with associated countries, and the objective for GLOBE phase three, which was anticipated for publication in 2012, but was not available until 2014.
|GLOBE 2004 /|
University leadership courses comparison and assessment
leadership dimensions and 22 leader attributes
|The article focused on the increased|
importance of cross-cultural leadership in international organizations, which led to a comparison of Texas A&M University’s leadership program with GLOBE’ CLT leadership dimensions and attributes since, according to the article, GLOBE CLT leadership attributes are universally accepted. The study concluded Texas A&M faculty was developing cross-cultural leaders. A weakness noted in the article is the lack of clear definitions of leadership attributes in GLOBE 2004, and the charismatic/value-based leadership dimension may not be the most effective method within every society.
|GLOBE 2004 /|
leadership dimensions, with a focus on participative leadership
|Using data from GLOBE 2004, the study|
offered a comparison between all cultural
and CLT leadership dimensions and
attributes for Central and Eastern European students in their role as future leaders.
Researchers concluded students’ profiles matched the participatory attributes of middle managers in their respective countries.
|GLOBE 2004 /|
analysis testing GLOBE CLT
gender egalitarianism, and power distance cultural dimensions, and all CLT leadership dimension except humane-oriented
|Researchers used regression analysis to test|
CLT leadership dimensions for a predictor of
women’s participation in political and entrepreneurial leadership. Researchers concluded charismatic/value-based and self- protective CLT leadership dimensions were the most relevant.
|Bauer (2015)||GLOBE 2004 /|
Quantitative comparison of leadership
|Performance orientation, humane orientation, power distance, and uncertainty avoidance|
cultural dimensions and all CLT leadership dimensions
|The researcher used GLOBE 2004 as an empirical base to identify and measure leadership dimensions in Slovak organizations, with a charismatic leadership dimension being the most effective.|
|Balabanova, Efendiev, Ehrnrooth, and Koveshnikov (2015)||GLOBE 2004 /|
Factor analysis and cluster analysis to examine management styles
|None||Researchers noted GLOBE CLT was too generalized geographically across societies for it to be useful for expatriates to understand fundamental cultural differences at the national level, specifically in contemporary Russia. Researchers also noted intra-cultural variations had been ignored in international cross-cultural leadership studies.|
Medina, Esquivel, de la Rosa, and Duncan (2016)
|GLOBE 2004 /|
dimensions and 18 second-order CLT leadership factors
|The article contained comparative research|
between corruption and culture in Latin
America using data from GLOBE 2004, with self-protection contributing to higher perceptions of corruption.
|GLOBE 2004 /|
Data analysis and comparison
avoidance and in- group collectivism cultural dimensions and all CLT leadership dimensions
|Researchers used data from GLOBE 2004 to|
measure the relationship between charismatic and self-protective CLT leadership dimensions, uncertainty avoidance and in-group collectivism cultural dimensions, and individual entrepreneurship. They concluded CLT leadership dimensions have a strong effect on individual entrepreneurship.
Literature Review Analysis
Despite the magnitude of research related to the GLOBE studies since its inception in 1991 and almost two and a half decades since research began in 1994, unlike many other leadership theories, applications, and practices, GLOBE has been systematically managed and controlled by a limited number of primary scholars led by Robert House (Dorfman et al., 2012; House et al., 2004; House et al., 2014). Other organizational leadership theories, such as servant leadership, are not centrally controlled, and therefore, evolve and branch out into an extensive range of loosely related theories, applications, and practices with various and sometimes contradicting terms and definitions. To make a point, Greenleaf coined the term servant as leader with leaders wanting to serve others by putting their highest priority needs first, without specifying whether others were followers, subordinates, superordinate, of other leaders (Greenleaf, Frick, & Spears, 1996, pp. 1-2). Spears, who worked with Greenleaf, further developed servant leadership by defining ten characteristics of the servant-leader (Greenleaf, Beazley, Beggs, & Spears, 2003, pp. 16-19). However, over a period of almost five decades since its inception, scholars have changed the servant leadership premise to putting followers first and made significant changes to Spears’ ten characteristics to the point that servant leadership is no longer a single cohesive concept or theory, and it has relatively few empirical studies to support it (Northouse, 2016; Yukl, 2013). GLOBE, on the other hand, is relatively consistent in concept, and GLOBE researchers have made empirical data, spanning decades from more than sixty societies globally, publicly available. Research results from this literature review indicate that researchers are willing to use data from GLOBE studies and apply cultural and CLT leadership dimension to their studies or use them as benchmarks for comparison.
For example, Wanasika, Howell, Littrell, and Dorfman (2011) used extensive data from all of GLOBE 2004’s cultural and CLT leadership dimensions as a basis for analysis of a managerial leadership study of culture in Sub-Saharan Africa. Citing that management and leadership studies and data was scarce for Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically Nigeria, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, Wanasika et al. relied on data from GLOBE’s cultural and CLT leadership dimensions for comparison and evaluation.
Additionally, other available studies were based on Western theories and did not account for the regional social, cultural, and political differences (Wanasika, Howell, Littrell, & Dorfman, 2011). Wanasika et al. used GLOBE’s quantitative measures and CLT’s cultural dimensions collected from 818 mid-level managers in 263 entities for the five countries. Using GLOBE’s leadership theory and publicly available data, Wanasika et al. had tools to conduct their study more effectively.
Kabasakal, Dastmalchian, Karacay, and Bayraktar’s (2012) study is another example of research conducted in a region where previous studies and data were sparse.
Kabasakal et al. identified effective leadership and managerial practice in the Middle East and North Africa as a way to better prepare global leaders working in Egypt, Iran, Israel, Kuwait, Morocco, Turkey, and Qatar. However, when Kabasakal et al. recognized this region was under-researched, they looked toward GLOBE, with its unique empirical based theory and comprehensive leadership research study, to expose differences and similarities between country, regional, and global leadership attributes.
While some studies relied on GLOBE for a theoretical framework with extensive and unique data collected from diverse societies globally, other studies emulated GLOBE’s scientific procedures. For example, since GLOBE researchers used a seven-point Likert scale to measure CLTs with acceptable accuracy, Grisham (2009) adopted the scale for a research project designed to test multifaceted and complex research topics (p. 121). However, unlike previous article examples, Grisham did not use GLOBE’s data or CLT leadership dimensions in the study. Similarly, Festing and Maletzky (2011) used GLOBE 2004 CLT leadership dimensions in conjunction with another theory to build a theoretical framework for a cross-cultural adjustment study.
Ambiguity and Inconsistency
As with any complex and far-reaching concept developed and evolved over decades, Muenich and Williams (2013) noted GLOBE 2004 lacked clear definitions of leadership attributes, and the charismatic/value-based leadership dimension may not be the most effective method within every society. Muenich and Williams, while observing increased importance in cross-cultural leadership in international organizations, conducted a study to compare Texas A&M University’s leadership program with GLOBE’s CLT leadership dimensions and attributes. Their study focused on the charismatic leadership dimension and 22 leader attributes because GLOBE’s CLT leadership dimensions and attributes were universally accepted (Muenich & Williams, 2013). Satisfied with the outcome of their study, Muenich and Williams observed ambiguity with the CLT leadership attributes. They stated, “The GLOBE study does not provide a clear definition for these attributes. Thus, there is not a universal standard for researchers to use when referencing the universally endorsed results of the GLOBE study” (Muenich & Williams, 2013, p. 49). House et al. (2014) developed CLT leadership dimensions by generating 112 attributes and then grouping them into 21 primary dimensions to produce six second level global CLT leadership dimensions (p. 19). House et al. defined the six global leadership dimensions but did not define or explain the 21 primary leadership dimensions and the 112 leadership attributes, which may have led to a perception of ambiguity. Additionally, GLOBE researchers are inconsistent with the CLT abbreviation. Throughout GLOBE 2004 and 2014, they referred to CLT as culturally endorsed implicit theories of leadership and culturally endorsed leadership theory. In some cases, this may lead to further ambiguity when researchers attempt to apply different aspects of CLT as a system of related and independent theories or apply CLT as a single cohesive and universal cross-cultural leadership theory (House et al., 2004; House et al., 2014).
Although GLOBE 2004 included 62 societies divided into ten regional clusters with input from 17,000 middle managers in 951 organizations (House et al., 2004), it may not be the most effective method in every culture (Muenich & Williams, 2013, p. 49). More specifically, Balabanova, Efendiev, Ehrnrooth, and Koveshnikov (2015) noted that GLOBE’s CLT was too generalized geographically across societies for it to be useful for expatriates to understand fundamental cultural differences at the national level, specifically within Russia. GLOBE included Russia in the Eastern Europe cluster with other very diverse countries, such as Albania, Greece, Hungry, Kazakhstan, and Slovenia to name a few (House et al., 2004, p. 191). With such diverse societies and cultures within the Eastern Europe cluster, managerial methods in contemporary Russia were not independently addressed in GLOBE 2004 (Balabanova, Efendiev, Ehrnrooth, & Koveshnikov, 2015). Although GLOBE offered a fundamental understanding of cultural differences, intra-cultural and within-country variations have been ignored by international cross-cultural leadership studies (Balabanova et al., 2015).
GLOBE 2004 and GLOBE 2014
Only one article, a 20-year overview of GLOBE research by Dorfman, Javidan, Hanges, Dastmalchian, and House (2012), used or referred to GLOBE 2014 (p. 504). The articles in this study published after GLOBE 2014 continued to use GLOBE 2004 CLT and data, although the data was collected between 1994 and 2004 and may have been considered obsolete. Two observations are offered regarding this phenomenon. First, although the data collected and analyzed in GLOBE 2004 was relatively old, it was still relevant, and it was the only reliable and relevant data available, as in the case of Wanasika et al. (2011) and Kabasakal et al. (2012) for example. In both cases, the researchers concluded that GLOBE 2004 CLT was relevant and accurate for measuring cross-cultural leadership in wide and sometimes under-researched regions and societies of the world (Kabasakal et al., 2012; Wanasika et al., 2011). Second, GLOBE 2004 researchers focused on mid-level management and collected significantly more data in more societies in comparison to GLOBE 2014, which focused on senior-level executives and CEOs (Dorfman et al., 2012; House et al., 2014). Hence, GLOBE 2004 offered more data from more societies compared to GLOBE 2014.
This literature review analysis revealed that: (a) researchers in most articles from 2014 to 2018 used GLOBE 2004 because data was reliable, publicly accessible, and the only data available in specific areas; CLT leadership dimensions are effective tools for measuring cross-cultural leadership effectiveness within countries and clusters or across regions; and unlike some other leadership theories, GLOBE’s cultural and CLT leadership dimensions remained relatively unchanged for more than two decades; (b) that although GLOBE defined nine cultural dimensions and six global CLT leadership dimensions, the 21 primary dimensions and 112 leadership attributes are undefined, which was considered ambiguous; (c) that while GLOBE included 62 societies in its 2004 report, it did not contain specific data for each country, or it consolidated data into broad clusters containing dissimilar countries; and finally, (d) that although GLOBE published a report in 2014, researchers in this small sample of articles continued to use GLOBE 2004 data rather than the newer data in GLOBE 2014.
About the Author
Brian Moore is a first-year Ph.D. student at Regent University, where he is studying organizational leadership. He is a US Navy veteran with 28 years of service in special operations and foreign affairs.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Brian Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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