Cultural Competency and Leadership


It’s in fact, true that Globalization has driven forward to create more and more a need for better cultural understanding. We are living in a a very connected and networked world than ever, to have just an idea of how our world has interacted, the volume of trade and exports today are more than 4,000-times larger than in 1913 as per (Ortiz-Ospina, Beltekian and Roser, 2018). Foremost are companies leaders who are the ones who confirm how globalization has an impact on the global exchange not only in goods and services but also in the cultural awareness behind it.

It’s also true that just two decades back, the level of interaction between the various cultures was less than the one of today, and this is due to several factors, trade and business as mention in the video of Ralph Strozza on TEDx about Cultural Awareness in Globalized World as per the example cited that, the US Department of Commerce announce which is that us global companies exported 2.

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3 trillion dollars of goods in 2013 are just one reason for this arising of cultural understanding, however the tremendous development of the internet, technology like mobile and fast computers, this new telecommunications infrastructure and new medias like the emerge of social networks are also key important factors for that. Immigrations on the other hands from various countries play also another important role of cultural interactions.

Keywords: Ethics, Cultural competence, Leadership.

Cultural competency and leadership

Executives are generally expected to changes very quickly, to set appropriate requirements in each particular situation, to act purposefully in the sense of the organization.

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Frequently changing tasks, for example, from the presentation of tenders in front of customers to performance appraisal interviews within the cowork with employees. All of theses tasks requires flexibility in thinking and behavior. The internationalization of business processes goes for experts and executives with additional requirements. Today’s working groups and teams are increasingly culturally diverse. In addition to technical expertise, foreign language skills in working with people from various other cultures, the motivation and behavior of each other to interpret correctly and to consider cultural differences adequately. Differences in the communication behavior as well as with respect to the understanding of time For example, in the planning and implementation of international projects often to misunderstandings, frustrations and ultimately to financial losses. Business agreements and International assignments of foreign executives often fail due to cultural differences (Cartwright, 2005). Awareness of cultural differences and the reflection on how your own cultural influences in everyday working life look like are central prerequisites for the successful success of leadership and cooperation in a cross-cultural context defines the terms culture and leadership in organizations.

In a variety of scientific papers and research investigation to understand the relationships of cultural differences and leadership of employees has been conducted. Generally, the term leadership has different meanings, for example, Power, Authority, Responsibility, Control and control associated. Again, the same goes for the term “culture”- no unified understand or meaning for this term as well. The concept of leadership has been used in numerous attempts at defining personality traits, behaviors, interaction and relationship patterns, influencing, understanding roles and performing certain activities described with a monitoring function. House et al., 2002) agreed in the context of the GLOBE study to the following universal definition of leadership in organizations: “Leadership is one person’s ability to influence others to motivate and empower the effectiveness and success of the organization they belong to it.”

Leaders of the intercultural team have the role to motivate and integrate their international and global team. Anyone who leads a team must be able to communicate, integrate and motivate. In discussions, executives get an idea of the expectations and attitudes of the team members. In this way, they can better understand their counterparts and develop an understanding of being different. In addition, the manager has to give the intercultural team more time, especially at the beginning of their work, than a monocultural team. In doing so, it was supposed to address cultural differences, to draw conclusions from them and to agree on norms and standards binding on the team. During teamwork, the leader must strive for balance among the team members, integrate new employees and intervene in case of problems within a good cultural awarness.

Ethics and Cultural Awarness

Working in a globalized enviornement means working with various culures, and some of a good examples showed in the video, are the two cases of marketing related to the complte different understanding of the same thing from two diffenret cultures, the western one and middle eastern one. Therefore dealing with various culture, require a lot of sensibility anc care, since some subjects which seems for the one as normal, are for the others complety not acceptable and vis versa.

Ethic in business, play everywhere a huge role, but with various level of understanding and valuation, and this usually depens also on the various culture. It’s in fact, very difficult to change the mindset of people in one day, that’s why companies for example when they want to adopt a compliance policy across their international entities and building up a harmonized policy they usually start by training, in all forms.

Formost leadership require a lot of ethical awareness, due to the fact, that they have to make decions across boarders in a completely different culture and with different employee understanding of ethics depends of their culture, that’s why it’s not a simple task, and it requires more from leaders to train their team and build up a culture of mutual understanding and trust to be more aligned in a multicultural awareness of ethic values. A good practical example is how leaders in a bureaucratically driven business environement can achieve efficiency in term of projects and business delivery with his own local teams. This simple case could show exactly how leaders can and has to handel with ethics even in various enviorments, the same goes when dealing with health and safety in a less aware environment, however as a leader you still have the main role to defend and stay on the same level as the global ones, since each decision in this regard, could lead to human damanges and this is not ethical at all.


We are living in the age of globalization – the whole world is networked, many large companies operate internationally. Thus it’s very important to acquire intercultural awareness and high caliber of communication skills in order to deal with other cultures! Cultural competence is more than mandatory in our networked world, and leaders of tomorrow are more required to develop this skills contiously in order to maintain sustainable global growth.


  • Ortiz-Ospina. E, Beltekian. D and Roser. M. (2016). Trade and Globalization.
  • Our World in Data. Retriefed from Accesed 27.01.2019
  • Cartwright, S. (2005). ‘Mergers and acquisitions: An update and appraisal’, in G.P. Hodgkinson and J.K. Ford (eds.). International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 20, 1-38, John Wiley, Chichester.
  • House, R.J. Javidan, M., Hanges, P., and Dorfman, P. (2002). “Understanding Cultures and Implicit Leadership Theories Across the Globe: An Introduction to Project GLOBE,” Journal of World Business, 37 (1) 3-10.

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Cultural Competency and Leadership. (2021, Sep 22). Retrieved from

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