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Qualitative and quantitative studies of leadership in multinational settings: Meta-analytic and cross-cultural reviews


  • Takahashi, Kiyoshi
  • Ishikawa, Jun
  • Kanai, Toshihiro


Much of the research on leadership has been conducted by Western researchers and has led to a largely Western and individualistic perspective on leadership. This has led researchers to raise questions concerning the extent to which these theories apply globally. In particular, do Western theories of leadership apply to the same extent in more communal Asian countries, such as Japan, China, Indonesia, and Thailand? Based on leadership studies conducted in Japan, we argue that Japanese leadership practices often differ from the styles practiced widely in the West. These differences in behavior have their roots in Japanese cultural traditions and business practices. Our conclusion is based on the results of meta-analyses of studies of the five most popular leadership theories used in the West, an empirical study of transformational and gatekeeper leadership, and in-depth qualitative case studies of three Japanese corporate leaders. We observe that there are relatively few qualitative studies of leaderships in international contexts, and propose that in order to understand leadership phenomena in a global context, it is necessary to take a triangulation approach, employing surveys, experimental manipulations, company records, and qualitative interviews.

Suggested Citation

  • Takahashi, Kiyoshi & Ishikawa, Jun & Kanai, Toshihiro, 2012. "Qualitative and quantitative studies of leadership in multinational settings: Meta-analytic and cross-cultural reviews," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 530-538.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:worbus:v:47:y:2012:i:4:p:530-538
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jwb.2012.01.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rajnanandi Pillai & Terri A Scandura & Ethlyn A Williams, 1999. "Leadership and Organizational Justice: Similarities and Differences across Cultures," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 30(4), pages 763-779, December.
    2. Xin‐an Zhang & Qing Cao & Dean Tjosvold, 2011. "Linking Transformational Leadership and Team Performance: A Conflict Management Approach," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(7), pages 1586-1611, November.
    3. Jun Ishikawa, 2012. "Transformational leadership and gatekeeping leadership: The roles of norm for maintaining consensus and shared leadership in team performance," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 265-283, June.
    4. Dulek, Ronald E. & Fielden, John S. & Hill, John S., 1991. "International communication: An executive primer," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 20-25.
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    Cited by:

    1. Flatten, Tessa & Adams, Daniel & Brettel, Malte, 2015. "Fostering absorptive capacity through leadership: A cross-cultural analysis," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 519-534.
    2. Bird, Allan & Mendenhall, Mark E., 2016. "From cross-cultural management to global leadership: Evolution and adaptation," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 115-126.


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