Leading Through Paradox
Claremont Graduate University
March 1, 2010
LEADING ACROSS DIFFERENCES: CASES AND PERSPECTIVES, pp. 171-179, K.M. Hannum, B.B. McFeeters, B.B., and A.E. Booysen, eds., Pfeiffer, 2010
In leading across differences, leaders are also faced with cultural paradoxes, such as those identified by cross-cultural researchers (Hampden-Turner & Trompenaars, 2000; Hofstede, 2001; House Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004; Schwartz, 1992) between cultural forces of individualism and collectivism, achievement and ascription, long- and short-term orientation, and low- and high-power distance. Such paradoxes can be daunting for leaders who are used to unambiguous solutions and models.
The aim of this chapter is to create awareness of paradoxes faced by leaders in working across differences. In particular, I discuss how paradox presents itself across cultures and how leaders might respond. Drawing on insights from social psychology, philosophy, and the creative arts, I discuss the role of a paradoxical mindset and improvisational practice as capacities that leaders could develop in leading effectively through paradox.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 9
Keywords: Leadership, Leadership Development, Culture, Paradox
Date posted: April 10, 2010