Title page for ETD etd-04302011-214448

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Khan, Farida
URN etd-04302011-214448
Document Title Evaluating the influence of different levels of multicultural interactions, in a work and social context, on perceptions of outstanding leader attributes
Degree MBA
Department Gordon Institute of Business Science
Advisor Name Title
Mr K Lubbe Supervisor
  • cultural diversity
  • global leaders
  • leadership development
  • workplace diversity management
  • social multicultural interactions
Date 2010-11-10
Availability unrestricted

This research aims to develop a deeper level of understanding of how different levels of interaction amongst different cultures in a work and social context plays a role in perceiving culturally endorsed leadership attributes (CLTs). With the rapid developments in international trade, internet technology, cross-border travel and communication, business transactions across country borders have rapidly become significant contributors to the world economy. Consequently, managing diverse teams and working with colleagues and/or clients from other countries is a challenge to operating in this global business world.

A quantitative analysis was done by considering low, medium and high work and social multi-cultural diversity interactions as the exploratory variables and perceptions of outstanding leader attributes as the dependant variable. This study of 269 leaders in a South African Multinational company found that different levels of multicultural interactions in the social context (described by friendships, relationships, family history and education) yielded significant differences in the perceptions of outstanding leader attributes. No significant differences in these perceptions were found for the different levels of multicultural interactions in the work context (described by international assignments and work diversity initiatives). Based on intergroup theory, this suggests that greater cognitive formations results through cross-cultural engagement in the social context than in the workplace. That is, culturally diverse social group memberships are able to condition member perceptions, transfer ideologies, and have a greater impact than culturally diverse groups in the organisational context.

It was also found that the senior employees in this organisation (by age and tenure) showed a negative correlation to social multicultural interactions, but a positive correlation to work multicultural interactions. These relationships with tenure indicate the influence of organisational culture on cross-cultural cognitive formations. A synergistic relationship was evident between the work and social contexts, suggesting that inter-cultural activity in one context influences activity in the other context.

Copyright 2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria

Please cite as follows:

Khan, F 2010, Evaluating the influence of different levels of multicultural interactions, in a work and social context, on perceptions of outstanding leader attributes, MBA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-04302011-214448/>


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