Leadership and People Management

Contextualizing Leadership: A Typology of Global Leadership Roles

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While the global leadership literature has grown rapidly over recent years, the context in which global leadership occurs remains ill-defined and under-conceptualized. This lack of contextualization risks equating global leadership roles that are qualitatively very different and prevents sufficient clarity for empirical sampling. To foster more cohesive theoretical and empirical work, we develop a typology of global leadership roles that considers context as a critical contingency factor. Drawing on role and complexity leadership theories, we propose four ideal-typical global leadership roles (incremental, operational, connective, and integrative global leadership) that differ in their (1) task complexity, characterizing the variety and flux within the task context, and (2) relationship complexity, reflecting the boundaries and interdependencies within the relationship context. We further delineate how these contextual demands relate to specific sets of behaviors and actions that allow global leaders to fulfill the requirements of their corresponding ideal-typical global leadership roles. Our article concludes with a discussion of implications the typology presents for global leadership research and practice, contextualization of the leadership construct more broadly, and the field of international business.
Bibliographic citation: Reiche, Sebastian; Bird, Allan; Mendenhall, Mark E.; Osland, Joyce S., "Contextualizing Leadership: A Typology of Global Leadership Roles", Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 48, No. 5, 2017, pp 552 - 572

Reference: 10.1057/s41267-016-0030-3 (DOI)
Date: 01/07/2017
Author(s): Reiche, Sebastian; Bird, Allan; Mendenhall, Mark E.; Osland, Joyce S.
Document type: Article in Journal (refereed)
Languages: English