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Relationship between Motivational leadership and culture

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 3864 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The link between Motivation, Leadership and the reference and appropriateness of American culture oriented education systems and the Pakistani cultural context investigated.

Motivation in the workplace holds a direct link to the leadership within organisation. In the modern age work has become the focus of our live. Work is the place where most of us find much of our sense of identity. It is hard today for many of us separate our work from the rest of our lives. We spend much of our time at work or in work related social and leisure activities.

Within this work environment, at its core we can find Motivation, Leadership and culture. The way in which these three issues combine has a defining influence on how we lead our lives.

One of the major problems of leadership today is that of understanding what motivates people. In order to be able to influence people it is necessary to understand what moves people.

However, by studying motivation insight is found, drawing useful generalization, all of which will make the process of leading other that more effective. For many years the Pakistani business, education and cultural environment has been influenced by American business, education and culture. Clearer understanding of how successful this cross-cultural mixes has been needs investigation to judge its success.

Motivation is closely linked to leadership; without motivation it could be argued that there is no leadership. The leadership style will naturally relate to the national culture of the country being investigated; to lead effectively and motivate people in a suitable way. Pakistan as a developing country is ready to accept many western ideas and if appropriate presented western cultural education programme. This dissertation aims to study how to apply an American cultural education programme with western structure to the Pakistan cultural business environment.

The important of cultural influence on the leadership style and motivation has been researched. The differences between Pakistan and American culture within this context will have been investigated.

Assessment of the following areas will be made:

The effect of leadership on motivation.

The cultural impact on leadership style.

The differences between American and Pakistani culture.

The best way to apply an American cultural education programme within the Pakistani cultural context.

Background and Academic Context:


Motivation is a basic concept in human behaviour and also in employee behaviour. Motivation is one of the key drivers of high performance as it encourages individuals to work hard, and desire to achieve a higher goal and a better performance. According to Mitchell (1982) motivation is psychological process that cause encouragement, direction and insistence of voluntary actions that are goal oriented. Robbins (1993) shares the same view, that motivation is the willingness to exercise high levels of effort towards organization goals and to satisfy individual needs. McKenna (2002, p.8) explains motivation as an emotion, ‘which is personal in nature, and comes from within the individual’. Robbins (1993) also describes that it is the individual needs that make the outcomes to be attractive and unsatisfied needs will create tension to stimulate drives within the individual and this is called motivation process.

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Leadership is defined as a “social influence, process in which the leader seeks the voluntary participation of subordinates in an effort to reach organisational goals”. There are many ways of looking at leadership and many interpretations of its meaning, it is therefore difficult to generalise about leadership (Mullins, 2002). However a definition from the 1990s said, “Leadership is an influence relationship between leaders and followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes” (Rost, 1991). Mullins also submitted that leadership is essentially a relationship through which one person influences the behaviour or actions of other people (Mullins, 2002).

Culture on the other hand, has the culture brought about by a nation’s culture such as language, religion, customs, traditions, norms of behaviour, beliefs, business ethics etc.  For a successful globalisation, though organization culture plays an important part, it cannot over-ride the national culture. Any successful operation will pay much attention to the national culture in formulating its organization culture for that country.

Leadership is the ability to lead, including inspiring others in a shared vision. Leaders have clear visions and they communicate these visions to their employees. Leadership has been a topic of interest to historians and philosophers, but only around the turn of the century did scientific studies begin. Since that time, scientists and other writers have offered more than 350 definitions of the term “leadership” (Daft, 1999). Defining leadership has been a complex problem because the nature of leadership itself is complex. In recent years, however, much progress has been made in understanding the essential nature of leadership as a real influence in organizations and societies (Northouse, 2001).

It is worth reweaving the first conceptions of leadership – the trait and the behavioural approach – as one can learn from these former approaches in order to construct a new approach best fitting to the current economic situation.

Leadership is related to motivation, interpersonal behaviour, culture and the process of communication. Di Cesar & Sadri (2003) explains the dimensions of cultural impact on employee motivation, stating ‘while the principle of leadership, motivation, and decision making may be applicable almost everywhere, their success or failure depends heavily on ways in which managers adapt to the local culture and work situation’ (cited in Di Cesar & Sadri 2003, p.30).

Culture can be defined as “Symbols, language, ideologies, rituals, and myths” (Pettegrew, 1979), or it can be said that it is “a product; is historical; is based upon symbols; and is an abstraction from behaviour and the products of behaviour” (Jongeward, 1979) or the famous definition by Edgar Schein “a pattern of basic assumptions- invented, discovered, or developed by a given group as it learns to cope with the problems of external adaptation and internal integration- that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems.”(Schein, 1985).

Leadership can be defined below:

Contingency Theories of Leadership

Leadership is all about the way people are guided, involved and supported through the completion of a task or activity. There are many styles of leadership and every leader will have their own personal views why their style is the ‘best’ method for them. All forms of leadership are individualistic and can be categorised into four different styles: Democratic, Paternalistic, Authoritarian (dictatorial) and Laissez-faire. Contingency Theories unlike ‘Style Theories’ are primarily concerned with the factor that leaders are assumed their style can be varied at will. Style Theories simply assumes that there is a single leadership style that is suitable for all situations. Contingency Theories therefore assume that it is the situation itself which makes one style more appropriate than another. A Contingency Theory therefore is a theory that has to be suitable for the conditions in which leadership is to be exercised.

An Outline of the Three Contingency Theories of Leadership

Fiedler’s Contingency Theory

This theory is also referred to as the LPC, which stands for the Least Preferred Co-Worker. This is the subordinate that a supervisor was least able to work with successfully on a previous occasion.’ Fiedler’s Theory is based upon his view that the most appropriate leadership style (which results in high task performance by workgroups) is denoted by the preferred behavioural style of the leader within the contextual circumstances in which the group operates. Basically if the leader’s style is positive towards the workgroups then workers will work to a maximum output.

The Path – goal Theory of Leadership

The Path – goal theory is closely linked with Vroom’s Expectancy Theory where the motivation for people to perform an activity is functional with two connected factors. These factors are ‘expectancy’ and ‘valence’ and are defined below.

ƒ˜   Expectancy is about a person believing that his/her good/positive performance will lead to specific identifiable results. i.e. if this individual performs to his/her highest ability and this is shown and recognised then expectancy will lead to positive results.

ƒ˜   Valence is to what extent this individual values these results i.e. valuing the results that he/she is expecting from the work carried out.

The Hersey and Blanchard Contingency Approach

Also named the situational leadership model theory this theory derived by Hersey and Blanchard argues that a manager’s style should alter according to the readiness of followers to take responsibility for directing their own actions. The term readiness is used to embrace task-related readiness and psychological readiness.

Task-related readiness shows whether subordinated have the necessary skills, knowledge and abilities to undertake a job without the leader having to plan, structure and direct their efforts. Psychological readiness is linked to the leaders’ subordinates’ characteristics such as self-motivation and pride in their work, which in turn may instil them to accept responsibilities.

Key factors of successful contingency leadership theories:

ƒ˜   Adapting to external surroundings and understand the people who you are leading – what is the way in which they want to be lead?

ƒ˜   What do these people want in return for task completion, Remuneration, praise and promotion.

ƒ˜   Incorporating a motivational theme throughout the business is a key issue for task completion and for workers to experience the expectancy theory. (in reference to Vroom’s Expectancy Theory)

ƒ˜   Contingency Theories are not Leadership Styles.


Culture is the acquired knowledge people use to interpret experience and generate behaviour (Spradley, 1980) take from “Social Responsibility in the Market: Fair Trade of cultural products” by (Littrell and Dickson, 1999). Culture encompasses a group’s ideology, as well as its normative behaviours and its physical environment, artefacts and technology. As applied to business, the study of organisational culture offers insights into a firm’s unique character. Organisational culture evolves as a group learns to solve problems and conduct business (Schein, 1985). Often initiated by a strong founder, a firm’s culture perpetuates itself through the telling of company stories, daily rituals, hiring practices, training, rewards, and marketing decisions (Kotter and Heskett, 1992).

According to (Rugman and Hodgetts, 2000) Organisational culture that people use to interpret experience and to generate social behaviour. Members of a group, organisation, or society share culture. Through culture we form values and attitudes that shape our individual and group behaviour. Culture is learned through both education and experience. Culture is also passed from one generation to another, so it is enduring. At the same time cultures constantly undergo change as people adapt to new environments.

Having looked at culture in western countries, the attention will focus now specifically on Eastern (Pakistan) culture, its relationship with leadership and identify which international attitudes it is most closely associated with.

From last past years certain characteristics have become influential in shaping Pakistani culture. Among the important cultural characteristics of Pakistan are vast differences in socio-economic status at the both societal and organisational level, and the influence of nationalism and secularism in transforming society into a western societal structure.

The Quaid-e-Azam who’s known as the founder of Pakistan was one of them who received a western influenced education and was consequently greatly inclined to European culture and institutions. Pakistan stands out as being different from Asian countries. Despite the fact that 99 percent of the Pakistani population is Muslims, the Pakistani state is secular. The ideology of Pakistan is based on principle of religion and state. In other words the state is independent of religious rules and is run by secular rules.

Generally, externally characteristics serve as an important power base for leaders. Leader’s power is a manifestation of feudal links and has strong roots in Pakistani culture, in that leaders are expected to promote patronage relationships with their followers.


In view of this the objective of this dissertation is to undertake a critical evaluation of the impact of leadership on motivating the workforce within different cultures or contexts where different cultures exist. Expanding on this key objective, attention is focused on a number of distinct areas like:

A review of the literatures dealing with motivation to establish whether or not there is strong relationship between motivation and effective leadership.

A review of the literatures to establish whether or not there is strong relationship between effective leadership and culture.

An assessment of leadership within different cultural context.

To evaluate the extent to which American principles advocated in the leadership and motivation literatures will encounter cultural resistance when introduced to the Pakistani context.

In what ways will the principles of motivation and leadership need to be modified and what will be the implications for management style.

Research Method:

The research for this dissertation (Proposal) started with review of relevant books, research and articles.

First effort was directed towards establishing what research has been published in the chosen area and then other research that might currently be in the progress has been identified. This process that is called “Critical reviewing” helped to develop knowledge on this subject and also assisted in clarifying research.


The references used within this dissertation proposal (Relationship between leadership, motivation and culture) are not an extensive list and the common of them are drawn from American or British journals publishing on the topic of leadership, motivation and culture. Furthermore qualitative research is a systematic method of post-mortem, which follows a logical in depth method problem solving conflicting in certain directions (Thomas and Nelson, 2001). With qualitative research a hypothesis is often not given at the beginning of research studies instead prospective are explored as the data unfold.

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Although the research aimed to put it in sincere effort to make this research as genuine and possible, one must accept that limitations remain as they always do in all human activities. The geographical distance between, the West (US & UK) and East (Pakistan) is off course one of the major hindrances, and the limitation of time is another. Financial resources put another limitation, which might not allow the researcher to go all out for the purpose of data collection. Furthermore, all previous studies on the area, although none concerning developing countries such as Pakistan, focused on leadership style. This research can help to develop better strategic plans, such strategic plans for research question.

In order to achieve the objectives the literature available with the Anglia Ruskin University will be studied and analysed along with the academic literature included; Anglia Ruskin University Library, mainly academic journals, which are closely related to research topic, including Harvard Business review, HR development International, HRM journals, Journal of Management studies and primarily academic books, including HRM, SHRM, IHRM, employee relation, international management, psychological and sociological contract etc and CIPD weekly magazine, general magazine, economist etc. Different resource of information provided by the university portal will be accessed and used like Emerald Database, Thomson Gale, and Ebsco etc.

Time line:

Research will be started in the third week of August 2010,

The period of the whole research will be six months. The following timeline is based on my current course schedule.

Description of the activity

Start Date

End Date

Draft Dissertation Proposal

Submission of Dissertation Proposal

23rd Aug 2010

Literature Study

Research Design

Analyses your design

Collect and Analyse collect date as per research

Writing dissertation

Finalizing the dissertation and necessary editing and correction

Submission of dissertation

6th Jan


Aim of study:

Motivation in the workplace holds a direct link to the leadership within organisation. In the modern age work has become the focus of our live. Work is the place where most of us find much our sense of full meaning. It is hard today for many of us separate our work from the rest of our lives. We spend much of our time at work or in work related social and leisure activities.

Within this work environment, at its core we can find Motivation, Leadership and culture. The way in which these three issues combine has a defining influence on how we lead our lives.

Leadership now days face some serious problems in determining and understanding the factors which are the motivational factors for people and similarly to get maximum possible one need to determine these factors beforehand.

However, by studying motivation insight is found, drawing useful generalization, all of which will make the process of leading other that more effective. For many years the Pakistani business, education and cultural environment has been influenced by American business, education and culture. But a clearer understanding of how successful these cross cultural mix has been needs investigation to judge its success. In this work it will be distinguished what motivates people as well as how leadership gives direction, drawing on cultural factors.

Most commonly family leadership occurs in business enterprises even in large companies in almost in a similar way in both regions but more common in Asia primarily emphasizing with respect to cultural differences giving importance.

Li Ka-shing [of the Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong holding group], for example, has decided to give the leadership of his firms to his two sons these companies were run by him very closely, whereas in America if a company is being established and founded by a certain elder of the family of a largest firm will be holding the position but it is only if he has founded it and been establishing it. Boards and executives in America enjoy less freedom of action as compared to Asia.

In America board of directors are mainly the authority to replace professional managers, they are either replaced or they get retired so they are replaced by other professional managers. Good companies train their own staff for future recruitment and they recruit and give priority to internal staff and chose their next chief executive from among themselves. On average a CEO will own less than 4 percent of its company’s shares and would have served for at least thirty years with his company. There are certain companies who get publicity and try to over project than they actually are who hire executive from the external market without any experience. Then these CEOs strive to win and they think that money is not that important but professional achievement is all what they are after actually they are in a very highly competitive market.

During the last decade in America it’s hard to get credit due to enormous inflation of top executive’s compensation packages.

Many large companies in America receives their equity capital from capital market which is why they are mostly inclined and attentive towards Wall Street compared to Asian in common. Which is why Wall Street has definite expectations from the board of executive’s in terms of behaviour and performance and also whoever the next successor is too. It is the main reason that executive members of the board of directors get less chance to act freely in America rather than in Asia.

In Asia, Siblings usually gets the succession. In Li’s case, his two sons will receive it from him whereas Chief executive officer of General Electric is being groomed with a talent machine which is developed by Jack Welch.

American firms are much more on advance stage than as of Asian firms, they

To a significant degree, they have passed from founders’ family leadership to professional management and to capital obtained from the capital markets (rather than obtained from government-directly or indirectly-or from family fortunes). In this transition they have adopted particular styles of leadership responsive to boards (often led by outside directors) and to Wall Street.

It is possible, but not certain, that Asian firms will also adopt this kind of important practice.

Business Executives in Asia thinks it’s vital for them and their businesses to have connections with the ruling party or whoever is in the government offices, and in America it’s not that important to have such connections while in Asia it is the basic characteristics of executives and they think it’s also very important for their businesses. In America, Mostly business Executives even don’t get the privilege to have any direct contact with top politicians and simply business is treated as business and executives don’t even try to collaborate with top politicians and always keep the government on a certain distance and business is conducted by business people and experts. Still there are people in America who do involve and keep close ties with political guns so that to gain profitable margins but that wouldn’t be on a large scale as of Asia and simply would be an exception.


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