Date of Award

4-6-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Corporate and Organizational Management

Department

College of Business and Management

First Advisor

Laura Kozloski Hart

Second Advisor

Jose Lopez-Alarcon

Third Advisor

Jeanette Francis

Abstract

Sustaining a competitive edge in today's global business environment depends upon highly effective levels of teamwork from within an organization. During the last few decades, there has been a continuing trend of flattening or compressing the organizational hierarchy and depending on groups of employees working together as units, or workgroups, in a variety of industries. Corporate stockholders and stakeholders tend to consider workgroups an effective way to improve various aspects of organizational performance.

With the advent of the borderless organization, the workgroup has emerged as a significant entity involved in decision-making; project planning, design and implementation; inter-departmental endeavors; and other corporate activities. This is not to imply, however, that workgroups operate autonomously or without some type of leadership. Whether a leader is appointed by management, chosen by peers, or simply emerges due to strong character or personality, there is always someone responsible for the group's effectiveness. As challenges and personality conflicts arise, leadership style plays a pivotal role in group members' perceptions, interactions, and levels of collaboration.

Culture is a unique variable that helps to determine levels of interaction of team members, and to what extent they consider their own interactions effective relevant to the strategic plan of their corporation. Culture can be a uniting or a dividing factor for teams and groups, and it appears that culture also influences team members' perceptions of their leader's effectiveness and that relationship to the workgroup's general effectiveness. Cultural differences within workgroups can have a direct effect on key aspects of overall profitability performance such as effective resource allocation and management, turnover and training cost reductions, and decisions to outsource. Culture, and its relationship with leadership style and workgroup effectiveness, is crucial in the success and long-term sustainability of an organization.

This research focused on the relationship of culture with workgroup members' perceptions of the style their leader uses to accomplish established goals, as well as workgroup leaders' perceptions of their own leadership styles as they interact with workgroup members. This investigation also examined workgroup members' and leaders' perceptions of workgroup effectiveness based on their cultural backgrounds.

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