EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP AND ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE: STRONG EFFECTS IN WEAK SITUATIONS OR WEAK EFFECTS IN STRONG SITUATIONS
Tsui, A. S., Wang, H. and Xin, K., Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong
It is well accepted that organizational culture is positively related to organizational effectiveness and individual outcomes such as commitment and retention. However, there is less knowledge on factors that influence the development of organizational culture. Based on upper echelon perspective of leadership (Hambrick & Mason, 1984), we explore the linage between executive leadership and organizational culture, specifically in a context where leadership should have the greatest influence on the formation and change in organizational culture - the transforming State owned enterprises and the emerging domestic private firms in the People's Republic of China. We identify the attributes of strategic leadership---behavioral complexity, charisma, and other culture-specific attributes---which may be positively related to the type and strength of organizational culture in the Chinese context. We expect that the effect of leadership on organizational culture should be stronger in the transforming State owned firms (relative to traditional SOEs), in new entrepreneurial firms (relative to established private firms), and in emerging industries where there is a lack of well developed institutional rules and organizational norms for management (relative to old or traditional industries in China). It is in these "weak situational" contexts that we expect strong leaders - those who possess specific attributes -to have a profound influence on organizational culture in their organizations. We explore the question using both inductive and deductive methods, with the first goal to identity universal and culture- specific leadership attributes in strong culture organizations in China.