How Leadership Helps Shape Culture Essay

How Leadership Helps Shape Culture Essay

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The research evidence supports the theory that leadership helps shape culture; culture in turn shapes leadership and they both drive performance. Schein (2010) asserts that cultures begin with leaders who impose their own values and assumptions on a group. If that group is successful and the assumptions come to be taken for granted, we then have a culture that will define for later generations of members what kinds of leadership are acceptable. The culture now defines leadership. But as the group runs into adaptive difficulties, as its environment changes to the point where some of its assumptions are no longer valid, leadership comes into play once more. The leadership is now the ability to step outside the culture that created the leader and to start evolutionary change processes that are more adaptive. This ability to perceive the limitations of one’s own culture and to evolve the culture adaptively is the essence and ultimate challenge of leadership.
Based on the historical research, the ultimate source of an organizational culture is the founder (Schein, 2010). The culture derives from the founder’s philosophy; they have a vision of what the organization should be, and impose that vision on all members. Generally, founders can have a direct impact on building strong cultures that have a positive impact on company performance; and strong corporate culture can contribute to an organization’s bottom line and performance.
Kotter and Heskett (1992) conducted several studies to determine whether a relationship exists between corporate culture and long-term economic performance and found that firms with strong cultural traits and leadership from managers at all levels outperformed firms that did not have the same cultural trai...


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...ip had an indirect negative effect on performance. Ogbonna and Harris (2000) conclude that the results show the relationship between leadership style and performance is mediated by the form of organizational culture that is present. On the basis of these finding, Bass’s (1985) proposition that transformational leadership leads to performance beyond expectations can be further expanded, more specifically, to show that transformational leadership might create group expectations for higher performance , which, in turn affect levels of performance.
One of the main questions the research set out to explore was whether organizational culture is the filter through which leadership has an effect on performance. Thus, the findings

support the proposition that organizational culture is found to be a filter through which leadership influences various performance outcomes.

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