The transferability of leadership training in the East Asian context

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Westwood, RI & Andrew Chan 1995, 'The transferability of leadership training in the East Asian context', Asia Pacific Business Review, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 68-92.

Published version available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13602389500000032

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The problem of the transferability, relevance and application of leadership training derived from North America (as the dominant producer) to East Asia is discussed. The universality and culture-boundedness of ‘Western’ approaches is critiqued. An alternative approach to leadership more in tune with the cultural traditions of East Asia is presented. This is formulated around an ideal model which extrapolates from the cultural values prevailing in East Asia to develop a cohesive framework for the enactment of ‘leadership’ in that region. The conceptualization draws upon a distinction between ‘headship’ and ‘leadership’ and heuristically takes the former as a more meaningful construct in the East Asian case. The approach is elaborated to take account of the value and behavioural conditions necessary to meet the interdependent twin requirements for order/ compliance and harmony characteristic of the leadership situation in East Asia. Finally, implications for leadership training, both for expatriate sojourners and ‘locals’, are discussed.

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