Asian and American Leadership Styles: How Are They Unique?

mickyates Culture, leadership 0 Comments

From HBS Working Knowledge – by Professor D. Quinn Mills

“The rapid economic development of Asia in recent decades is one of the most important events in history. This development continues today and there is every reason to anticipate that it will continue indefinitely unless derailed by possible but unlikely international conflicts. At the core of Asian economic development is its business leadership – managers and entrepreneurs who sustain and create Asian companies. Do they exhibit the same leadership styles as top executives in the West?

There are important differences. Are differences attributable to different cultures or to different stages of corporate development?


Family and political connections

Cultural differences are important, but primarily as a matter of emphasis. For example, family leadership of business enterprises, including large companies, occurs in very similar ways in both [regions], but is more common in Asia.

Li Ka-shing [of the Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong holding group], for example, runs his companies closely and is planning to pass the leadership of his firms to his two sons. Similarly, the heads of some of America’s largest firms, both publicly held and private, are the scions of the families that founded the firms.

There is less freedom of action for executives and boards in America than in Asia. But more common in America are firms that are run by professional managers who are replaced by other professional managers, either as a consequence of retirement or of replacement by the board of directors of the firm. The better companies have sophisticated programs for developing executives within the firm, and ordinarily choose a next chief executive officer from among them. American CEOs average about thirty years with their firms and own less than 4 percent of its shares.”

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Generational paranoia

mickyates Culture 0 Comments

I am involved in an on-line discussion about how and why choices for development investment opportunities for individuals, the organisation etc. are made.

I just posted this:

“I’d like to take a completely different tack to address the generational issues. Recall when we were all getting educated, either in the classroom, on the barricades (in the 60’s in Europe e.g.) or in the rock concert / hippie ‘paradise’. I can’t recall many people being too worried about the job and the mortgage – we had more important things to think about! And companies, ironically, seemed to respect that by hiring all these ‘social movers and shakers’. Not sure Government did, though – still wanted the old approaches?

Now, my wife and I have a bunch of (well educated) kids, and I spend a lot of time with young managers in various situations. Everyone seems paranoid about the economic future – cost of houses, direction of politics, mortgages, job security, the value of their CV etc etc. Of course they do still take social causes seriuosly – Tsunami, Live 8 etc etc.

But the ironic thing is that the ‘old guys’ have all the money, all the resources.

What are we collectively doing to this so-called digital generation to build their paranoia?

How can we help instead?”