Choosing leadership style to be applied within an organization is influenced by a number of factors among them being the leader, the subordinates and the situation in which the leadership style is being employed. The European Union (E.U.) is made up of 27 countries and is home to over 400 million people. The E.U. member countries vary in a number of ways including history, language, culture, systems, education ethics and belief (Deresky, 2000).
The Anthropological study carried out by Mead suggests that for leadership to be effective, it needs tovary across cultures (Mead, 2002). Just the same waydifferent individuals have varying opinions and principles about the ideal leadership style; different cultures have varying likings for different leadership methods too. Consequently, different organizations require different styles. For instance, the sort of leadership appreciated in the Dutch where the hierarchical pyramid is level and managers involve their subordinates in decision making would not be appreciated in Romania where authoritative leadership is perceived to be strong leadership.According to the study, the customary image of a leader alters with varying cultures (Mead, 2002). Furthermore, Hofstede observed thateven the leadership style that is most recommended by American scientists,participative style of leadership, may not be effective in some cultures (Harris, 2012). This means that there cannot be any single leadership style that would be successful in different cultures within the E.U.
Marchese 2001 observed that empowerment outcomes vary significantly across different countries (Harris, 2012). Cultural factors influence the relationship between power distance and job satisfaction. Employees in high power distance cultures tend to be less comfortable in situations whereby they are allowed to act freely. Foe example, employees within certain cultures tend to have positive attitude towards their leaders when they feel empowerment level is high while in other cultures, employees have a low perception of their leaders when they feel that the empowerment level is high (Harris, 2012). Although a certain leadership styles may be successful in some E.U. countries, the same style would cause conflict, tension and lower job satisfaction in other cultures.
A leader gets authority from his personality, his ability to inspire his subordinates, and his recognition. Not all leaders can exercise all leadership styles effectively and thus every leader needs choose a leadership style that will work well with his/her personality. Additionally, the modern leadership theory suggests that same leadership style cannot be effective in all situations. (Deresky, 2000).Factors within the organizations, such as the relationship between the leader and his subordinates, the subordinates’ views and beliefs, task structures, and the leader’s positional authority, dictate the leadership style that needs to be employed for the leadership to have intended influence on the subordinates. A leadership style that is successful in a specific situation may not be as effective when applied in a different setting, even within the same cultural setting.An effective leader is required to employ different leadership styles in different circumstances and thus similar leadership style across E.U countries would not be appropriate.
Tannenbaum and Schmidt also agree that the effectiveness of any leadership style is highly dependent on the situation it is being applied to as well as the personality of the leader exercising it. Forces operating within an individual leader, including personal values, beliefs, motives, commitment and competence, also dictate the leadership style that would be most appropriate for him/her (Tannenbaum, Weschler&Massarik, 2013). Leaders are expected to utilize their knowledge, incentive, and flexibility to employ the leadership skills that suit any given situationwithout being either too strong, too permissive or sacrificing their personal values. By unifying leadership styles across the E.U., this flexibility will be limited and thus demotivating employees and lowering productivity in the long run.
Conclusively, practicing the same leadership style across all the E.U. countries would not be appropriate