Title: Anthropologising the complexity of leadership: a holistic understanding of cross-cultural context

Authors: Huiyan Fu

Addresses: Aalen University, Beethovenstraße 1, Aalen D-73430, Germany

Abstract: The topic of leadership is exciting with a mysterious undertone. It has long remained one of the most overanalysed, frantically debated, and yet frustratingly underspecified areas of research within management and organisational studies. Using Japan as an example, this paper attempts to bring anthropological perspectives to bear on the unravelling of the leadership conundrum. Of great significance is the contextualisation of leadership in space and time; what it means to be leadership varies from nation/organisation to nation/organisation and changes over time. Although the complex nature of context is now often invoked, confusion and chaos continue to abound. It is suggested that a holistic understanding of cross-cultural context, combined with commitment to empirically-based, qualitative methods, can serve as an alternative approach to clarifying the jumbled field of leadership research, as well as throwing fresh insights into practical application and future direction.

Keywords: leadership; anthropology; cross-cultural context; holism; complexity; chaos; empirical methods; qualitative methods; ethnography; Japan.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCLM.2011.046438

International Journal of Complexity in Leadership and Management, 2011 Vol.1 No.4, pp.395 - 410

Published online: 22 Oct 2014 *

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