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Cross-cultural leadership styles: a comparative study of U.S. and Nigerian financial institutions.

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to explore the interaction between elements of national culture and leadership styles, and empirically compare leadership styles of Nigerian and United States managers in financial institutions. Leadership styles of Initiating Structure and Consideration were measured with the Leadership Opinion Questionnaire and used to estimate, evaluate and explain the influence of national cultural values, gender, age, religious belief, and educational qualifications on leadership behavior of business managers from both countries. Completed questionnaires from 103 U.S. and 108 Nigerian respondents, with reliability coefficients (Cronbach's Alpha) ranging from .71 to .81 were analyzed. Results of this study revealed significant differences in Initiating Structure and Consideration leadership styles between the United States and Nigerian managers in financial institutions and lend support to Hofstede's 1985 findings. The differences were primarily due to the influence of national culture. The combined effect of gender and country of nationality also demonstrated significance in Initiating Structure leadership style. No significant differences were found in the two leadership styles considered due to age, religious belief or educational qualifications. Results of this study will be useful to the international business community, especially firms seeking business ventures in Nigeria for training employees for assignments in Nigeria or hiring qualified Nigerians for management level positions.

INTRODUCTION

This research explores the interaction between elements of national culture and leadership styles, and empirically compares leadership styles of United States and Nigerian managers in financial institutions. The basic theory in this research is the two-factor theory of leadership (The Ohio State University Leadership Studies), which narrowed the description of leadership behavior into two separate dimensions, Initiating Structure and Consideration. Other supporting theories included those developed by Hofstede (1980), Gibson (1995), and Safranski and Kwon (1988). Leadership styles of Initiating Structure and Consideration (Fleishman, 1989) will be used to estimate, evaluate and explain the influence of national cultural values, gender, age, religious belief, and educational qualification on leadership styles of managers from both countries. Knowledge and understanding of cross-cultural and cross-national similarities and differences in leadership styles between these two countries will benefit the international business community, especially multinational corporations considering joint ventures or foreign direct investment (FDI) in Nigeria. These firms can use the results of this study to prepare and train their management staff for assignments in Nigeria or hire qualified Nigerians for top management positions.

People from different cultures develop certain patterns of life, philosophy and value systems, which influence their behavior and leadership styles. Business experience abroad has shown how widely these leadership styles vary from country to country, and from culture to culture (Trompenaars, 1993). In order to lead effectively in another culture, a leader must understand the social values, customs, norms, leadership behavior and work-related cultural values of the host country's workforce (Fatehi, 1996).

Cultural differences influence leadership styles, norms, role expectations, and traditions governing the relationship among various members of society. These are strong determinants of effective leadership behavior in a society (Fatehi, 1996). Fatehi argues that what constitutes a good leader in one culture may not constitute a good leader in other cultures. He stated that in the United States of America, for example, people would prefer democratic leaders who seek input from subordinates before making decisions. In other cultures, such would be regarded as incompetence or lack of knowledge on the part of the leader. He emphasizes that these other cultures might prefer a leader who takes charge of the situation without consulting subordinates prior to decision-making. Besides having technical expertise, international managers must possess the ability to organize, and lead a workforce of diverse cultures (Fatehi, 1996).

Leadership is an essential ingredient in the success or failure of all organizations. According to Fiedler (1967:11), leadership is "an interpersonal relation in which power and influence are unevenly distributed so that one person is able to direct and control actions and behaviors of others to a greater extent than they direct and control his". One of the most significant aspects of leadership is the style of the leader. The best style of leadership is that which varies with the circumstances (Mainiero & Tromley, 1989), and maximizes a firm's productivity, satisfaction, growth and development in all situations (Hersey & Blanchard, 1993).

President Clinton's historic trip to Africa in March 1998 may have encouraged American business leaders to seek business ventures in the African continent. During the course of his diplomatic mission, President Clinton emphasized the need for the United States to build closer diplomatic and economic ties with the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. Two bills (H.R. 434 & S. 666) in support of economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa (African Growth and Opportunity Act, 1999) have been approved by the U.S. Congress and signed by the president. Among U.S. investors who accompanied him to Africa were several African-American business leaders, who enthusiastically applauded the notion of U.S. investments in Africa (Coleman, 1998). As the desire for U.S. investments in Africa gathers momentum, the need to learn and understand the leadership behavior of these African countries will begin to emerge. Foreign investors need to know the cultural work values of the African workforce in order to prepare their expatriate employees for assignments in these countries (Osuoha, 2000). Since most U.S. firms send their most talented managers to these overseas assignments, failure of these managers to perform effectively will result in both monetary and business losses.

One of the most politically significant countries in Africa that may likely attract a lot of foreign investors is Nigeria. Nigeria is Africa's most populous country (has about one-fourth the population of the entire continent) and has an abundance of mineral resources (Compton's Encyclopedia, 1999). Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria is estimated at about US $50 billion, with the U.S. share of this amount at about 26% (Maps N' Facts, 1995). Nigeria has the potential to become the largest market in Africa for foreign goods and services. There is the probability that foreign industrialists would rush into Nigeria to establish businesses, and take advantage of the cheap labor prevalent in the country since the military dictatorship, which governed the country for the past two decades, has handed over power to an elected civilian government (Osuoha, 2000).

LITERATURE REVIEW

Leadership Studies

Leadership is the ability of an individual to inspire and influence the thinking, attitude, and behavior of other people (Bennis & Nanus, 1985; Yukl, 1989). A leader's principal objective is to assure synergy in his or her organization, and draw from the joint efforts of people working together a result that is more than the sum of the individual efforts put together (Koontz & Fulmer, 1975). In the words of Bennis and Nanus (1985: 3):
 Leadership is like beauty, it is hard to define, but you
 know it when you see it. the new leader is one who commits
 people to action, and who converts followers into
 leaders, and who may convert leaders into agents of change.


Bennis and Nanus studied ninety successful business leaders, mostly from top Fortune 200 companies. Through intensive interviewing, these leaders revealed how they viewed their roles in their various organizations. Bennis and Nanus developed four areas of competence shared by all these successful leaders which include the following: 1) Attention through vision-all the leaders studied were agenda driven and unparalleled results oriented. Their vision and intensity were magnetic and attracted followers towards them. 2) Meaning Through Communication-effectively communicating one's leadership vision induces enthusiasm and commitment from followers. 3) Trust Through Positioning-positioning is the set of actions necessary for implementing the leader's vision. A leader must establish reliability, demonstrate predictability and accountability in order to be trusted by followers. 4) Deployment of Self-leaders must recognize their strengths and weaknesses. While leaders continue to develop their strengths, they must compensate for their weaknesses through competent staff.

To some people, leadership may mean power, authority and control (Adizes, 1988; Earley & Erez, 1997), while to others, it means motivating subordinates to act by non-coercive means. Mainiero and Tromley (1989, p.159) stated that "a leader is someone who is able to size up a situation quickly (often in the absence of information), define a direction to pursue, and mobilize subordinates' energies towards the achievement of a particular goal".

Hersey and Blanchard (1993) view the leadership process as a function of the leader, the follower, and the situational variables. They emphasized that "the style of the leader" is the key to effective leadership, and that the best style of leadership is one that maximizes productivity, satisfaction, growth and development in all situations.

Major Approaches to Leadership

Leadership studies in the past have included certain historic approaches, among them: the Trait, the Behavioral, Situational Contingency, Transformational, and the Cultural Contingency approaches. The Cultural Contingency approach focuses on the influence of cultural values and beliefs on the leadership style of a leader. Many leadership theories emerged from these approaches. A brief description of some of the leadership approaches are presented below: The Trait Approach: The history of the world has been shaped by great leaders who made significant contributions to society, and who possessed certain unique qualities that made them great leaders. Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, George Washington, and Franklin Roosevelt were among great leaders who used their leadership skills in the building of their nations, while Thomas Watson, Edwin Land, Alfred Sloan, Lee Iaccoca etc. will always be remembered for their leadership skills in building successful business organizations. What made these leaders great became a subject of investigation. The trait approach claimed that leadership attributes were inherited, and limited to individuals who possessed extraordinary abilities, such as tireless energy, great intuition and extraordinary persuasive ability.

The Behavioral Approach: The behavioral approach focused on what leaders can do but not what leaders are. The behavioral study examines a leader's behavior and its impact on subordinate performance and satisfaction. The behavioral approach became a major research activity at the Ohio State University (Fleishman 1953a; Fleishman, Harris, & Burt 1955) and the University of Michigan (Bowers & Seashore, 1966; Likert, 1961, 1967). The Ohio State University studies will be reviewed in detail later in this paper.

Situational Contingency Approach: The situational contingency approach specifies situational factors that make certain leader behavior more effective. Fiedler (1967) provided a framework for effectively matching the leader's behavior with the situation to determine leadership effectiveness. After studying the leadership styles of hundreds of leaders who worked in different contexts, mainly in the military, the situation in which they worked, and their leadership effectiveness, Fiedler empirically determined leadership styles that were good and bad within the organizational context. He used the Least Preferred Co-worker (LPC) scale, which measured leaders' attitudes toward their least-preferred co-worker to evaluate leadership styles of managers. Leaders with high scores were rated relationship-oriented and those with low scores were rated task-oriented. The conditions that influenced the effectiveness of the leadership behavior depended on a combination of: (a) leader-member liking, (b) the degree of task structure, and (c) the position power of the leader.

Transformational Leadership Approach: Transformational leadership is part of the "New Leadership" paradigm (Bryman, 1992), a process that changes the attitude of individuals in organizations towards commitment to organizational missions, objectives and strategies (Bass, 1985; Yukl, 1989). It focuses on values, long-term goals and vision. Transformational leadership uses vision, charisma, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation or individualized consideration to inspire followers to go beyond the call of duty in discharging their responsibilities, and achieving organizational goals.

The Ohio State University Studies

An extensive research program, which focused on what leaders can do but not what leaders are started at the Ohio State University (Fleishman, 1953a; Fleishman, Harris $ Burtt, 1955) and the University of Michigan (Bowers & Seashore 1966; Likert 1961, 1967) in the 1960s to investigate the behavioral approach to leadership. The Ohio State University researchers, (Fleishman, 1953a; Fleishman & Harris, 1962; Fleishman & Peters, 1962), defining leadership as the behavior of individuals when influencing a group of followers towards goal attainment described leader behavior in two dimensions: Initiating Structure and Consideration. Fleishman and Peters (1962: 127) defined these two factors of leadership as follows:
 Initiating Structure: Reflects the extent to which
 an individual is likely to define and structure his
 role and those of his subordinates toward goal attainment.

 Consideration: Reflects the extent to which an individual
 is likely to have job relationships characterized by
 mutual trust, respect for subordinates' ideas, and
 consideration of their feelings.


Fleishman and his associates described these two leadership dimensions as distinct and separate dimensions. There are leaders whose behavior is characterized by both high Initiating Structure and high Consideration, while others are low on both dimensions or low on one and high on the other. The Ohio State University studies resulted in the development of four quadrants of leadership styles, which represent different combinations of Initiating Structure and Consideration dimensions. See Figure 1. Fleishman (1953) developed the Leadership Opinion Questionnaire (LOQ) to measure the self-perception of leaders regarding their leadership styles in terms of Initiating Structure and Consideration. Many studies have examined and correlated these two leadership styles with subordinate satisfaction and performance (Fleishman and Simons (1970); Greenwood and McNamara, 1969; Yukl, 1989).

Culture Defined

Culture consists of values, beliefs, attitudes, and behavior of a group of people. It plays a predominant role in the way people think, learn, lead, follow and communicate. Culture influences employee motivation, superior-subordinate relationships, authority, leadership behavior and interpersonal relationships. Language, ethnicity and religion are some of the major components of culture (Fatehi, 1996). Culture also has both physical and nonphysical components. The physical aspects of culture are functional and tangible, for example, crafts, music, artistic objects, poetry, and arts. The nonphysical aspects of culture constitute the mental values which people use to characterize the environment and view their relationships with nature. These cultural characteristics differentiate one group of people from another.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Kluckhohn and Murray (1954), in their quest to generate knowledge regarding individual behavior in light of people's social and cultural backgrounds, asked the following questions:
 Is there a connection between the mental illness
 characteristics of a given group, and the social norms
 that this group enforces with special severity? Does
 a people's way of bringing up their children make a
 particular type of personality unusually common
 in that society? Why do certain kinds of delinquencies
 appear most frequently among the children of certain
 social classes? How much of an individual's personality is
 fixed by his biological constitution? How much is
 personal life style influenced by the society's
 traditional designs for living? (p. xv)


Kluckhohn and Murray argued that people who grow up in certain cultural backgrounds tend to behave predictably in ways that conform to the norms and traditions of those particular cultures.

Earley and Erez (1997) define culture as the way people see the world, and as a shared knowledge structure that results in decreased variability in the individuals' response to stimuli. According to Fatehi (1996: 155), culture is "a system of knowledge and standards for perceiving, believing, evaluating and acting. It is a system of socially transmitted patterns of behavior that serves to relate people to the environment".

Culture is not country specific but refers to a group of people who share the same values and beliefs. A country may have several cultures while a group of countries may share the same culture. National culture reflects the values, beliefs, and assumptions unique to a nation-state (Schneider, 1989; Newman & Nollen, 1996). "National culture is embedded deeply in everyday life and is relatively impervious to change ... National culture is a central organizing principle of employees' understanding of work, their approach to it, and the way in which they expect to be treated" (Newman and Nollen 1996: 754 and 756). They emphasized that leadership behavior, which reflects employees' national values, tends to encourage the employees to work harder and become more productive. Hofstede (1996) stated that:
 Most nation-states display a common mental programming of
 a majority of their inhabitants. This programming consists
 of shared symbols, heroes, and rituals that provide a
 national identity, and shared values that serve to
 stabilize the national society. (p. 73).


Besides, citizens of most nations are exposed to the same dominant language, common mass media, the same education system, a national army, a national political system, and a national market for goods and services (Hofstede, 1996). Therefore, they share identical cultural values.

Hofstede (1980) 4-Dimensional Model of Cultural Work Values

Hofstede's publication of his seminal research on "Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values" in 1980 greatly stimulated interest in cross-cultural management research. Hofstede provided a framework for cross-national comparative research on work-related values in different national cultures. In one of the largest cross-cultural studies ever, he collected and analyzed a database of 117,000 questionnaire responses from over 160,000 IBM employees worldwide between 1967 and 1973. His cross-cultural research covered about 67 different countries and over 50 different occupations. Hofstede identified four work-related cultural dimensions, which he described as follows:

Power Distance: This measures the interpersonal power or authority between boss and subordinate as perceived by the weaker of the two. Power Distance is "the extent to which the members of a society accept that power in institutions and organizations is distributed equally" (Hofstede, 1985: 347).

Uncertainty Avoidance: This dimension defines "the degree to which the members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity which leads them to support beliefs promising certainty and to maintain institutions protecting conformity" (Hofstede, 1985:348).

Individualism-Collectivism: "Individualism stands for a loosely knit social framework in a society in which individuals are supposed to take care of themselves and their immediate families" (Hofstede, 1985:348). Collectivism, on the other hand stands for a "closely-knit social framework in which individuals can expect their relatives, clan or others in-group to look after them, in exchange for unquestioning loyalty"(Hofstede, 1985:348).

Masculinity-Femininity Dimension: This cultural dimension describes the extent to which socially prescribed gender roles are perceived in a society. Masculinity describes "a society in which social sexual roles are clearly distinct: men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success; women are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life" (Hofstede, 1996: 89). Femininity describes a society, which has "preference for relationships, modesty, caring for the weak and the quality of life" (Hofstede, 1985: 348).

Cross-Cultural Leadership Behavior

The current trend in globalization of businesses has created a diverse workforce comprising individuals from many countries and cultures. The major leadership theories were developed with the assumption that leaders and followers shared common values, beliefs, traditions and culture (Evan, Hau, & Sculli, 1989). The notion that a good manager in one country, say the United States will be a good manager in other countries is no longer true. Different national cultures require different leadership styles (Morris & Pavett, 1992; Erez & Earley, 1993; Bigoness & Blakely, 1996; Newman & Nollen, 1996).

Researchers have demonstrated that cultural values are determinants of organizational behavior. Erez and Earley (1993) contend that management practices, which are consistent with a society's predominant cultural values, are evaluated favorably by that society. They argued that those management practices generate feelings of satisfaction, and motivate the employees to contribute more to the organization. Similarly, Gibson and Marcoulides (1995) added that leadership styles, which are compatible with the cultural values of employees are often retained and practiced by those employees. They added that improved employee performance serves as a reinforcement to the leaders, who continue to practice the same leadership style that contributed to the employee's good performance.

There are some unique leadership behaviors that appear to be associated with some particular cultural backgrounds. In Nigeria, tribalism or loyalty to members of one's tribe transcends objective considerations of subordinate work performance (Bass, 1981). Objective merit ratings, promotions, and recommendations for pay increases are not totally based on performance, but rather biased in favor of people from one's own tribe (Bass, 1981: 533-534). The Arab culture is tradition oriented, and leadership behavior in the Arab countries is influenced by a strong loyalty to religion, family, and friends (Yasin, Zimmerer, & Green, 1989). The combination of family, tribal norms, and bureaucratic organizational structure in the Arab countries favor the Authoritarian leadership style.

Besides cultural influence, the influence of technological development on leadership behavior has become another important theme in cross-cultural leadership studies. The level of technology or industrialization attained by a society influences management behavior and leadership styles in that society (Evan, Hau, & Sculli, 1989). They argued that when a country starts the process of industrialization, changes in management style also start to occur. They cited Hong Kong as a typical example of a society where management styles changed in response to technological development. During this period, Hong Kong moved from the production of textiles to the production of high technology light manufactured goods and electronic products. It is important to remember that during this period, certain cultural values, which emphasized good family relationships, strong work ethics, self-discipline, and hard work, remained unchanged. Evan, Hau and Sculli (1989) concluded that:
 Management style is a function of the level of
 industrialization, but is tempered by cultural
 characteristics. Industrial development produces
 wealth and changes life styles. Individuals become
 less dependent on the family, and this, in turn, leads to
 general self-assertion of workers. (p. 12).


Nigerian Leadership Behavior

Two types of work value systems exist in most African countries: the Western organizational value system and the indigenous African value system (Ahiazu, 1989). According to Ahiazu, Western theories and values accompany industrial technology imported from the Western World into African countries. These values have penetrated through the African native cultures and significantly influenced them with Western values. The result is that in the industrialized sectors of the economy the Western values dominate, whereas in the traditional work environment the indigenous African work organizational values are effectively adopted and practiced. Ahiazu (1986) conducted a study of Nigerian workers in both industrial and indigenous work settings and reported that in situations where the indigenous African work values are adopted the average Nigerian worker is totally committed and works very hard. In the industrial workplace, where Western industrial organizational values dominate, the Nigerian worker is perceived to be less enthusiastic and uncommitted. Ahiazu also reported that most Nigerian factory workers do not plan to hold their jobs for a long period of time. They worked mainly to save some money that would enable them open up their own businesses.

These findings are in line with results from other studies which maintained that management practices which are consistent with a society's predominant cultural values generate feelings of satisfaction, and motivate the employees to contribute to organizational performance (Erez & Earley, 1993; Newman & Nollen, 1996). Obviously, these industrial workers are distasteful of the foreign cultural values imposed on them in their factory jobs. In these factories, work must conform to the prescribed norms of behavior (Oloko, 1971) and these norms match the cultural values of American middle-class managers.

DEVELOPMENT OF HYPOTHESES

Hofstede (1985) grouped Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone into one region, which he called West Africa (WAF). IBM did not have a sufficient number of employees in each of these countries at the time his survey research was being conducted. He found West Africa high in Power Distance, low in Uncertainty Avoidance, low in Individualism, and low in Masculinity. Hofstede rated the United States low in Power Distance, low in Uncertainty Avoidance, high in Individualism, and high in Masculinity. According to Hofstede, West Africa (Nigeria) and the United States are diametrically opposite on three of four of Hofstede's dimensions, with a large gap existing between their cultural values as shown in Table 1.

Hofstede (1996: 89) describes masculine society as "a society in which social sexual roles are clearly distinct: men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success". Managers from highly masculine cultures emphasize aggression, assertiveness and material success. These leadership characteristics are similar to those of Initiating structure, which emphasize high task performance. On the other hand, managers from low masculine cultures (feminine) emphasize affection, compassion, and the nurturing of the weak, similar to Consideration characteristics.

Since Hofstede (1997) rated the United States higher in Masculinity than Nigeria (West Africa), and Nigeria (West Africa) higher in Femininity than the U.S., one would assume that U.S. business managers will score higher in Initiating Structure and lower in Consideration than the Nigerians mangers. To date, no studies have been done to determine where Nigeria falls in Hofstede's cultural dimension mapping, when considered alone. Through regular visits by Nigerians to the United States, and the availability of American television programs in Nigeria, many Nigerians are familiar with the U.S. lifestyle and culture. Besides, when a country starts the process of technological advancement, changes in management behavior and leadership style begin to occur (Evan, Hau, & Sculli, 1989). Since Hofstede published his IBM cross-cultural studies, a lot of technological changes have occurred in Nigeria. These technological changes include high technology manufacturing industries, oil and gas exploration, petro-chemical light industries and the Internet. Based on the above discussion, the first hypotheses are as follows:
H1a0: There are no significant differences in Initiating
 Structure leadership style between United States and
 Nigerian business leaders in financial institutions
 when considering national cultural differences.

H1b0: There are no significant differences in Consideration
 leadership style between United States and Nigerian
 business leaders in financial institutions when
 considering national cultural differences.


Gender Influence on Leadership Styles

The argument has been whether there are differences between the leadership styles of male and female managers. Historically, successful male leaders have demonstrated leadership traits such as assertiveness, toughness, aggressiveness, competitiveness, and decisiveness (Northouse, 1997). In contrast, a majority of the female leaders have been characterized as being kind, selfless, submissive and sympathetic. These female leadership qualities are in line with the traditional role of women in the family: as mothers, homemakers, schoolteachers, nurses and secretaries. Female leaders who demonstrate the same leadership characteristics as men are often branded as bossy and over-domineering by the society (Adler, 1986). Hearn and Parkin (1986) argued that:
 Characteristically, leadership has been performed by men;
 and characteristically, notions of leadership have
 implicitly assumed that leaders are to be men. Hence,
 leadership may be assumed to imply maleness, and maleness
 may be assumed to carry with it inherent qualities of
 leadership that women lack. (p. 36)


Eagly (1987) viewed the gender issue in two dimensions: Agentic and Communal dimensions. The Agentic dimension emphasizes aggressiveness, ambition, independence, directiveness, and decisiveness; while the Communal dimension emphasizes nurturance, affection, and ability to devote awareness to the feelings of others (Eagly, 1987; Gibson, 1995). While Agentic qualities characterize male leadership behavior, Communal qualities characterize female leadership behavior.

Gibson (1995) reported significant differences in leadership behavior and styles between male and female business leaders across four countries: Norway, Sweden, Australia, and the United States. Differences in leadership behavior and style were also found among these countries, primarily as a result of differences in national cultures, but no interactions between gender and national culture were found. Not much has been reported in the organizational literature regarding the leadership behavior of Nigerian female leaders. Nigerian women have not been given the same leadership opportunities, which U.S. women enjoy (Metz, 1991). Based on the above assumptions, the second hypotheses are stated as follows:
H2a0: There are no significant differences in Initiating
 Structure leadership style between male and female
 business leaders in United States and Nigerian
 financial institutions.

H2b0: There are no significant differences in Consideration
 leadership style between male and female business
 leaders in United States and Nigerian financial
 institutions.


Religious beliefs and attitudes influence the work values of societies (Youssef, 1971; Harris & Moran, 1983; Ali, 1990;). Sanfranski and Kwon (1988) investigated the influence of religious beliefs on the management values of international students, who were grouped according to their religious affiliations. Results revealed that religious beliefs had a strong influence on their personal values, especially their leadership behavior. While Islam is the dominant religion in northern Nigeria (Hausa-Fulani tribe), Protestantism is prevalent in western Nigeria (Yoruba tribe) and Catholicism in the East (Igbo tribe). It is predicted that the above religious beliefs will affect the leadership behavior of both U.S. and Nigerian business leaders.
H3a0: There are no significant differences in Initiating
 Structure leadership styles among Nigerian and U.S.
 business leaders in financial institutions when
 considering religious belief.

H3b0: There are no significant differences in
 Consideration leadership style among Nigerian and
 U.S. business leaders in financial institutions when
 considering religious belief.


This study also explores the influence of age on Initiating Structure and Consideration leadership styles. In Nigeria, the assumption is that experience is a function of age; the older individuals get, the wiser they become. Respect for the elderly is a major aspect of the African culture, and leadership opportunities are first given to older people in the organizations (Ahiazu, 1989). Older people are more committed to work than younger people (Loscocco & Kalleberg, 1988). Fleishman (1989a) and his associates argued that age has a considerable impact on the leadership styles of managers. As an individual's age increases, his or her ambition to climb the corporate ladder slows down, and that individual begins to focus on the quality of life that follows retirement (Parker, 1994). This condition will be prevalent in both Nigeria and the U.S., regardless of national cultural differences. This will result in increased scores in Consideration and reduced scores in Initiating Structure, which lead to the following hypotheses:
H4a: There are no significant differences in Initiating
 Structure leadership style among Nigerian and U.S.
 business leaders in financial institutions when
 considering age.

H4b0: There are no significant differences in Consideration
 leadership style among Nigerian and U.S. business
 leaders in financial institutions when considering age.


Managers with more formal education are more ambitious than those with less formal education (Brenner, 1988). They are more aggressive, and demonstrate a greater desire for independence. The assumption is that these business leaders will score higher in Initiating Structure and lower in Consideration, as their drive to climb the corporate ladder will force them to demonstrate task behavior characteristics. In corporate America, it is the ardent desire of these highly educated elite to climb the corporate ladder. As a consequence, they become more aggressive and more focused towards maximizing shareholder value.
H5a0: There are no significant differences in Initiating
 Structure leadership style among Nigerian and U.S.
 business leaders in financial institutions when
 considering levels of formal education.

H5b0: There are no significant differences in
 Consideration leadership style among Nigerian and
 U.S. business leaders in financial institutions
 when considering levels of formal education.


METHODOLOGY

Research Design and Instrument

The research instrument used in this study comprises two parts: Fleishman's (1989a) Leadership Opinion Questionnaire (LOQ) and a Demographic Questionnaire (DQ), developed by the researcher. The LOQ is a Likert-type attitude scale, consisting of 40 items. The first 20 items measure the extent to which a leader facilitates group interactions toward goal attainment (Initiating Structure), and the other 20 items measure the extent to which a leader is considerate of the feelings of subordinates (Consideration). Half of the questions are in reverse order.

In each of the 40 items, respondents indicate how frequently they emphasize the behavior described (e.g., always, often, occasionally, seldom, never). Fleishman and Peters (1962) emphasized that there are no right or wrong answers to the questions, because no group of people is identical to the other. Besides, there is no one best way to lead, since a good way of leading in one group may not be a good way of leading in another group.

Data Collection

Medium sized financial institutions in Nigeria, with 200 to 1000 employees were randomly selected from the Thomson/Polk Financial Directory (1998). Two hundred questionnaires were hand delivered to the Faculty of Business Administration, University of Lagos in Nigeria, from where they were mailed to the financial institutions selected by the researcher. The financial institutions distributed the questionnaires to their middle and lower level managers. Respondents completed the questionnaires and mailed them back to the University of Lagos as requested. The University hand delivered all completed questionnaires to the researcher in the United States.

The Nigerian sample was matched in the United States by using the same Thomson/Polk Financial Directory, Worldwide Correspondents Guide to select U.S. financial institutions that were surveyed. Similar to the Nigerian sample, survey instruments were mailed directly to the U.S. financial institutions, which distributed them to middle and lower level managers in their firms as requested by the researcher. Out of 200 survey questionnaires mailed to U.S. firms, 108 respondents completed the questionnaires and returned them directly to the researcher. A total of 120 Nigerian managers also completed the survey.

All questionnaires were checked for completeness. Questionnaires with incomplete answers were discarded. Among the completed and usable questionnaires were 103 responses from the U.S. and 108 from the Nigerian sample. The alternative answers to each LOQ questions were coded 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively. The questionnaires were scored and the numbers added up to obtain Initiating Structure and Consideration scores for each respondent. The maximum possible score for either Initiating Structure or Consideration is 100 (20x5). A minimum score of 20 (20x1) is also possible.

Independent and Dependent Variables

Independent Variables consist of country of nationality, gender, age, religious belief and level of educational qualification of the respondents. Dependent variables are Initiating Structure and Consideration, obtained by summing up the values assigned to the answers to the 40 questions. Initiating Structure and Consideration mean scores are shown in Table 3.

Descriptive Statistics

Using SPSS for Windows 6.0 software package (Norusis, 1994a), the researcher computed descriptive statistics of the data collected. Out of the 211 responses used for the analysis, 103 participants or 48.8% of all the respondents came from the United States and 108 or 51.2 % came from Nigeria. The average age of all the respondents is about 44.41 years while the minimum and maximum ages are 25 and 60 years respectively, as shown on Table 2.2.

About 39.34% of the participants hold the bachelor's degree while 36% hold postgraduate degrees (Master's or Ph.D.). High school and junior college graduates make up 24.6% of all participants. Out of the three major religious groups considered in the analysis, 49.75%, 35.5% and 14.7% identified themselves as Catholics, Protestants and "Other" religious group respectively. The "Other" religious group comprises of Muslim, Buddhist, Judaism, Hinduism and people with no religion. Table 3 presents a detailed frequency distribution of all the independent variables.

Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficients

Pearson's correlation measures the strength, direction, and significance of the relationship between two variables, regardless of whether the variables are dependent or independent. As shown in Table 2.2, there are significant relationships between national culture (country) and Consideration (-0.4558), national culture and Initiating Structure (-0.5020), and national culture (country) and educational level (.4026). The correlation coefficient between Initiating Structure and Consideration as shown in Table 2.2 is about .3549. However, a larger correlation between 2 variables is not indicative that one causes the other.

Tests of Hypotheses

Research Hypotheses One-A and One-B were tested using a two-tailed F-test to establish equality of variances and a two-tailed t-test for equality of means. In these two Hypotheses, a direct comparison of Initiating Structure and Consideration mean scores between Nigerian and U.S. financial institutions was made regardless of gender, age , religious belief or level of educational qualification. The remaining hypotheses were tested using a two-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). ANOVA can only be used to test equality of three or more population means (Hanke & Reitsch, 1994: 427). A .05 significant level was used in all the hypotheses.

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)

Analysis of variance (ANOVA) is a statistical technique used to determine whether samples come from populations with equal means. The ANOVA technique examines the variability of observations within each group and the variability between group means (Norusis, 1994b). The situation is defined by two or more independent variables. The research design in this study is two-factored: the influence of national culture between the U.S. and Nigeria (column factor) and any of the independent variables such as gender, age, religious belief or educational qualification (row factor). The two-way ANOVA was used to explore the differences in Initiating Structure and Consideration mean scores between these two countries considering the following:

1. The influence of the independent variable (national culture).

2. The independent variable groups (gender, age, religious belief or educational level).

3. The interaction between items 1 (column factor) and 2 (row factor) above.

An interaction occurs when the "levels of one factor interrelate significantly with the levels of another factor in influencing the dependent variable" (Hank & Reitsch, 1994: 441).

RESULTS

Null Hypothesis One-A predicted that, there would be no significant differences in Initiating Structure leadership style between United States and Nigerian business managers in financial institutions when considering national cultural differences. The F-test failed to show a significant difference between the variances (Computed F = 0.9625 < Critical F = 1.52). The t-test showed significant differences in Initiating Structure mean scores between Nigeria and U.S. managers (calculated t = 8.39 > critical t = 1.960). Hypothesis One-A was rejected. U.S. managers scored significantly higher in Initiating Structure than Nigerian managers, lending support to Hofstede's (1997) findings, which rated U.S. higher in Masculinity than West Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone). Initiating Structure and Masculinity have identical leadership characteristics (high task performance).

Null Hypothesis One-B predicted that, there would be no significant differences in Consideration leadership style between United States and Nigerian business leaders in financial institutions when considering national cultural differences. Similarly, the F-test failed to show a significant difference between the variances (Computed F = 0.9625 < Critical F = 1.52). The t-test showed significant differences in Consideration mean scores between Nigeria and U.S. managers (computed t = 7.4 > critical t = 1.960) Hypothesis One-B was rejected. U.S. managers scored significantly higher in Consideration than Nigerians did.

Hypothesis Two-A predicted that there would be no significant differences in Initiating Structure leadership style between male and female managers in the United States and Nigerian financial institutions. The two-way ANOVA test failed to show any significant difference in Initiating Structure mean scores between male and female managers (p-value = .786 > .05) but the combined effect (interaction) of gender and country of nationality demonstrated significance ( p-value = .011 < .05), resulting in the rejection of Null Hypothesis Two-A. See Table 4A for detailed results. The analysis failed to support the Agentic and Communal theory of leadership (Eagly, 1987; Gibson, 1995) which emphasizes that men are more Agentic and women more Communal.

Null Hypothesis Two-B predicted that there would be no significant differences in Consideration leadership style between male and female business leaders in the United States and Nigerian financial institutions. The analysis did not show any significant difference in Consideration leadership style primarily based on gender (p-value = .295 >.05) or the combined effect (interaction) of gender and country of nationality (p-value = .081> .05). See Table 4B.

Null Hypotheses Three-A and Three-B predicted that there would be no significant differences in Initiating Structure and Consideration scores among Nigerian and U.S. business leaders respectively in financial institutions while considering their religious belief. The analysis failed to show any significant differences in Initiating Structure and Consideration mean scores among the religious groups (Initiating Structure p-value = .821 > .05 and Consideration p-value = .585 > .05) or the interaction between country of nationality and religious groups (Initiating Structure p-value = .891 > .05 and Consideration p-value = 213 > .05). There was not sufficient evidence to reject Null Hypothesis Three-A or Three-B. Detailed results are shown in Tables 4A & 4B.

Null Hypotheses Four-A and Four-B predicted that there would be no significant differences in Initiating Structure and Consideration mean scores among U.S. and Nigerian business leaders respectively in financial institutions while considering the age of the respondents. The analysis failed to show any significant differences in Initiating Structure and Consideration mean scores among the age groups (Initiating Structure p-value = .8091 > .05 and Consideration p-value = .656 > .05) or the interaction between country of nationality and age groups (Initiating Structure p-value = .333 > .05 and Consideration p-value = .486 > .05). There was not sufficient evidence to reject Null Hypothesis Four-A or B.

Null Hypotheses Five-A and Five-B predicted that there would be no significant difference in Initiating Structure and Consideration leadership styles respectively among U.S. and Nigerian business leaders while considering the level of formal education. There was not sufficient evidence to reject this Null Hypothesis. The analysis failed to show any significant differences in Initiating Structure and Consideration mean scores among the educational groups (Initiating Structure p-value = .808 > .05 and Consideration p-value = .176 > .05) or the interaction between country of nationality and educational groups (Initiation Structure p-value = .737 > .05 and Consideration p-value = .111 > .05). There was not sufficient evidence to reject Null Hypothesis Five-A or Five-B. Detailed results are shown in Tables 4A & 4B.

CONCLUSIONS

Advances in technology and the rapid globalization of businesses demand that multinational firms acquire the required manpower to support their businesses all over the world. Managers selected for international assignments must understand the social values, customs, norms and cultural work related values of their host countries (Fatehi, 1996) in order to perform efficiently and effectively. Knowledge gained from this study could help multinational corporations plan and train their management staff for assignments in Nigeria or make decisions to hire qualified Nigerians for management positions in their Nigerian subsidiaries.

Since Masculinity and Initiating Structure have similar leadership characteristics (high task performance), and the results of this study demonstrated that the United States respondents had higher Initiating Structure scores than Nigerians, the results of this study validates Hofstede's findings which rated the United States higher in Masculinity than West Africa (Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone combined). However, U.S. respondents also scored higher than their Nigerian counterparts in Consideration, in contrast to the assumption that since U.S. is rated higher in Masculinity, that Nigeria will be higher in Femininity. Femininity has similar characteristics to Consideration (relationship behavior). The two leadership dimensions are distinct and separate dimensions (Fleishman, 1953a, 1953b; Fleishman & Peters, 1962). There are leaders whose behavior are characterized by both high Initiating Structure and high Consideration, while others are low in both dimensions or high in one and low in the other.

The higher correlation coefficient between Initiating Structure and Consideration obtained in this study is not indicative that one leadership style causes the other. Rather a sampling error may have occurred in the U.S. sample (a correlation coefficient of-0.0813 and a p-value of .403 were computed for the Nigerian sample). It is uncertain what the results would have been if this study had addressed other sectors of the economy in both countries.

A review of data collected in this study showed that 60% of the U.S. participants were females. The implication is that more women than men currently hold lower and middle management positions (bank managerial positions) in banks and other financial institutions in the United States. More importantly, United States female managers had higher Initiating Structure mean scores (60.57) than their male (58.19) counterparts. Initiating structure leadership behavior is characteristics by assertiveness, aggressiveness, and desire for material success. United State's firms stand to gain from placing more women in low and mid-level leadership positions in banks and other financial institutions. In Nigeria, men still dominate the women by a ratio of 2 to 1 in financial institutions. Unlike the United States, Nigerian men scored higher in Initiating Structure than the women. Detailed results are presented Table 3. Considering the combined effect of gender and country of nationality, there is a significant difference in Initiating Structure leadership style among Nigerian and U.S. male and female managers.

Nigerians believe that experience is a function of age, and that the older individuals get, the wiser they become (Ahiazu, 1989), hence leadership opportunities are first given to older people in the organizations because they are more committed to work. In the United States consideration for leadership positions is not based on the individual's age but rather on that person's performance records. Results of this research failed to support the Nigerian assumption. Older Nigerians did not score significantly higher than the younger ones in any of the leadership styles considered in this research. Similarly, religious belief and level of educational qualification had absolutely no impact on the leadership styles of Initiating Structure and Consideration in Nigeria and the United States.

Limitations

Several methodological problems that exist in organizational literature make cross-cultural research more difficult than domestic research (Punnett & Shenkar, 1996). This research was limited to financial institutions in Nigeria and United States. Financial institutions included banks, credit unions, mortgage corporations and accounting firms. About 80% of the respondents were bank managers and assistant bank managers from banks and credit unions, 16% and 4% were from mortgage corporations and accounting firms respectively. Participation was also limited to lower and mid-level managers in these institutions. Besides, the respondents were not evenly distributed among the independent variables (age, educational level, and religious affiliation) being considered as shown in Table 3. Consequently, the results might not be representative of the entire population of both countries.

Culture is not specific. A country can have many cultures while many countries can have the same culture. Nasif et al. (1991) considered "independence of cultures" as one of the issues associated with culture. This study assumed that most of the inhabitants in each of the two countries share a common national culture since they live in the same country. Nigeria is made up of several tribes believed to speak different tribal languages but having English as their official language. All Nigerian participants were grouped under one national culture in this study, irrespective of the different tribes that constitute the present Nigeria.

Maintaining the equivalence of meaning is very essential in cross-cultural leadership research, in order to ensure that respondents from different cultures attach the same meaning to all the questions. The instrument, LOQ used in this study comprises of simple and short sentences that are readily understandable. Since English is the official language in Nigeria, translating the questions into Nigerian languages was not feasible. Even though no Emic effect has ever been reported with the LOQ in several cross-cultural studies, yet in a multi-tribal country like Nigeria, filtering out 100 percent of all the Emic effects might be impossible.

The number of cultures included in a cross-cultural research can lead to sampling problems if that number is very small. Often cost and accessibility of respondents become problems to the researcher. Adler (1983) sees this type of research as ethnocentric and argues that researches involving only two countries should be regarded as pilot studies. This research involves only two countries and should be regarded as a pilot study.

Research Implications

Since the wave of globalization of businesses is fast reaching the shores of the African continent, results of this study may have far reaching implications in the success and failure of multinational organizations planning business ventures in Nigeria and other African countries. This study will also add knowledge of the Nigerian leadership behavior to organizational literature, and stimulate interest in cross-cultural leadership studies in other Africa countries.

In conclusion, the leadership styles of the U.S. participants in this study were influenced by the ideals of freedom, liberty and justice that characterize the American way of life. Nigerian participants were still recovering from the effects of a brutal dictatorship in the hands of the military, which ruled the country for almost two decades. These fundamental differences between the two countries significantly influenced leadership behaviors of the participants.

Suggestions for Future Research

As globalization of businesses continues to gain momentum, more cross-cultural comparative studies should be encouraged around the world, especially in African countries where only few studies have been conducted to date. The challenges presented by the complexities of foreign direct investments, and globalization of businesses can only be addressed by a good knowledge of the similarities and differences in cultural values between nations. A similar study comparing the leadership styles of managers from both countries in other sectors of the economy (manufacturing, service or technologies) is highly recommended.

A cross-tribal leadership study in Nigeria that will compare leadership behavior of the four Nigerian major tribes (Hausa, Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba) is very essential. This study will determine if there is one national culture in Nigeria or several cultures as a result of the multiple tribes, which make up the present Nigeria. Such a study should include the impact of religion on leadership behavior since about half the Nigerian population is Moslem.

One of the priorities of the new civilian government in Nigeria is to attract businesses from all over the world. Studies comparing Nigeria and other countries of the world such as Japan, Europe, China, etc. would benefit both the foreign investors and the Nigerian business community. Besides, with the return of democracy, Nigeria will once more assume her political and economic leadership roles in Africa. Expanding trade with other African countries will benefit the African continent and improve cooperation among African countries. A cross-cultural leadership study comparing Nigeria and leading African economies will add a lot of knowledge regarding African leadership behavior to the organizational literature. Such knowledge will also be beneficial to the international firms considering business ventures in African countries.

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Cyprian O.I. Osuoha, Nova Southeastern University
Table 1
Hofstede's Cultural Dimension Scores

Cultural Dimension Mean U.S. WAF (Nigeria)

Power Distance 57 40 77
Uncertainty Avoidance 65 46 54
Individualism 43 91 20
Masculinity 49 62 46

Adopted from Hofstede (1997). Cultures and Organizations:
Software of the Mind

Table 2.1: Reliability Measures (Cronbach Alpha)

Country Variable Measure Alpha Coefficient

United States (n=103) Initiating Structure .73
 Consideration .66

Nigeria (n=108) Initiating Structure .73
 Consideration .77

Nigeria & U.S. (n=211) Initiating Structure .81
 Consideration 1 .71

Table 2.2: Descriptive Statistics & Pearson Product-Moment
Correlation Coefficients

Variable Mean SD AGE CON COU EDU

Age 44.41 9.31 1.00
Consideration 55.56 6.44 0.086 1.000
Country 1.51 0.50 -0.027 -.456 1.000
Education 2.11 0.77 0.082 0.042 .403 1.000
Gender 1.45 0.50 0.007 0.058 -.269 -.258
Religion 1.97 0.68 -0.103 -.058 -.049 -.036
In. Structure 56.10 6.83 0.012 .355 -.502 -.243

 N = 211
Variable GEN REL INS

Age
Consideration
Country
Education
Gender 1.000
Religion -.225 1.000
In. Structure .1543 -.056 1.000

Table 3: Initiating Structure and Consideration Mean Scores

 INITIATING STRUCTURE

 UNITED STATES NIGERIA

Variable N Mean Std N Mean Std

Country 103 59.60 5.863 108 52.76 5.976

GENDER

1. Male 42 58.19 4.875 73 53.38 6.064
2. Female 61 60.57 6.313 35 51.46 5.653

AGE

20-30 Years 21 59.05 6.360 12 53.17 5.491
31-40 Years 31 60.39 6.020 53 52.60 5.986
41-50 Years 33 59.79 6.066 29 51.59 6.127
51-60 Years 18 58.56 4.768 14 54.79 6.053

EDU. LEVEL

High School/ 40 59.88 7.863 12 52.75 4.634
Junior College
Graduate 44 59.41 5.275 39 53.59 6.843
Post Graduate 19 59.47 4.128 57 52.19 5.608

RELIGION

Catholics 46 59.61 5.609 29 53.10 7.228
Protestants 36 60.03 5.882 69 52.68 5.452
Others 21 58.86 6.468 10 52.30 6.075

 CONSIDERATION

 UNITED STATES NIGERIA

Variable N Mean Std N Mean Std

Country 103 58.50 5.629 108 52.89 5.853

GENDER

1. Male 42 59.86 5.107 73 52.45 5.876
2. Female 61 57.56 5.818 35 53.03 5.869

AGE

20-30 Years 21 58.33 6.873 12 51.67 7.139
31-40 Years 31 57.77 5.143 53 52.49 5.260
41-50 Years 33 58.24 5.879 29 53.72 6.307
51-60 Years 18 60.39 4.231 14 52.14 6.200

EDU. LEVEL

High School/ 40 56.15 5.628 12 52.92 5.299
Junior College
Graduate 44 59.73 5.249 39 52.10 5.586
Post Graduate 19 60.58 4.959 57 52.95 6.200

RELIGION

Catholics 46 57.96 5.715 29 53.93 5.707
Protestants 36 59.25 5.422 69 52.35 5.908
Others 21 58.38 5.912 10 50.90 5.724

Table 4A: A two-way Analysis of Variance

Hypothesis 2a, Initiation Structure by Gender

Source Sum of DF Mean Square F p-value
 Squares

Main Effects

 Country 2350.648 1 2350.648 68.539 .000
 Gender 2.531 1 2.531 0.074 .786

2-Way Interactions
 Country/Gender 225.209 1 225.209 6.567 .011

Residual 7099.340 207 34.296

Hypothesis 3a, Initiating Structure by Religious Groups

Main Effects
 Country 1692.435 1 1692.435 47.499 0.000
 Religion 14.046 2 7.023 0.197 0.821

2-Way Interactions
 Country/Religion 8.256 2 4.128 0.116 0.891

Residual 7304.275 205 35.631

Total 9796.910 210 46.652

Hypothesis 4a, Initiating Structure by Age Groups

Main Effects
 Country 1734.704 1 1734.703 49.027 0.000
 Age 34.302 3 11.434 0.323 0.809

2-Way Interactions
 Country/Age 121.148 3 40.383 1.141 0.333

Residual 7182.608 203 35.382

Total 9796.910 210 46.652

Hypothesis 5a, Initiating Structure by Educational Level

Main Effects
 Country 1802.97 1 1802.9750 0.782 .000
 Educational Level 15.181 2 7.590 0.214 0.808

2-Way Interactions
 Country/ 21.689 2 10.845 0.305 0.737
 Educational
 Level
Residual 7278.311 205 35.504

Total 9796.910 210 46.652

Table 4B: A two-way Analysis of Variance

Hypothesis 2b, Consideration by Gender

Source Sum of Squares DF Mean
 Square
Main Effects

Country 1,726.81 1 1726.841
Gender 36.007 1 36.007

2-Way Interactions

Country/Gender 100.312 1 100.312
Residual 6757.246 207 32.644
Total 8704.749 210 41.451

Hypothesis 3b, Consideration by Religious Groups

Main Effects

Country 1376.925 1 1376.925
Religion 35.552 2 17.776

2-Way Interactions

Country/Religion 103.166 2 51.583
Residual 6778.030 205 33.064
Total 8704.749 210 41.451

Hypothesis 4b, Consideration by Age Groups

Main Effects

Country 1646.347 1 1646.347
Age 53.802 3 17.934

2-Way Interactions

Country/Age 81.601 3 27.200
Residual 6761.278 203 33.307
Total 8704.749 210 41.451

Hypothesis 5b, Consideration by Educational Level

Main Effects

Country 1506.834 1 1506.834
Educational Level 111.450 2 55.725

2-Way Interactions

Country/Educational Level 140.975 2 70.488
Residual 6509.807 205 31.755
Total 8704.749 210 41.451

Hypothesis 2b, Consideration by Gender

Source F p-value

Main Effects

Country 52.900 0.000
Gender 1.103 0.295

2-Way Interactions

Country/Gender 3.073 0.081
Residual
Total

Hypothesis 3b, Consideration by Religious Groups

Main Effects

Country 41.645 0.000
Religion 0.538 0.585

2-Way Interactions

Country/Religion 1.560 0.213
Residual
Total

Hypothesis 4b, Consideration by Age Groups

Main Effects

Country 49.430 0.000
Age 0.538 0.656

2-Way Interactions

Country/Age 0.817 0.486
Residual
Total

Hypothesis 5b, Consideration by Educational Level

Main Effects

Country 47.452 0.000
Educational Level 1.755 0.176

2-Way Interactions

Country/Educational Level 2.220 0.111
Residual
Total
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