An Investigation on the Role of a Gender-Free Feminine Style on Multicultural Team Leadership

  • Haruka Marufuji

Student thesis: Doctor of Business Administration


The importance of understanding cultural differences in leadership process and styles has been long recognized in cross-cultural leadership research. Consequently, the research findings from the literature lend credence to the culture-specific view of leadership. However, in present-day global organizations, leaders are required to motivate and lead international teams, taking into account the multiple cultural backgrounds of the members. Considering how international and diverse business units have become, research specifically focused on leadership in multicultural teams (MCTs) beyond clinical environments is surprisingly limited. There is a paucity of empirical studies on leadership in multicultural teams not only regarding their number but also context. The feminine style of leadership is becoming a growing trend within business, but yet to be fully understood and defined in academic literature. The style is characterized as a form of transformational leadership style and previous research indicates that transformational and situational leaders are the most effective in multicultural teams. In order to contribute to the efforts made to further understand this research area, an exploratory study of MCT leaders was conducted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The study was guided by the question: “What feminine style cross-cultural competencies are used in the context of multicultural team leadership?” In-depth interview transcripts of carefully profiled MNT leaders were analyzed for the presence of themes relating to leadership competencies. The study was conducted in two parts. First, as study1, we aimed at identifying relevant executive competencies to successfully lead MCTs by examining the overlap between competencies within cross-cultural leadership and those within feminine style leadership. Then as study 2, we proceeded to identify procedures that are used in conjunction with the findings of study 1 to achieve conflict resolution and intra-group communication in MCTs. Drawing from the extant literature along with the results of the study, we propose a model that identifies factors impacting effective cross-cultural leadership and multicultural team performance. A new framework has been presented with certain hypotheses, and suggestions have been proposed for development and testing in the future. Furthermore, the results of this study can also be used for leaders to enhance their way of leading multinational teams, highlight focal points for skills training in global organizations, and contribute to minimize conflicts in multicultural team projects.
Date of Award31 Dec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorStefania Marino (Supervisor)

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