Leadership is a vital research area in organizational studies. One of the important applications of contemporary leadership theories is the articulation of organizational leadership in various societies or cultures (Bonnici, 2011). Leadership is described by universal and cultural or country specific characteristics. While many studies have covered leadership behaviors and attributes in industrialized Western countries, it is apparent that emerging economies in the East follow their customs to enable, motivate, and encourage individuals to contribute to the success of their industries. The goal of any organization is not only to survive within its industry, but also to sustain its competitive advantages by improving performance through effective leadership. The current paper introduces an organizational leadership-based research topic that employs quantitative methodology.
While the phenomenon of leadership is widely conceived to be universal across countries or cultures, the manner in which it is operationalized should be viewed as culturally specific. Contradictory viewpoints in the organizational leadership exist regarding the transferability or convergence of specific leaser processes and behaviors across cultures. For such reason, there is a need to have a better understanding of the Eastern and Western organizational leadership styles.
Aim and Objectives
The central focus of the given study is to improve the understanding of the Eastern and Western organizational leadership styles using China and the UK as case studies for comparison. The key objective is to investigate the degree to which organizational leadership styles used by IT entities in China are different from or similar to the organizational leadership styles employed in the UK. In other words, the research seeks to establish whether the organizational leadership styles in China and the UK are converging or diverging.
Research Questions and Hypothesis
The current study will be guided by the following overarching research question: What is the extent to which organizational leadership styles used in Chinese information technology entities are converging or diverging towards the Western organizational leadership practices and policies?
1) How can organizational leadership style in the United Kingdom and China be characterized?
2) What are the similarities between leadership styles in the United Kingdom and China?
3) What are the differences between leadership styles in the United Kingdom and China?
4) Are the organizational leadership styles in China and the UK converging or diverging?
Quantitative Methodology and Research Design
The applied research method usually depends on the type of study, which can be either analytical, predictive explorative or descriptive (Creswell, 2011). There are three types of research methods that can be used in any study: qualitative, quantitative, or a hybrid of the two methods. Quantitative method focuses on colleting and analysis of numerical data, whereas qualitative research method places focus on collecting textual data (Ary, Jacobs, Sorensen, & Walker, 2013). The study intends to use a descriptive case study approach to explore the leadership practices, behavior and skill similarities, as well as differences between the Eastern and Western countries. In the given approach, data will be collected from multiple levels within sample organizations to identify the key practices, skills, and behaviors for individual leaders, as well as to establish themes among the two cases. The findings, as well as the method used to identify the key aspects of organizational leadership in the two fronts may be valuable to the modern leadership research and entities that are designing global-based leadership practices. A descriptive case study approach would be effective in understanding the elements current organizational leaders believe are unique to their organizations and country or culture. Applying quantitative approach would require a significant sample size to give reliability and credibility of the differentiating or similar aspects of organizational leadership styles identified through the results (Brown & Hale, 2014; Bryman & Bell., 2015). However, from the scope and the objectives provided above, the research should be executed using a mixed methods research combining both qualitative and qualitative research methods. The underlying rationale is that the study is descriptive, exploratory, and confirmatory, which requires the collection of both open-ended and close-ended data (Bryman & Bell., 2015; Daymon & Holloway, 2010).
Analysis of the Methodology
The study intends to adopt a quantitative research method but is projected to fail due to the fact that the research question is more of exploratory than descriptive nature. In other words, qualitative research method is effective in exploratory research studies, where there is a need for flexibility to ensure that the unpredictable changes in the direction of the study due to new data are captured (Ary, Jacobs, Sorensen, & Walker, 2013). However, it should be pointed out that innate flexibility linked to exploratory studies does not necessarily imply that such study lacks objectives that guide the inquiry process. For such reason, a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods should be used. Such proposition is consistent with the exploratory nature of the research topic because a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods would not only result in the discovery of new knowledge, but also analyze and measure causal relationships that are identified between variables. In respect to the proposed study, a mix of qualitative and quantitative research study was deemed are the most suited in meeting the research objectives and addressing the research topic. It is supported by the fact that qualitative research would help the researcher conduct a holistic study rather than restrict the study to a set of predetermined variables (Bryman & Bell., 2015).
While the concept of leadership is often viewed as universal across cultures, the manner in which leadership is operationalized is dependent on cultural specifics. The focus of the intended study is to further develop the stated assertion and receive a detailed understanding of the Eastern and Western organizational leadership styles, using China and the UK as case studies for comparison. From the discussion above, a mix of qualitative and quantitative research design should be adopted for the intended study as it would employ an analytical and interpretative approach with the main objective of proving detailed insights and understanding of the meaning associated with the organizational leadership being investigated.
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