Employees Perception Of Leadership In A Culturally Diverse Organization: Qualitative Case Study
EMPLOYEES PERCEPTION OF LEADERSHIP IN A CULTURALLY DIVERSE ORGANIZATION: QUALITATIVE CASE STUDY
A dissertation submitted
UNIVERSITY OF THE ROCKIES
Upon the recommendation of the Faculty and the approval of the Board of Trustees, this dissertation is hereby accepted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degrees of
DOCTOR OF PSYCHOLOGY IN ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND LEADERSHIP
Dr. Sherry Lowrance, PhD
The purpose of this qualitative case study is to understand employee perception of leadership through their lived experiences in a culturally diverse organization. This study aims at examining leadership in a culturally diverse organization by conducting semi-structured interviews. The employees with subject backgrounds were the participants who were having an experience of effective and ineffective leadership. The employee’s interviews were documented, and recorded along with a direct description of the experiences with certain leadership, treating them as a tool to find out the impact of effective and ineffective leadership in a culturally diverse organization.
(from the Dissertation Checklist):
_____ Consists of one double-spaced page or less
_____ Includes a concise description of the study, a brief statement of the problem,
statement of purpose or importance, and a brief summary of methods and procedures
_____ Includes a summary of sample size, findings, and implications (dissertation only)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter I: Introduction
Background of Study
Statement of Problem
Purpose of Study
Importance of Study
Overview of Research Design
Definition of Terms
Assumptions, Limitations, and Delimitations
Chapter II: Review of the Literature
Review of Related Research and Literature
Chapter III: Method
Methodology/ Qualitative Case Study
Chapter IV: Results
Data Analysis and Results
Chapter V: Discussion
Interpretation of Findings
Limitations of Study
Implications for Theory and Research
Implications for Practice
Recommendations for Further Research
CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION
Research demonstrates that there is a relationship between organizational leadership and diversity, collectively having an impact on an employee’s performance; however, there is a limited understanding of the concept of cultural diversity in an organization. (Lambert, 2016). On the other hand, there is limited research on effective and ineffective leadership in a culturally diverse organization relating to the functioning of the employees, their ability to communicate, interact and respect the cultural variation within an organization. (Lambert, 2016).
[no initial heading]
_____ Introductory paragraphs introduce the general topic area.
General Statement [or Background of Study]
_____ Describes a practical problem and the need for it to be addressed
_____ Supports the existence and impact of the practical problem with documentation
Employee’s performance in an organization is a product of different supporting components, such as environment, freedom, leadership and the importance of expertise. Leadership holds a significant space in defining the relationship between culturally diverse organization and the employee's perception of effective and ineffective leadership. Leadership facilitates differences in the employees' ability to communicate, interact, and respect the culturally diverse employees. The general problem is that leaders in many culturally diverse organizations do not generate an effective leadership practice for their employees, ultimately resulting in a lack of communication, interaction, and inappropriate behavior. A culturally diverse organization requires effective leadership that substantiates the value of communication, performance, and an overall ability to demonstrate a competent system. (Grissom, et, al. 2018). The specific problem is that ineffective leadership in a culturally diverse organization results in employees' inability to communicate effectively, interact and share a mutual respect that is necessary to avoid a hostile work environment. It has been asserted that the employees fail to impart the real crux of professionalism because of the unavailability of adequate leadership and heed to cultural diversity. (Gilley, et, al. 2015).
Palthe (2014) suggests that the ability to effectively lead culturally diverse employees should focus on the importance of understanding the interaction between the employee, organizational culture, and the individual’s cultural aspects that have an impact on the achievement of tactical, operational and strategic goals of an organization. An employee's perception of leadership in a culturally diverse organization relies on the strengths of the leaders' as it can influence both employee's abilities and organizational components, such as communication, culture, involvement, and experience (Gilley, et, al. 2015).
Statement of Problem
_____ Identifies a general research problem that will address the practical problem. What do
you want to know that you don’t know (that nobody knows) that will help to solve the
_____ Focuses in on a specific research problem that the study proposes to address
_____ Clearly and logically demonstrates how the focus of the study is an important
problem, worthy of study.
_____ Impact of the research problem is fully documented and supported.
_____ Discusses how the research study represents a unique approach to the research
problem, adds to the research literature, and contributes to practice in the field.
_____ Explains how the study proposes to address the specific research problem
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this qualitative case study is to identify employee perception of effective and ineffective leadership in a culturally diverse organization. How ineffective leadership is responsible for generating inappropriate interaction in the workplace, taking into account the fact that employees perception varies with experience. Inappropriate interaction in the workplace can ultimately result in miscommunication, inappropriate interactive behavior, and violence in the workplace (Alvesson, et, al. 2015). The focus of this study will be on the culturally diverse employee's perception of ineffective leadership through a shared experience of the employees who are a diverse population and work for the same culturally diverse organization. The participants will include ten employees who have experienced effective and ineffective leadership within a culturally diverse organization; these participants will be interviewed and recruited for the study. The participants will convey their experiences with both effective and ineffective leadership; where the impact of effective leadership can be traced in terms of professional interaction, taking into account communication, interaction, and teamwork. Side by side, the experience of the participants will act as a guide to know the circumstances of ineffective leadership, taking into account the impact ineffective leadership can have on the organizational goals and the capabilities of employees. The participants from culturally diverse background have worked with leaders, such as Supervisors, Managers, and Administrative Team Leaders who have displayed both effective and ineffective leadership practices. For instance, the employee's experiences with ineffective leadership have led to a lack of communication, miscommunication, verbal altercations, and an inappropriate reprimand from subordinates.
Purpose of the Study
_____ Provides a specific and accurate synopsis of the overall purpose of the study
_____ Connects the Purpose of the Study as addressing the specific research problem
_____ Includes a single-sentence Purpose Statement that succinctly describes the focus,
methodology, population, and geographical location of the study
Ex: The purpose of this phenomenological study is to understand the experience of
Generation X women in the Los Angeles area who desire to obtain their first executive
position in the financial services industry.
_____ Briefly defines and delimits the specific area of the research
_____ Foreshadows the hypotheses to be tested or the questions to be raised as well as the
importance of the study
_____ Clearly identifies and defines the central concepts or ideas of the study
_____ Identifies the unit of analysis in the study
_____ Justifies the general method of inquiry used in the study: qualitative, quantitative, or
For a quantitative study:
_____ Specifies at least two variables and a conjectured relationship between them to
describe what will be studied
For a qualitative study:
_____ Identifies the phenomenon, situation, or factors of interest
_____ Indicates and justifies which qualitative methodology will be used
For a mixed methods study:
_____ Identifies the specific type of mixed method design--explanatory, exploratory,
_____ Reflects whether the qualitative and quantitative phases of the study are
sequential or simultaneous
Importance of the Study
Effective leadership practice implemented by leaders will ensure the progression of organization by building relationships that will create a positive and collaborative working environment. Leadership practice motivates teamwork that ultimately promotes interactive competence among employees despite a culturally diverse environment Onkham (2015) suggests that the attribute of leadership is a significant factor in the successful functioning of an organization. Usually, diversity has a negative effect on the interaction aspect of the functioning process of a group of employees, because of a range of conceptions, attitudes, and assumptions. (Moreland, 2015). The significance of this study is that it will highlight the importance of effective leadership taking into account the fact that diverse organizations are more applicable of applying changes in an effective way making the environment suitable for the diverse employees as well, adhering to certain major aspects such as values, culture, work performance, and experience. The leadership of culturally diverse employees within an organization has to establish a sense of urgency for the functioning and overall operation of the entire organization. Effective leadership involves strategic direction for combining the mission, vision, policy, and values of the organization with the employees which enables the leaders to provide the employees with clear organizational objectives and goals. Mosca, Puches, and Buzza (2015) suggest that goals and objectives set by leaders are held by an organization’s understanding and ability to communicate to all their employees who play a major role in the attainment of these goals.
The theoretical framework is deep-rooted in psychology pertaining to culturally diverse employee’s and their behavior under the directions of a particular leadership. In this framework, the lack of effective leadership for employee's interactive behavior can lead to problems for both the overall operation of an organization and the interactive behavior among those diverse cultural employees. Leadership influences organizational behavior and employee interaction making it a key to the success of an organization. The research highlights that one of the aspects of effective leadership can be traced in terms of a positive employee interaction (Goncalves, 2015). The effectiveness of leadership enables the operation of an organization to be successful regarding leadership and employee followership. The role of a leader and a follower are necessary for the success of a culturally diverse organization.
Importance of the Study
Answers the following in a logical, explicit manner:
_____ What is the importance of this research?
_____ What will contribute to theory and practice in the student's field of
_____ What are the implications of the research?
The methodology selected is a qualitative case study that will explore culturally diverse employee’s experience in a culturally diverse organization with both effective and ineffective leadership. Ten employees for Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Service Office (S. l. D. D. S. O). With culturally diverse backgrounds that have experienced effective and ineffective leadership in a culturally diverse organization is the subject of the study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with these ten employees who have participated in the study by sharing their experience with effective and ineffective leadership in a culturally diverse organization. Five of the culturally diverse employees have shared their experience with effective leadership, and five culturally diverse employees have shared their experience with ineffective leadership. The process of data collection comprises of the compilation of the behavioral patterns, involving communication, interaction categorizing, and the interpretation of the participating employees experience. Moreover, the past record of the organization was also used to know the feedback employees have given about the culturally diverse environment in an organization.
Overview of Research Design
_____ Briefly describes the general methodology and design, including data collection
method, population and sample, instrumentation, data collection, and analysis, with
references to more detailed discussions in Chapter III
_____ Shows how the particular research design is the most appropriate to address the goals
of the study
The theoretical framework is deep-rooted in psychology pertaining to culturally diverse employee's interactive behavior under the direction of effective and ineffective leadership. Goncalves (2015) imply organizational behavior involves a variety of techniques to gain and use leadership power in an organization when managing organizational behavior among culturally diverse employees. In this framework, the lack of effective leadership for employee’s interactive behavior can lead to a number of problems for both the overall operation of an organization and the interactive behavior among those culturally diverse employees.
The quality of effective leadership exchange with employees has significant influence for leadership effectiveness. (Mahsud, Yukl & Prussia, 2015). As long as leadership influences the organizational behavior and employee interaction is understood, the success of leadership can be effective regarding a positive employee interaction. (Goncalves, 2015). The effectiveness of leadership enables the operation of the organization to be a success regarding leadership and the employee's followership. Though a good leader is obviously significant to the success of an organization, being a good follower is correspondingly significant to the success of an organization. (Hurwitz & Hurwitz, 2015). An understanding of the role of a leader is a necessity in a culturally diverse organization, however; one cannot deny the dependency of success on the follower as well. The subject matter adheres to the leadership and it’s perception in a culturally diverse organization.
Theoretical [or Conceptual] Framework
_____ Places the study within a particular theoretical area in the field under investigation
_____ Situates the study among other research studies within the theoretical area
_____ Briefly summarizes enough relevant research literature (historical, seminal, and
current) to situate and justify the study based on its contribution to the existing body
of research, referencing the more detailed discussions in Chapter II
_____ Articulates the theoretical base (quantitative only) or the conceptual framework
(qualitative only) to show a connection to a certain body of literature. (mixed method--
address both theoretical and conceptual framework)
Employee’s perception of leadership in a culturally diverse organization will explore the relationship between effective and ineffective leadership in a multi-cultural organization, taking into account that a lack of leadership creates a negative interaction, miscommunication, and distorts the ability to function effectively within an organization. Mosca, Puches, and Buzza (2015) suggest that if organizational leadership is going to create efficiencies to survive, they must use methods for operating a new diverse workforce. The following research questions will guide the proposed qualitative case study:
RQ1: Why it is necessary for the employees to be aware of the perception of leadership in a culturally diverse organization?
RQ2: Why is leadership a significant factor for employees in a culturally diverse organization?
RQ3: How does effective leadership’s perception is related to the cultural diversity of the employees and the organization
RQ4: How do employees' perception of ineffective leadership relate to the cultural diversity of the employees and the organization?
Research Questions [and Hypotheses]
_____ Clearly presents specific research questions and sub-questions to be addressed,
referencing the more detailed discussions in Chapter III
_____ Includes research hypotheses for each research question and sub-question
_____ Includes research questions that are identified for the qualitative and
quantitative phases (mixed method only)
_____ Questions and hypotheses are elaborated on in a discussion format, not simply listed
_____ Connects the research questions to the Statement of Purpose, showing how these
questions will address the goals of the study
Definition of Terms
The following terms defined will provide an understanding of the concepts presented in this research study:
Diversity: Diversity is defined as “a wide range of people who are different in terms of a range of variables such as ethnicity, gender, religion, socioeconomic background, race, political beliefs, ideologies, sexual orientation, and disabilities” (O’Neill, 2018, p. 9).
Leadership: “Leadership is the ability to influence and interact with others moving them towards the direction of a common goal” (Onkham, et al. 2015, p. 885). Alvesson and Blom (2015) reported that "the message emerging from many influential leadership studies is that leadership is a good thing, and employees generally benefit from and desire it."
Cultural Diversity: “Cultural diversity does not just imply geographical diversities: it embraces employees from different economic backgrounds as well as diverse industry experiences” (Mukherjee, 2016, p. 79).
Effective Leadership: Onkham, Elattar, and Rabelo (2015) reported that “effective leadership reflects the type of adaptive leadership which refers to leaders who can coordinate, self- manage, and adapt to changes in circumstances by engaging and interacting with other” (p. 891).
Ineffective Leadership: Ineffective leadership is defined as a leadership lacking the competence to make others follow him as well as the unethical traits such as abusive interaction and “such abuse may include violations of personal privacy, general rudeness, or displaced anger” (Meltzer and Liu, 2016, p. 198).
Multicultural Organization: Multicultural organization is defined as to “provide equal opportunities to people coming from different economic & cultural backgrounds, varied geographies, diverse genders, different generations, as well as those who are specially-abled” (Mukherjee, 2016, p. 79).
Managing Diversity: Managing diversity is defined as “a complete understanding of the benefits that come with diversity and the challenges it presents” (Mathur, 2017, p. 48).
Cultural Competency: "Cultural competency means that a person or organization has the knowledge, understanding, and skills to embrace diversity and to work with people from diverse backgrounds" (O'Neill, 2018, p. 9).
Culture: Culture is defined as "an ever-evolving phenomenon" shared by individuals with the same nationality, origin, language, or creed (Ozgen, et al.2015, p. 47).
Definition of Terms
_____ Defines important terms as used in this study, especially those that may otherwise have multiple meanings
_____ Uses citations to support the origin of the definitions
_____ Defines important technical terms that may be unknown to a reader
_____ Operationalizes key variables or constructs
Assumptions, Limitations, and Delimitations
An understandable assumption of this study is that the participants might have a variety of perceptions of leadership in the workplace. They may feel like the organization's interest in their response to the interview could have a negative impact on their participation. The fact that the participants have nothing to gain from their active participation in this study and it might create a difficult time obtaining a reliable or valid response to the interviews. The significance of a case study design requires the researcher to base the research study questions on structural and meaningful experiences of the participants to gain their trust. An open mind is required for the researchers’ intentions to be perceived as unbiased, trustworthy, and genuine to the participants being interviewed.
The interview process has its limitations. Interviewing participants for a research study will have limitations that are based on time, analysis, and a collection of the participant's responses to the questions. An understanding of the research study questions regarding the participant's experience might cause resistance and interpret invalid responses. The participants might feel a tremendous amount of pressure understanding the questions and responding to the questions.
The perception of leadership in a culturally diverse organization has changed to a sound practice of awareness, adaptable methods of operation and a diverse workforce (Mosea, et al. 2015). However, the guidelines for effective or ineffective leadership are not profoundly explicit in various scenarios; such as managing employees in a culturally diverse organization. The demand for leadership in an organization has increased the pressure for the purpose of effective leadership (Onkham, et al. 2015).
Assumptions, Limitations, and Delimitations
_____ Describes the scope and bounds of the study (delimitations--boundaries researcher has
_____ Addresses major limiting factors in the study that could possibly affect the results (If
limitations are considerable, explains why the study is being conducted.)
_____ Articulates assumptions about facts that are not actually verified
_____ Addresses potential weaknesses of the study
_____ Discusses the generalizability of the study findings
_____ Summarizes key points of the study
_____ Gives an overview of the content of the remaining chapters in the study, bridging to
CHAPTER II- LITERATURE REVIEW
Employee perception of leadership in a culturally diverse organization has been studied in a number of ways; still, there are sections that are unaddressed (Alvesson, et, al.2015). However, despite the broad range of research into leadership in a culturally diverse organization, still more research is required in the field of leadership because it varies with the passage of time. (Mathur, 2017). Although it is the responsibility of managerial leadership to lay out the blueprint for an effective balance with employee interaction, communication, initiative, and policy that requires an alignment of cultural diversity and mutual respect for organizational ethnicity, still there are significant gaps in the understanding of the culturally diverse organization. (Muhkherjee, 2018) An understanding of the perception of leadership in a culturally diverse organization and the challenges that manifest form the foundation for determining the interaction, communication and development of consequence among the diverse employees’ in the workforce is a major subject but it is often neglected in the exegetical analysis of the perception towards effective and ineffective leadership. (Mathur, 2017).
Leadership in many culturally diverse organizations do not generate an effective awareness of the significance of having a competent workforce or strategies for a competent cultural and diverse organization is implemented in their policy (O’Neill, 2018). This chapter is dedicated to presenting a literature review conveying employee perception of leadership in a culturally diverse organization regarding employees’ experience with effective leadership, ineffective leadership, cultural diversity, communication, interaction and an understanding of the importance of cultural competence. Grissom (2018) reports that diversity and inclusion in the workplace is a broad topic that covers leadership, bias, culture, and inclusiveness that can be helpful in creating a change in the culturally diverse organizations with these issues. The resources in this literature review will present the history of leadership in a culturally diverse organization that will answer the research questions for the chosen topic.
_____ Begins with the purpose of the chapter, how it fits in the dissertation, and the
organization of the chapter
_____ Frames the review by restating the topic and research questions
The articles selected for the research of this literature review were obtained from various scholarly journals, peer-reviewed articles, books, and organizational resources. The databases used for conducting the research for this study were: ProQuest, Human Capital, BusiDate, PsyArticles, and Wiley Online Library. The use of keywords to identify the research in this literature review included leadership, effective leadership, ineffective leadership, cultural diversity, organizational leadership, and employee perception. I used the abstracts and titles to identify the theoretical writing that can prove helpful in my work. In order to maintain the credibility of information, it took into consideration, not to use resources older than five years.
_____ Describes the strategy used to collect relevant literature
_____ Indicates which search engines were used
_____ Lists which search terms were used
_____ Indicates strategy for identifying historically seminal (classic) studies and theorists’
_____ Justifies most appropriate time interval for current sources (last 2–3 years? Last 5
_____ If applicable, explains the lack of currency of the most recent publications
_____ Reviews strategy for focusing in on empirical research that most closely resembles the
The need to understand an employees’ perception of effective and ineffective leadership will determine how one employee’s experience of an effective leader may be another employee’s ineffective leader. (Meltzer & Lui, 2016). The ability to lead is to influence those being led toward a common goal set through interactive balance.
CHAPTER III- METHOD
Alvesson, M., & Blom, M. (2015). Less followership, less leadership? An inquiry into the
basic but seemingly forgotten downsides of leadership. Management, 18(3), 266-282.
Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1726796363?accountid=39364.
Cohen, L., & Kassis-Henderson, J. (2015). Language use in establishing rapport and building
relations: Implications for international teams and management education. Review
Management & Avenir, (55), 185-207. Retrieved from
Gilley, A., Thompson, J., & Gilley, J. W. (2015). Leaders and change: Attend to the
uniqueness individuals. Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, 17(1),
69-83. Retrieved from
Hurwitz, M., & Hurwitz, S. (2015). Firms also need good followers. Bottom Line,
28(12), 14-15. Retrieved from
Goncalves, M. (2015). The right power for the right organization. Journal of Leadership,
Accountability and Ethics, 10(3), 135-138. Retrieved from
Green, J. (2015). Be of consequence. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 81(4), 13. Retrieved
Grissom, A. R. (2018). Workplace Diversity and Inclusion. The Alert Collector, 57(4), 242-
Hurwitz, M., & Hurwitz, S. (2015). Firms also need good followers. Bottom Line, 28, (12),
14-15. Retrieved from
Lambert, J. (2016). Cultural Diversity as a mechanism for Innovation: Workplace Diversity
and the Absorptive Capacity Framework. Journal of Organizational Culture,
Communications and Conflict, 20(1), 68-77.
Lourey, G. (2015). IT'S TIME TO BE ASKING DIFFERENT QUESTIONS: Leadership in
professional services. InFinance, 126(4), 42-43. Retrieved from
Mahsud, R., Yukl, G., & Prussia, G. (2015). Leader empathy, ethical leadership, and
relations-oriented behaviors as antecedents of leader-member exchange quality.
Journal of Managerial Psychology, 25(6), 561-577.
Matherly, L. L., & Al Nahyan, S. S. (2015). Workplace quotas. International Journal of
Organizational Analysis, 23(3), 456-471. Retrieved from
Mathur, S. (2017). Emulating Change Through Self Awareness: Diversity. Human Capital
of Oswal Printers & Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 48- 49.
Meltzer, D. P., & Liu, C. (2016). Ineffective leadership and employees’ negative outcomes:
The mediating effect of anxiety and depression. International Journal of Stress
Management, 24, (2): 196-215.
Mosca, J. B., Puches, L., & Buzza, J. (2015). Human resource managers implement effective
organizational change through leadership & process management. International
Journal of Management & Information Systems (Online), 19(4), 115.
Mukherjee, R. (2016). Diversity management: A Business Imperative. Human Capital of
Oswal Printers & Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 79-81.
O’Neill, R. (2018). The importance of a diverse and culturally competent workforce.
BusiDate is the Property of Warringal Publications, 9- 13.
Onkham, W., Elattar, A., & Rabelo, L. (2015). Effective leadership using system dynamics
and the matrix of change. IIE Annual Conference Proceedings, 884-893. Retrieved
Ozgen, C., Nijkamp, P., & Poot, J. (2015). The elusive effects of workplace diversity on
innovation. Papers in Regional Science, 96.
Palthe, J. (2015). Cross-level cultural congruence: Implications for managing diversity in
multinational corporations. Journal of Diversity Management (Online), 9(1), 51-n/a.
Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1536123474?account=39364.
Pollack, J., & Pollack, R. (2015). Using kotter’s eight stage process to manage an
organizational change program: Presentation and practice. Systematic Practice and
Action Research, 28,(1), 51-66. doi:http://sx.doi.org/10.1007/s11213-014-9317-0.
Schafer, J. A. (2015). Effective leaders and leadership in policing: Traits, assessment,
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