2017: "Global Leaders as Interfaith Leaders", Professor Barbara McGraw
Presented at the Responsible Organizations in Global Context conference at Georgetown University in June 2017.
Abstract: If global business leaders aim to galvanize constituent followers through appeals to follower values, as in transforming leadership and other forms of new-genre leadership, then understanding the deep religious values underlying culture is critical. In the lexicon of interfaith and interreligious studies, global business leaders need to become interfaith leaders. Yet cross-cultural leadership studies marginalize religion, focusing instead on derivative effects—“artifacts”—of cultures’ deep religious values, e.g. power distance and uncertainty avoidance. Such focus results in the conflation of cultural cues in ways that lead to misunderstandings and missed opportunities to advance common goals or to gain new perspectives on problems to be solved or innovations to be created, thus undermining organizational and social cohesion. Thus, religious literacy is critical for effective global business leadership not only to benefit business organizations, but also to build greater understanding and cooperation across cultural boundaries for the benefit of the global community.
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