Article ‘Leadership excellence in East and West: reports from the trenches’ by Gert Jan

Leadership talk from the trenches of a multinational

In the first decade of this century, Gert Jan met consultant Rebecca Dooley. She was involved in a massive exercise in a multinational.  She flew around the world assembling the employees, of all management levels, in focus groups. These focus groups defined ‘leaderhip excellence’. This involved  sessions in all countries in which the company was active, including the USA, Malaysia and many others. As a result the sessions came up with local bases of statements about leadership excellence. The statements had a lot of life to them,  having been obtained ‘from the trenches’, often in heated sessions.  Gert Jan and Rebecca undertook to re-organize this gold mine thematically in a bottom-up way. They then factor analyzed this classification per focus group session and came up with a seven-factor structure of leadership. There were 3 Universal, 2 ‘Eastern’, and 2 ‘Western’ factors. these findings were rather in line with other studies that had used questionnaires in controlled settings. they were less normalized, but perhaps more ‘360 degrees’, and more practically worded.

Publication history

After  an international journal accepted, then retracted the paper at the last moment, and since both authors were otherwise engaged, they forgot about the article. Recently, Gert Jan was asked which work he was proud of, remembered the article, and decided to have another go. The paper was rejected for being obsolete. Gert Jan is convinced that it is just as relevant as ten years ago, because the deep structure of leadership does not change so fast. Anyway, you can see for yourself. The results are relevant for leaders and HR people in international settings, since it clearly states what employees themselves think about leadership excellence.

The article

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