Modes of cross-cultural leadership adjustment: adapting leadership to meet local conditions and/or changing followers to match personal requirements?

Chin-Ju Tsai, Chris Carr, Kun Qia, S Supprakit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Downloads (Pure)


In this article, we present a study that explores modes of cross-cultural leadership adjustment (CLA) and investigates the forces influencing them. Nicholson’s (1984) theory of work role transitions was used as the theoretical foundation to explore work role requirements (consisting of role discretion and novelty of job demands) as potential predictors of modes of CLA. Our data were collected from expatriate senior managers working in Thailand. The results show that the majority of our expatriate executives make adjustments to their leadership approach and try to change Thai employees—thus demonstrating the adoption of an exploration mode of adjustment—and that role requirements, Thai employee characteristics, the local hierarchy system, and the expatriate leaders’ perceptions all influence the latter’s modes of adjustment. Based on our findings, we develop a theoretical framework and a number of research propositions. Finally, we discuss the implications of our findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1477-1504
Number of pages28
JournalThe International Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number9
Early online date13 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Cross-cultural leadership adjustment (CLA); multinational corporations (MNCs); Thailand; work role transitions (WRT)

Cite this