Online Course

Leadership in Difficult Times

Unit 2:  Changing Perceptions, Changing Realities: Gender and Ethnicity











Flow Chart #2 for Paper #2

Unit Overview
This unit probes the changing face of the American workplace and communities, and looks at the current state of affairs with respect to gender equity, race relations, ethnic or group stereotyping, affirmative action, and other issues in terms of equitable access to economic and educational opportunity. Case studies are examined, particularly those that reflect recent issues and changes. Students will consider leadership approaches that support inclusion and diversity.

Learning Objectives and Outcomes

  • Define and describe culture clashes and when / how they might occur
  • Explore the reasons how and why cultures might misunderstand or misinterpret each other
  • Explore the way that "cultures" evolve in organizations, and how they evolve over time in response to specific changes in the context of the organization or the individuals
  • Explain how perceptions of gender, ethnicity, and diversity can be utilized to bring about truly inclusive leadership and group ethos
  • Describe how concepts of identity relate to gender and ethnicity consciousness, and how differences utilized to build stronger relationships and organizations
  • Explain how transformational leadership can be used to resolve culture clashes

Websites and Web Resources

Cultural Clashes:  Japanese Maternity Patients and U.S. Hospital Care.  Michael Fetters.

Audio presentation:  Moon Cakes Prompt American Culture Clash. NPR audio presentation.

Scenes from the Culture Clash: Generational Workplace Clashes.  Fast Company.

Hmong in America.

Prevent Culture Clashes Among Diverse Workgroups.  Reena Jana.

Viral AntiMarketing: Clashes used for Profit.  Podcast and article by Susan Smith Nash.

Preventing Culture Clash.

Women at War:  Redstone Arsenal

Wounded in War:  The Women Serving in Iraq  Audio presentation.

It's Not Just Walter Reed.  Crisis and shortages in military health care.

Diversity and Leadership

Gender Consciousness and Gender Blindness.  AAD Project. Numerous resources.

Guiding Questions
Please use these questions as springboards for fruitful contemplation, and to help you with your journals.  You may respond to the questions if you wish.  If you prefer to address other issues regarding the readings and leadership, please feel free to do so.

You may also follow the flow chart and use it for your journal.

Describe different types of culture clashes that might occur at the workplace.

How do cultures misunderstand each other?  Describe two examples.

How can differences be an asset to a team?  When?  Give examples.

Explain how clashes may be resolved.  Use at least three strategies, and describe the ways in which labels, misconceptions, and false assumptions can be corrected.

Describe the impact of diversity and culture on organizational culture. What is the effect on team performance?  On the development of a vision?  On the accomplishment of a mission?

Reading from Required Texts
Read Transforming Leadership: Part 3: Leadership; Part 4: People

Avolio, Bruce and Bass, Bernard (eds.) (2002).
Developing potential across a full range of
leaderships: Cases on transactional and transformational leadership.
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence
Erlbaum and Associates. ISBN 0805838945.

Journal Articles
Please select three (or more if they interest you) for use in developing your journal and/or final project.  Some are in D2L, others are in the EBSCO database in LORA.  You will need to search for the ones that are not already in D2L.

Please read the other articles in D2L in "Content" as well.

Clarke, C., & Lipp, D. (1998). Contrasting Cultures: A seven-step process to help people from different cultures understand each other's intentions and perceptions. Training & Development. February 1998: 21-23.

Friedman, R.A., & Davidson, M. N. (2001). Managing diversity and second-order conflict. International journal of conflict management. 12(2), 132-153.

Jana, R. (2000). Preventing culture clashes. Infoworld. 24 April 2000: 95-96.

Jehn, K., Northcraft, G., Neale, M. (2000). Why differences make a difference: A field study of diversity, conflict, and performance in workgroups. Administrative Science Quarterly. 44: 741-763.

Randel, A. (2000). . AHow do members of groups diverse on multiple dimensions conceptualize one another? Social contextual triggers and work group conflict implications of identity saliencecademy of management proceedings. A1-A10.