leadership within a global context 1

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Week 2: Multicultural Leadership

Read the following scenario:

As a global, strategic director of a U.S. pharmaceutical company, you oversee corporate relations and initiatives with global corporations and healthcare clinics. Your company has joined the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Polio Eradication Initiative that seeks to eradicate instances of polio through education and vaccinations. Your team is working with a local healthcare clinic in rural Pakistan. The clinic’s physician has observed an increase in cases of polio. This increase may be a result of the community’s cultural opposition to polio vaccinations. Although the physician respects his community’s decision not to vaccinate, he recognizes polio is a growing problem. Reluctantly, he has agreed to join WHO’s initiative. As a leader, you delegate the contact responsibility to Jenny, the new assistant deputy director of global strategy. At one point, a crucial deadline for distribution needs the physician’s approval and he has not been available all day. Finally, after many attempts, Jenny is able to speak with the physician. Hurriedly, she explains the details. Unintentionally, she pressures the physician for his approval. Abruptly, the physician ends the communication and refuses any further contact with your company. Stunned, Jenny is unsure of how this might have happened as she was prepared, articulate, and straightforward about your company’s plans.

The scenario presented represents the challenges associated with multicultural leadership in today’s global society. This week, you examine challenges related to multicultural leadership. You also explore how multicultural competencies may impact leadership and your personal public health leadership philosophy.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Analyze challenges associated with multicultural public health leadership
  • Evaluate strategies for addressing challenges within multicultural public health leadership
  • Analyze the influence of multicultural competencies on personal public health leadership philosophies
  • Analyze negative and positive characteristics of leadership
  • Apply insights related to leadership and systems thinking
  • Apply your personal definition of leadership to a philosophy of public health leadership
  • Analyze the influence of systems thinking on personal public health leadership philosophies
  • Analyze the influence of multicultural leadership on personal public health leadership philosophies

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Nahavandi, A. (2014).
The art and science of leadership (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

  • Chapter 2, “The Global and Cultural Contexts”

Bücker, J., #038; Poutsma, E. (2010). Global management competencies: a theoretical foundation. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 25(8), 829–844.

Dowell, S. F., Tappero, J. W., #038; Frieden, T. R. (2011). Public health in Haiti: Challenges and progress. New England Journal of Medicine, 364(4), 300-301.

Hofstede, G. (2010). The GLOBE debate: Back to relevance. Journal of International Business Studies, 41, 1339–1346.

Optional Resources

Harvard Business Review. (2011).
Managing values across cultures [Video file]. Retrieved from

Discussion: Leadership Within a Global Context

Globalization has implications for leaders that reach beyond sensitivity. For exle, globalization may require leaders to interact with other leaders from various countries to set procedural guidelines on matters such as establishing safety standards for distributing medical supplies or facilitating public health communication. Therefore, within local and/or global leadership organizations, public health leaders must be aware of multicultural issues and challenges. As a result, multicultural awareness and competency, important elements of multicultural leadership, play a crucial role in determining appropriate actions, attitudes, and expectations.

For this Discussion, select two challenges associated with multicultural leadership. As a scholar-practitioner in the field of public health, think about strategies you may use to address these challenges. Consider how your public health leadership philosophy may contribute to these strategies for multicultural leadership challenges.


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