Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries
Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change
Cultural Distance; Self-Other Agreement; Leadership Categorization Theory; Approach/Inhibition Theory of Power; Multisource Feedback Systems
Multisource feedback is important for leadership development and effectiveness. An important asset of such feedback is that it provides information about the self-other agreement between leaders and observers.Self-other agreement relates to several positive individual, dyadic, and organizational outcomes. Given the increasingly intercultural context in organizations, it is imperative to understand whether and how cultural distance between leaders and observers relates to self-other agreement.The authors hypothesize that cultural distance within leader-observer dyads is negatively associated with self-other agreement. Moreover, the authors expect that this relationship is stronger for leader-superior than leader-subordinate dyads. The authors use a unique multi-cultural dataset of 7,778 leaders (52 nationalities) rated by 22,997 subordinates (56 nationalities) and 10,132 superiors (54 nationalities) to test their hypotheses.Results confirm that cultural distance is negatively associated with self-other agreement; the authors show that this relationship is driven by increased self-ratings and by reduced other-ratings.In addition, the authors find that these results are more pronounced for leader-superior than for leader-subordinate dyads. Implications for the theory and practice of self-other agreement and multisource feedback are discussed.