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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

American Managers' Lived Experience in U.S. Affiliates of Korean Companies: A Phenomenological Study in Cross-Cultural Followership
by Satrio, Rubianto, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2018, 309; 10839834
Abstract (Summary)

Foreign direct investment is an important part of the U.S. economy, and foreign companies employ 6.8 million Americans. Therefore, it is critical for American managers to possess effective cross-cultural leadership and followership skills. However, it is widely recognized that leadership theories are too leader-centric, and cross-cultural followership research remain scarce.

This phenomenological study aimed to contribute to cross-cultural followership research. It investigated the lived experiences of American managers (as followers) as they worked with their Korean leaders to co-construct leadership and its outcomes in the context of U.S. affiliates of South Korean companies. It explored how the American managers’ national culture and followership schema impacted their work relationship with Korean leaders. The study also explored the following behaviors that they used in this context. Uhl-Bien, Riggio, Lowe, and Carsten (2014) constructionist framework of followership that emphasized the dynamic interactions between leaders and followers was used as the framework of inquiry.

Using modified Seidman’s (2013) in-depth interview method, eight upper-level American managers who worked for South Korean companies in the U.S. were interviewed. The data were analyzed using the four-step interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) method suggested by Smith and Osborn (2008), and the emergent themes were identified. From emergent themes, 26 recurrent themes and eight superordinate themes were identified. Collectively, the emergent themes produced five significant conclusions.

The conclusions of this study indicate that American managers: (1) found themselves in a perplexing environment of an American workplace with “Korean” flavor, (2) strived to be a change agent in Korean companies, (3) found Korean leaders to be less collaborative and praiseful compared to American leaders, (4) yearned to be more trusted and empowered in Korean companies, and (5) sought creative ways to achieve the organizational goals in Korean companies no matter what, up to a point. This study contributed to the theory by enhancing Uhl-Bien et al.’s (2014) constructionist framework of followership and providing evidence of what happens when proactive followers work in an authoritarian business environment.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Marquardt, Michael J.
Commitee: Choi, Sooyeon, Weech, William A.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Human & Organizational Learning
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 79/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Management, International Relations, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Cross-cultural followership, Followership, IPA, Korean management, Leadership, Phenomenology
Publication Number: 10839834
ISBN: 978-0-438-26594-3
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