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Enhancing Cross-Cultural Leadership Competence in Multinational Organisations

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Introduction: Enhancing Cross-Cultural Leadership Competence in Multinational Organizations

Leadership that is cross-culturally competent is capable of navigating and managing cultural differences among different teams or organisations. It entails being aware of and embracing cultural quirks, modifying one's leadership approach, and effectively interacting and working with people from various cultural backgrounds responsible for overseeing numerous operational aspects in order to provide travellers with a trustworthy and top-notch service. To maximise operational effectiveness and satisfy consumer demand, they are responsible for choosing flight paths, frequencies, and timetables.

The expansion of international trade and investment is a result of globalisation. A global market has been established as a result of the easier movement of people, capital, goods, and services across international boundaries. The greater economic interdependence of nations is a result of this integration. The flow of concepts, ideals, and cultural practices between other nations has been made easier by globalisation. It has made it possible for ideas, information, and cultural creations like books, movies, and music to circulate. The potential loss of cultural diversity and the predominance of Western cultural influence have, however, also generated worries.

Background of the topic

With the emerging interests in cross-cultural environments that impact the workplace, it becomes relevant to investigate the innovative requirements associated with creating competences in multinational organisations. It is one of the next contexts which develops in the meeting of different national cultures. The notion of “cross-cultural leadership” brings a particular level of ambiguity in terms of how cultural context and culture play an effective role.

Aims and Research questions

The aim of this research paper is to develop deeper knowledge of cross-cultural leadership competence in a multinational organisation in UK


  • To determine the concept of cross-cultural competence in GSK, UK.
  • To investigate the importance of cross-cultural competence in leadership in multinational organisations of the UK.
  • To determine the barriers of cross-cultural competence.

Research questions

  • What is the main concept behind cross cultural competence in GSK, UK?
  • What are the various benefits of cross-cultural competence in leadership in GSK?
  • What are the barriers that GSK faces while incorporating cross cultural competence?

Theoretical background

The capacity to engage, communicate, and collaborate successfully with people from various cultural backgrounds is referred to as cross-cultural competence, also known as intercultural competence or cultural intelligence.

Cross-cultural Competence

According to the opinion of Caligiuri 2019, different cultures have originated in various societal contexts by the utilisation of unique patterns and comprehension of behaviours. Cross cultural competence is the capability to bridge the various differences in recognising and incorporating values.Cultural variations between industries, organisations, and professions can cause challenges on a variety of levels, including ceremonies, habits, thoughts, and mindsets, which are not influenced by national culture.

As per the opinion of Sabirjanovna (2022), Milton Bennett created the widely used framework known as the Bennett Development Model of international Sensitivity, which describes how people grow their international sensitivity and competence. Denial: People who are in the denial stage may not be aware of cultural differences or may believe that their own cultural norms are the only reasonable viewpoints. They could have attitudes that are ethnocentric and lack awareness or comprehension of other cultures.

  • Defence: People may react defensively in the defence stage if they feel threatened by cultural differences. They could disregard or reject other civilizations, seeing them as subpar or problematic. In this period, stereotyping and unfavourable assessments could be frequent.
  • Minimization: During the minimization phase, people start to acknowledge cultural differences but minimise their importance.
  • Acceptance: People achieve genuine awareness for cultural diversity during the acceptance stage. They acknowledge the validity and worth of various cultural viewpoints and practices. People who are at this stage actively seek out various cultural experiences and participate in fruitful cross-cultural exchanges.
  • Adaptation: People develop greater adaptability and competency in handling cultural differences throughout the adaptation stage. They are able to alter their actions and communication patterns to fit into various cultural environments. They intentionally incorporate aspects of various cultures while preserving their own.
  • Integration: People reach a high level of intercultural competence and are able to interact with cultural differences without difficulty during the integration stage. They demonstrate a profound grasp of many cultures and have the capacity to settle disputes, cross cultural divides, and create inclusive partnerships.

The importance of cross-cultural competence in leadership in multinational organisations of the UK.

In the opinion of Clubb (2022), in leadership positions within international organisations, cross-cultural competence—also referred to as cultural intelligence or intercultural competence—is crucial. Teams with people from various cultural backgrounds makeup multinational organisations. Leaders who are cross-culturally competent can overcome communication obstacles brought on by language hurdles, cultural quirks, and various communication styles. Improved understanding, collaboration, and production among team members can be fostered by leaders who are aware of and flexible with various communication conventions. Cross-cultural competency enables leaders to forge enduring bonds of trust with people from many cultural backgrounds. Leaders may foster an inclusive workplace where workers feel appreciated and inspired to do their best by exhibiting respect for other ideas, attitudes, and practices.

In the words of Chen (2019), Globally operating multinational corporations do business in a variety of markets. Cross-culturally competent leaders are better able to comprehend and negotiate these markets' complexities. They might modify their business plans, marketing strategies, and customer service procedures to take into account particular cultural inclinations and regional conditions. The organisation's capacity to compete and prosper worldwide is improved by this insight. Conflicts and disagreements are unavoidable in multicultural teams. By taking into account cultural perspectives, beliefs, and customs, cross-cultural competency enables leaders to approach and resolve disputes in an effective manner. A harmonious and effective work atmosphere can be fostered by leaders who are able to arbitrate disputes and develop win-win solutions while respecting different points of view.

The barriers of cross-cultural competence

Shepherd et al., (2019), states that numerous obstacles may stand in the way of cross-cultural competence's development and application. These obstacles may be caused by societal, organisational, or individual causes. The idea that one's own culture is superior to others is referred to as ethnocentrism. Leaders who have ethnocentric viewpoints may not respect or value different cultures, which makes it difficult for them to become cross-culturally competent and work well with others in a variety of settings. Ethnocentrism restricts one's ability to view and comprehend different cultures. It results in a skewed and limited perspective that ignores the diversity, depth, and importance of other civilizations. This constrained viewpoint prevents the growth of the sincere curiosity, empathy, and openness required for cross-cultural competency.

Yamazaki and Toyama (2021) state that Cross-cultural competency can be hampered by a lack of understanding and awareness of other cultures. Leaders may find it difficult to collaborate, communicate effectively, and modify their leadership philosophies in multicultural settings if they lack a grasp of the norms, values, beliefs, and practices of other cultures. Learning about various cultures, including their values, beliefs, customs, communication methods, and social conventions, is the first step in developing cross-cultural understanding. This information promotes a deeper awareness for cultural diversity and aids in understanding the cultural contexts in which people interact.

Purpose of literature review

The topic cross-cultural competence in leadership has been chosen in order to understand the significance of cross-cultural competence in the multinational organisations in the UK. The researcher has presented the section by emphasising on leadership, competence and cross-cultural understanding. It is very popular nowadays when organisations are operating across boundaries. It is essential to create valid and trustworthy metrics to rate cross-cultural proficiency. More study is required to create and validate evaluation instruments that accurately reflect the complex nature of cross-cultural proficiency. The cognitive, behavioural, and affective aspects of cross-cultural competency are measured in this process. Research on cross-cultural competence now in existence frequently concentrates on broad cultural characteristics, including nationality or ethnicity. The intersections of many identities (such as gender, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation) and how they affect cross-cultural competency, however, need to be explored. Finding out how people deal with cultural diversity inside their own different identities may reveal important information.


The research methodology covers all the aspects of research methods needed to accomplish a project. The phrase "research method" refers to the general strategies and techniques that a researcher uses to complete a project (Assadpour et al., 2023). The entire research process is covered, from first hypotheses to the theoretical explanation of study issues. The research methods are classified into two types: Primary and Secondary Research methods.

Research Philosophy

Positivism is a study approach that has gained popularity across many academic fields, including the social sciences and natural sciences (Marsonet, 2019). It has its roots in philosophy. It places a strong emphasis on using empirical data and scientific methods to investigate and comprehend cross cultural competence in GSK and analysis have been carried out by researchers. Common knowledge can be evaluated with the help of positivism.

Research approach

The researcher here utilises deductive approach, which assists to develop a hypothesis regarding the cross cultural competence in leadership. The deductive approach is considered to be suitable for the positivist approach. The theory or hypothesis is used to inform the formulation of specific research questions (Pearse, 2019). These inquiries steer the data gathering and analysis phases of the research process. The objectives of the questions are to investigate the links between the various variables and test the theory or hypothesis.

Research strategy

The researcher chose choses case study for evaluating the particular topic of Cross cultural competence (Assadpour et al., 2023). It is a qualitative research strategy that tries to give a thorough grasp of the situation and produce insights that can help develop theories or provide information for practical applications.

Data Collection

The researcher has chosen secondary data to conduct the research and therefore thematic analysis is suitable for the purpose. The theory or hypothesis is used to inform the formulation of specific research questions. These inquiries steer the data gathering and analysis phases of the research process. The objectives of the questions are to investigate the links between the various variables and test the theory or hypothesis. The researcher will consider a number of qualifying criteria when choosing the publications, including the month or year of publication, the study topic, the author, and the language of publication. When choosing a group of articles to review, it is crucial to take all of these variables into account.

Thematic Analysis and Discussion

Concept of Cross Culture in GSK

In the opinion of Clubb (2022), the main difference between “expatriate manager” and “international manager” is that the “expatriate manager“ of GSK handles cultural differences and the international manager handles cultural differences in the local country. The international manager sometimes experiences the same requirements as the expatriate managers. It is therefore necessary to pay heed to the competences which are necessary for international managers in both international works.

As an international manager of GSK, one must possess a comprehensive understanding of the organisation as a whole in order to comprehend interdependencies. In modern organisation, playing various roles across borders, across functions, and in multiple teams demands understanding how markets and actions have a mutually reinforcing effect. While responding to various cultures, it refers to a great understanding of cultures, which is necessary for international managers to communicate with various other countries.

Importance of cross-cultural competence

In the opinion of Chen (2019), conflicts and disagreements are unavoidable in multicultural teams. By taking into account cultural perspectives, beliefs, and customs, cross-cultural competency enables leaders of GSK to approach and resolve disputes in an effective manner .A harmonious and effective work atmosphere can be fostered by leaders who are able to arbitrate disputes and develop win-win solutions while respecting different points of view. Multinational corporations like GSK frequently work in circumstances that are dynamic and changing quickly. Cross-culturally competent leaders are more flexible and receptive to novel concepts and methods. They are able to successfully traverse cultural differences, value diversity, and take advantage of the advantages of multicultural teams to spur innovation and effectively address market trends.

Barriers regarding cross cultural competence

The development and use of cross-cultural competency may be hampered by a variety of challenges. These barriers may be the result of societal, organisational, or personal factors. Ethnocentrism is the belief that one's own culture is superior to all others (Lin and Wang, 2019). It can be challenging for leaders with ethnocentric attitudes to become cross-culturally competent and collaborate well with others in a variety of contexts because they may not respect or value other cultures. Ethnocentrism limits a person's capacity to perceive and understand many cultures. Organisations could not give leaders enough opportunities for training and development to improve their cross-cultural competency.

Project activities

Activities Start date End date Duration (Days)
Framing aims and objectives 01-May-2023 04-May-2023 4
Collecting data 6-May-2023 10-May-2023 5
Preparing thematic table for secondary research 11-May-2023 14-May-2023 4
Analysis of data 16-May-2023 18-May-2023 3
Providing recommendations 19- May-2023 22-May-2023 3

Table 1: Work Breakdown

Gantt Chart

Figure 1: Gantt Chart


International organisations require leaders who would adjust to diverse environments more quickly and work with other employees. The organisation needs leaders who are easily adaptable to any kind of environment. As businesses shift regional to transnational models, leaders are accountable for providing a bridge between cultural diversity and business goals achievement. Cross cultural psychology sought to understand how it communicate with each other. Recognising how managers execute their work in a globalised economy requires vast amounts of knowledge. To obtain shared organisational aims and objectives, the leadership needs the ability to innovate and influence the attitudes of people and the actions within global society.


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