Action intent: getting closer to leadership behavior in 22 countries

Lena Zander, Audra I. Mockaitis, Anne Wil Harzing, Wilhelm Barner-Rasmussen, Cordula Barzantny, Srabani Roy Choudhury, Anabella Davila, Joyce De Leon, Alvaro Espejo, Rita Ferreira, Axèle Giroud, Kathrin Köster, Yung Kuei Liang, Michael J. Morley, Barbara Myloni, Joseph O.T. Odusanya, Sharon L. O’Sullivan, Ananda Kumar Palaniappan, Paulo Prochno, Ayse Saka-HelmhoutSununta Siengthai, Ayda Uzunçarşılı Soydaş, Linda Viswat

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The field of cross-cultural leadership has seen a boom in empirical research over the last few decades, yet there are still few large-scale studies that seek explanations for leadership behavior. Earlier research has provided knowledge and awareness about differences and similarities in leadership attitudes, ideals, perceptions and preferences across countries and cultures, but to predict leadership behavior remains difficult. In this chapter, leader’s ‘action intent’ is proposed as a ‘close-to-action’ concept in contrast to the more ‘far-from-action’ concepts used in earlier leadership research. Importantly, for ‘close-to-action’ concepts to be able to provide better predictions these need to provide contextual and situational cues. In our study, carried out in 22 countries, respondents have ranked their preferred action alternative for six specific leadership scenarios. We find inter-country and intra-country variation in action intent for each scenario and meaningful correlations with culturally endorsed leadership ideals. Drawing on our empirical illustration we provide implications from our findings for global leadership. And although there are no simple answers as to how to predict leadership behavior, we posit that using ‘action intent’ as a leadership measure will generate a better understanding and provide stronger predictions of leader behavior globally.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook of Global Leadership
Subtitle of host publicationMaking a Difference
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781782545354
ISBN (Print)9781782545347
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Lena Zander 2020. All rights reserved.


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