March 6, 2009



            This report discusses in detail the research proposal which aims on the comparison of the leadership styles of United States and Japan. Principally, the researcher of the study tries to determine the leadership styles that are being implemented in the countries mentioned above. The research study will also attempt to provide insightful details regarding the differences or similarity of each of the American and Japanese leadership styles implemented in their environment.

            In this regard, the research proposal discusses the background of the study as well as the general objective and aims of this research. Furthermore, the research questions to be answered will also be provided and some details regarding the relevant literature review will be given. Finally, the scope and limitation, the rationale of the study and the overview of the methodology to be used will be discussed.


Background of the Study

            Accordingly, leadership is noted to be one of the well-documented topics in different nations. As Bass (1990), stated that there are various authors that provides definition of leaderships. This is because of many scholars who have dedicated their research in investigating the context of leadership. The definition of leadership that would be widely accepted by the majority of theorists and researchers might say that leadership is a process of social influence in which one person is able to enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task." The major points of this definition are that leadership is a group activity, is based on social influence, and revolves around a common task. Although this specification seems relatively simple, the reality of leadership is very complex. Intrapersonal factors (i.e., thoughts and emotions) interact with interpersonal processes (i.e., attraction, communication, influence) to have effects on a dynamic external environment. Each of these aspects brings complexity to the leadership process. It is the purpose of this book to try to make that complexity a bit more manageable, thus increasing our ability to understand what effective leadership is.

According to Hofstede (2001), the notions and context about organizational leadership and management are frequently exported to different nations regardless of the values that these ideas have been developed.  Some authors agreed that while the emergence of leadership approaches is widely acceptable to be a common in different cultures, the manner that these styles have been operationalised are commonly observed as culturally specified.  The are some arguments that exists regarding the context of leadership styles across cultures, especially in western and eastern cultures. In order to determine the differences of similarities of Western and eastern cultures, this study will be conducted. The primary goal of this research study is to compare the leadership styles of United States and Japan.

Research Aims and Objectives

            The insights regarding the leadership styles used in different nations have been considered as one of the most important aspects in management. Because of the differences in cultures and aspects, most countries implement a distinctive and unique leadership styles. Thus, the main objective of this research study is to compare the leadership styles in two different nations, i.e. United States and Japan.  In particular, the study aims on attaining the following objectives:

Ø          To conduct literature review on the basic context of leadership and leadership styles

Ø          To provide background study regarding the leadership styles implemented in United States

Ø          To provide background study regarding the leadership styles implemented in Japan

Ø          To compare the leadership styles of United States and Japan.


Plan of the Research study

This research study basically includes the investigation and analysis of existing secondary data and insightful details about leadership styles, US and Japan leadership styles. Herein, the major objective of the intended research is to compare the leadership styles of the countries mentioned. The objectives of the study can be attained by managing and organising the documented literature and previews studies about the given subject. For this proposed study, the researcher will only use qualitative approach. Though, this study will focus on leadership styles, relevant literatures, research studies and experiences of US and Japan may be included, noted that these resources are still relevant to the topic. In that extent, details and information can be gathered and collected from previous studies about leadership, journals, articles, books, published and unpublished reports and various internet resources.


1.4 Rationale of the Study

It has been noted that there are many literatures that tackles about the leadership styles of Western and Eastern cultures. However, there had been restricted resources about the comparison of leadership styles of these two cultures. Having been able to consider the importance and significance of this context in the global environment, it is therefore essential that new studies will be conducted focusing on this topic, i.e. comparing the leadership styles of Japan and United States. Hence, this study will be conducted to add up to the previous studies regarding leaderships styles. The research is significant in identifying the difference of the similarities of leaderships styles implemented within the two countries.


Leadership in United States

            In the United   States of American, most scholars have been able to define the context of leadership by determining the function of leaders in a company and classifying leadership into various styles. For instance, American scholar Yukl (2002) describe leadership as the course of influencing the followers to agree and understand the things that must be accomplished and how these activities can be accomplished efficiently. It is also noted as the process of assisting the subordinates and facilitating cumulative efforts to achieve a common goal. In the US, the leadership style that has been commonly described by most scholars is the participative type of leadership. Accordingly, the American leaders are able to use this style, specifically in making decisions (Stewart et al, 1986).  In America, Seibold and Shea (2001) emphasise 5 types of participation approaches, including the so-called quality circle, self-directed work teams, quality of work life program, scalon gainsharing plans and quality circle. These classifications have provided American organisations a model to encourage staff participation.


Leadership in Japan

            Japan has been noted for being an innovative leader and participative leaders. In this country, most companies adhere to the transformational type of leadership. Transformational leaders motivate others to do more than they originally intended and often even more than they thought possible. Such leaders set more challenging expectations and typically achieve higher performances. Transformational leadership is an expansion of transactional leadership. Transactional leadership emphasizes the transaction or exchange that takes place among leaders, colleagues, and followers (Leithwood, 1992). This exchange is based on the leader discussing with others what is required and specifying the conditions and rewards these others will receive if they fulfil the requirements. Accordingly, the leadership style used in Japan is noted to be effective. This is because Japanese leadership style has enable the organisation to achieve higher levels of employee motivation, commitment, delegation in terms of decision making and intrinsic job satisfaction (Keys & Miller, 1982). In addition, authors like Ochi (1981) also agreed that Japanese is known to be a collectivistic culture which means that industries would highlights collective decision making as well as accumulative obligation. Hirokawa (1981) utilised a communicative concept to given meaning to Japanese leadership style. Herein, Japanese leaders have been able to act as efficient communicators in their respective companies. In addition, Japanese leaders make efforts in maintaining harmony in their companies.


1.5 Overview of the Report

This proposed research study will be divided into five chapters. The description of the subsequent chapters is as follows:

Chapter one will provide the introduction and background of the topic and the research objectives which will served as the guidelines for achieving the main reason why this study is conducted.

Chapter 2 will provide the literature review that will be used for this study. This chapter will be divided into various sections. The first section presents the background of leadership styles available. The next part of this section will review the leadership styles implemented within US and Japan.

In the third chapter, the researcher will provide the research methodology to be used in this study. As mentioned, this research is base solely on qualitative approach.

 The fourth chapter presents that analysis of the secondary data colleted about the leadership styles of US and Japan. Moreover, the discussion will also provide the comparison of the leaderships styles implemented in these two countries.

Finally, the fifth chapter will summarise the findings of this research study, including the pertinent conclusions derived from the result of the analysis given in the previous chapters.


1.6 Scope of the Study

This proposed research study highlights the areas of leadership styles across cultures. For this proposed study, the researcher opted to use deductive method. Such decision of the researcher is based on different characteristics of a deductive method which has been explained by Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill (2003). Herein, it is said that deductive method may be simple and fast accomplish. Secondly, data gathering in this approach are often based on a on-take context and that it encompasses a lower-risk approach. Due to time constraints and financial restrictions, the researcher opted to use this approach so as to accomplish effectively the proposed study.

In this regard, the researcher will gather data from different related documents from both local and international schools and some other studies from business and industrial journals. After gathering all the needed information, the researcher will conduct a content analysis of the gathered documentary materials. In this study, the documented secondary data will be utilised and the data sources which are vital to the study consists of magazines, the web, journals, some reports, and newspapers. In lieu with ethical consideration, the researcher of this proposed study will see to it that the entire documentary materials which will be used will be properly referenced and plagiarism aspects will be prevented at all cost.


Theoretical Framework

In the proposed research, the theoretical framework which will be used is the Input-Process-Output Model. In this model, a process is viewed as a sequence of boxes which are called the processing elements and connected by inputs and outputs. Insightful details and information flow through a series of procedures and activities based on a set of rules or decision points made. To present this process, flow charts and process diagrams are the most commonly used visual representations. For this model, what goes in is the input; what causes the change is the process; what comes out is the output. Figure 1.1 illustrates the basic IPO model:

Figure 1.1

Input – Process – Output Model











The IPO model that will be used in this study will give general structure and guide for achieving the objectives of the study. Substituting the variables of this study on the IPO model, the researcher came up with the following:


Figure 1.2

Conceptual Framework





·        Pertinent conclusion about the comparison of leadership styles in US and Japan.


·        Conclusion on the objectives of the study.





Assessment and analysis of acquired data through deductive and content analysis.


·        A literature about leadership styles

·        Qualitative data; using secondary data gathered from relevant documents.






           INPUT                                PROCESS                           OUTPUT









Literature Review

The Concept of Leadership Styles

Consequently, a major component of administration is leadership. From the viewpoint of systems theory, leadership might be considered as a subsystem of systems administration. It could also be considered as a concept which becomes a part of the conceptual framework of administration theory. Leadership styles are definitely an important part of administrative theory.

Traditionally, the dimensions of leadership theory have been two in number, authoritarian and democratic. A third has been called laissez-faire. Authoritarian leadership is that which is associated with the bureaucratic organizational structure. Authority comes downward from the leader. He initiates decisions. He is the super-ordinate and does not consult with the subordinates. The exact opposite dimension is the laissez-faire, or free-rein, type. This type is one in which the individual member is independent of the group and the leader. He makes his own decisions. He acts outside of the organizational structure.

The most favoured dimension for some administrators is democratic leadership. This type is seen in a participative type of organization. Authority stems from the group. Group members participate in the decision-making process. According to Stogdill (1974), there are numerous types of leadership styles which have been implemented in various organisations. These leadership styles are summarizes as follows: (1) "authoritative (dominator)," (2) "persuasive (crowd arouser)," (3) "democratic (group developer)," (4) "intellectual (eminent man)," (5) "executive (administrator)," and (6) "representative (spokesman)." The first three styles are extreme in nature, the more modern type of leadership style being that of situational leadership contingency management.


Overview of Methodology

Research Design

As mentioned above, the main goal of this proposed study is to compare the leadership styles of US and Japan. In order to achieve the objective of this study, the researcher opted to use the descriptive approach. Such descriptive style of research will use secondary data that will be collected in previous studies, published or unpublished documents.

Accordingly, with the descriptive research, it is necessary to have a clear picture of the phenomena on which a researcher wishes to collect data prior to the collection of the data. (Saunders et al, 2003). Further, even if many project tutors are often wary or work that is too descriptive, and they will want a researcher to go further and draw conclusions from the data gathered, description in management and business research has a very clear place, although, it should not be thought of as an end in itself, but only as a means to an end. (Saunders et al, 2003).

            This research is base on qualitative research method. Traditionally, qualitative research has been viewed somewhat simplistically as a set of different research methods that have certain features in common. In this respect, qualitative methods are employed to collect data about activities, events, occurrences and behaviours and to seek an understanding of actions, problems and processes in their social context. For this research study, qualitative approach will be used in order to understand the differences or similarities of the leadership styles in US and Japan.

Qualitative research, allows the researcher to be adaptable at all stages of the research process because it is both inductive and deductive. Initially it is inductive. This means that, to begin with, patterns, themes and categories emerge out of the data instead of being imposed on them prior to data collection and analysis. Later the process of qualitative research becomes deductive because, as the research progresses, the researcher develop working propositions and ideas which are being tested out over the next stages of data collection and analysis. This may even involve searching for new data that confirm your propositions. There is a constant interplay, therefore, between analysis and data collection, which is why qualitative research is often described as iterative. Key point Qualitative data analysis is concerned with:

Ø      Data reduction: carving up the mass of unwieldy data into manageable chunks by coding, memoing and summarizing them into simplified patterns and configurations.

Ø      Interpretation: bringing meaning and insight to the words and acts of participants in your study by generating concepts and theories (or theory-based generalizations) which explain your findings. You then communicate the meaning of your findings to others through your written report.

         Although data reduction and interpretation are common to most types of qualitative analysis, there are no rigid stages or rules for undertaking the process of qualitative analysis, unlike in quantitative research where there are well-established methods and procedures. Such flexibility and openness lie at the heart of qualitative research, suggesting that perhaps it is inappropriate to aim for homogeneous, classifiable types of qualitative analysis (Turner 1994). Instead the researcher should follow the analytical approach which the researcher considers best fits your overall research design and the nature of the data.

The value of qualitative research can best be understood by examining its characteristics. One of the primary advantages of qualitative research is that it is more open to the adjusting and refining of research ideas as an inquiry proceeds. Also, the researcher does not attempt to manipulate the research setting, as in an experimental study, but rather seeks to understand naturally occurring phenomena in their naturally occurring states. Inductive reasoning, as opposed to deductive reasoning, is common in qualitative research, along with content or holistic analysis in place of statistical analysis (Marshall & Rossman, 1995).


Description of the Data Used in the Study

The study utilized solely secondary data for the qualitative analysis. Secondary data include raw data and published summaries, as well as both quantitative and qualitative data. Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill (2003) deduced that secondary data fall into three main subgroups—documentary data, survey-based data, and those compiled from different sources.

         With this particular study, the researcher utilized documentary secondary data (in the form of articles from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers) that are generally about the leadership styles of United States and Japanese.


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