Intercultural leadership : variations in Chinese Canadian perspectives of career mobility into senior leadership roles
Linehan, Debora Rose
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SubjectBicultural identity; Chinese Canadian; Culture; Leadership; Organizational diversity; Phenomenography
This dissertation delves into the social issue of equity representation of visible minorities, specifically Chinese Canadians, in leadership roles. This qualitative study investigated the career experiences and perspectives of Chinese Canadians working in a large financial institution in Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia. This research goes beyond the paradigm of employment equity to explore bicultural identity within an organizational context and to critically investigate power structures that determine senior leadership roles. The study relied on a blended methodology of social scientific quantitative measures and phenomenography. The process included the use of demographic questionnaires, acculturation measurement scale instrumentation, and qualitative interviews. Findings suggest that, within this large financial institution, bicultural leaders are not ascending to senior leadership roles due to unintended cultural biases in organizational practices and norms. The research affirmed that Chinese Canadian employees contribute important skills, intercultural competence, and perspectives that enhance the practice of leadership, but that their leadership potential may not be fully recognized in the current organizational culture. The phenomenographic study also revealed career conceptions of acculturation and career mobility themes for Chinese Canadians within this financial institution. The discussion suggests that this financial organization needs to adapt to the changing workforce demographics and create an inclusive organizational culture that engages the talents of bicultural leaders.
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