Criticizing the 2 Articles

Criticizing the 2 Articles

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Criticizing the 2 Articles

The influence of culture on leadership is well documented. Evidence indicates that national and regional cultures influence the practice and outcomes of leadership in organizations therein. Although most leadership studies interrogating the cultural aspect have been conducted in western countries, thus concentrating on western cultures, studies conducted in other cultural settings are increasing. Evidence of leadership in cultures other than the western one is increasingly being documented and appearing in the literature. Large non-western cultures like the Arabic and Chinese cultures are increasingly gaining the attention of researchers because they contrast and rival western ones, and influence leadership practice and outcomes differently compared to western ones (Rowley & Oh, 2020). The focus on the cultural effects on leadership is pertinent for widening the application of diverse leadership theories and styles in different cultural settings, considering that leaders, especially those of multinational firms, increasingly have to deal with cultural-oriented issues in their globally-situated business units. Besides, leaders in contemporary organizations increasingly encounter diverse workforces comprising employees drawn from different cultural and national backgrounds and experiences. The cultural context of leadership is of interest because the number of firms that have internationalized their operations has been on a steady rise, and the labor market is increasingly globalized, drawing focus on non-western cultural perceptions of leadership in a scholarship dominated by western cultural leadership empirical evidence (Ly, 2020). Therefore, organizational leaders are increasingly leading members situated in different cultural settings. The cultural orientations in foreign destinations are likely to differ significantly from those in the home location. Subsequently, the foreign non-western cultures have infused several western-culture attributes, while striving to maintain their authentic ones at the same time. Therefore, it is critical to evaluate the evidence on these cultural interactions and their effect on the application of leadership theory and practice in multinational organizations.   

First, I will address the central concept presented in the paper, be it a leadership theoretical framework or the cultural aspects influencing leadership practice and effectiveness. After that, I will provide a general critique of the two papers before delving into their methodologies. Next, I will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the paper to appraise their quality. Thereafter, I will identify the research gaps and the opportunities they present for future research. I will then summarize the influence of national and regional culture on leadership practice before consolidating the research gaps and future research opportunities that would inform the emerging research proposal.

Critique of the Articles

1st Article

Culture Description

The GCC states are located in a region proliferated by people of Arabic descent and ascribe predominantly to the Muslim faith. Therefore, the cultural orientation in the GCC region can be described as a combination of Arabic and Islamic cultures. While the Arabic culture is rooted in the ethnic characteristics of the dominant racial group in the region, the Islamic culture is more of a religious and lifestyle culture. The Arabic and Islamic traditions influence leadership in unique ways and women have to contend with these traditions as they aspire to corporate leadership. These two cultures are characterized primarily by paternalism, strict gender roles, and the subjugation of women.

General Paper Description

The first article “Promoting gender diversity in the Gulf” was authored by Ellis, Marcati, and Sperling in the McKinsey Quarterly journal in2015. The aim of the paper was to identify the progress made in promoting gender diversity in leadership in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. Its purpose was to determine the advancements in women leadership and the challenges women’s leaders continue to experience in the GCC countries. Therefore, this paper attempted to demonstrate that despite the constraints placed by the Arabic and Islamic cultures, women in the GCC region had penetrated the corporate leadership space. Similarly, the paper intended to demonstrate that forms in the GCC region were increasingly recognizing the potential women leaders possessed in enhancing organizational performance and effectiveness. 


The study presented in this article used the qualitative research methodology. This is because it mentions survey respondents as having been the primary participants of the study. It appears that the study collected data using two data collection instruments; a questionnaire and interviews. Specifically, eh paper uses two samples. The first sample comprised 550 organizational executives in the middle and senior management levels. These participants were drawn from public, private and social organizations in countries with GCC membership, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain. The second sample is constituted of 50 senior leaders drawn from C-suite companies and the governments in the countries mentioned. The data collection instruments were questionnaires and in-depth interviews.

This methodology was appropriate for researching the topic of women in leadership. This is because it involves people living the leadership experience and, therefore, is well-positioned to provide their perspectives of the lived experience and generate primary data related to women in leadership in the GCC countries. The sample size was also appropriate, considering that the firms in these countries did not have many women corporate leaders due to cultural restrictions. However, the methodology raises critical issues related to sampling and recruiting the study participants, and the ethical issues considered. In the same vein, the paper does not disclose the methodology used succinctly, and it had to be inferred from the findings and footnotes.   

Strengths and Weaknesses, and Quality of Evidence and Journal

The strength of this paper lies in its addressing a pertinent topic in leadership scholarship, that of women in leadership. Based on the topical focus of the paper, the article is strong also because its findings textually and diagrammatically to help one visualize and easily understand the information they present. In addition, the paper supports its arguments and explanation using the findings from the survey. Further, it reveals the women’s leadership situation in the GCC region, which has not been researched much. However, the paper has significant weaknesses. For instance, the article focuses solely on presenting the finding of the study, with little or no attention directed towards the research objectives, questions or methodology. In addition, the structure of the paper is very weak it has no distinct introduction, or conclusion, and uses only four subheadings to signpost the main ideas. Further, the paper does not refer or cite any literature. Therefore, the authors do not compare their results with those of other scholars, and therefore, do not place the information generated in the bigger context of the scholarly world. Therefore, it is difficult to ascertain the validity or reliability of the study. In this regard, the paper appears to be a commentary on a study organized by a private organization, which has not undergone any peer review. Consequently, the quality of the paper is very low. This is because its evidence is rated at level VII, which is reserved for evidence provided by reports of expert committees and organizations. Besides, the McKinsey Quarterly journal is also rated lowly because it has an impact factor of 0.381, 0.341, 0.367, and 0.357 based on 2, 3, 4, and 5 years. Its cite score is 1.2, has a H-Index of 34, and is ranked #217 out of 556 journals that have been published in the international relations and political science research discipline, #83 out of 159 in the economics, econometrics, and finance research area, and #71 out of 101 in the business, management, and accounting study areas. 

Research Gaps and Opportunities for Future Research

The article exposes several research gaps, although the authors do not identify them. For instance, the voice of the followership in organizations was missing and needed to be heard through their participation in the research study. Similarly, the women’s leadership situations in the GCC have not been compared to that of other regions or places in the global context. Therefore, future studies, particularly the emerging thesis proposal, could compare women leadership in the GCC countries and identify the leadership theories and styles commonly used by the women leaders in these countries. These proposed studies would reveal valuable information about how the Arabic and Islamic cultures influence leadership, its application of leadership theories and practice, and its effectiveness in organizational settings, which have been understudied and underrepresented in the current research efforts.

2nd Article

Culture Description

The Chinese culture is one of the most prominent cultures globally with a longstanding history. As a national culture, China’s national culture, which is based on Confucian teachings, has unique characteristic differences from those of other countries, particularly the western cultures (Liu, 2017). According to Hofstede Insights (2022), the national culture in China ranks highly in power distance, masculinity, and long-term orientation, and lowly in individualism, uncertainty avoidance, and indulgence. Altogether, the Chinese culture is highly collectivistic, as opposed to the western culture, which is highly individualistic. These characteristics have a significant influence on leadership practices in the organizational setting and on the leader-follower relationship. In addition, the leader-member exchange (LMX) theory views leadership as a bidirectional relationship between leaders and their followers, fostered by social exchange (Martin et al., 2018). The leader-follower relationships can be classified as high or low based on their quality.  

General Paper Description

The second article is authored by Li et al. (2013) and is titled “Regional differences in a national culture and their effect on leadership effectiveness: A tale of two neighboring Chinese cities”, which was published by the Journal of World Business. The paper is trying to demonstrate that large cultures have many different regional orientations based on diverse factors, including the level of urbanization, income levels, location, and exposure to global societies, among other considerations, which would influence the practice and effectiveness of leadership. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify the different applications of the LMX theory of leadership across the different regions in China, and its effectiveness in organizational settings. This study was prompted by the high number of mixed research outcomes and inconclusive findings regarding the effectiveness of leadership theories and styles in large cultures, such as the Chinese one. Therefore, this study is appropriate because it addresses a leadership issue in a rising economy, which is increasingly participating in and influencing the global economy. It is also interesting because it exposes the differences in the Chinese culture across regions, which is generally believed to be homogeneous. Nonetheless, this paper succeeds in demonstrating the regional differences in the Chinese culture that influenced leadership in organizational settings.    


The methodology used in this study is qualitative, although the authors do not allude to it directly. This was inferred from the nature of the sample and data collection instruments and processes. Specifically, the study was longitudinal because it collected data from the participants in two different instances three days apart. The researchers recruited 205 participants comprising 190 employees and 15 supervisors drawn from manufacturing firms in the cities of Shenzhen and Hong Kong. This sample is appropriate because it represents the workforce in one industry in a country, the manufacturing sector in China. In addition, data was collected through questionnaires and interviews, which are appropriate for collecting primary data in a qualitative study because they capture the perceptions of people with a lived experience with the phenomenon of interest, which in this case is LMX leadership. Further, a comprehensive statistical analysis was conducted to test the three hypotheses set by the researcher. It helped determine the relationship between the dependent, independent, and control variables developed by the researchers. Altogether, the paper uses a robust and well-articulated methodology that can facilitate replication and validate the findings. Nevertheless, there are a few concerns raised by the used methodologies. For instance, the sampling strategy used is not disclosed and the ethical considerations have not been divulged.  

Strengths and Weaknesses, and Quality of Evidence

This paper has much strength based on its methodological and structural organization. Its key strength lies in the robustness of its methodology, which is explained expansively, even if it does not disclose the selection criteria used in participant recruitment. In addition, the paper is well-structured as a research paper with the different segments well signposted, including the introduction, literature review, methodology, analysis, discussion, and discussion, which includes the implications in leadership research and practice. Contrastingly, there are weaknesses in the paper’s methodology integrity, which include the lack of disclosing the sampling criteria and criteria, and the ethical issuers the researchers considered when conducting this study. Consequently, the strengths of this paper outweigh its weaknesses, raising the quality of the paper. The high level of quality in this paper is derived from its moderate quality of evidence, which is rated at level VI ascribed to single descriptive qualitative researches. In addition, the paper is published in the Journal of World Business, whose impact factors are 8.513, 9.273, 10.287, and 9.047 based on the 20year, 3-year, 4 year, and 5-year ratings. In addition, the journal is ranked #11 out of 186 in the marketing research field, #17 out of 399 in the business and international management research area, and #4 out of 288 in the finance research area.

Research Gaps and Opportunities for Future Research

This paper revealed several gaps in the knowledge about the culture’s influence on leadership. For instance, the existing studies did not accommodate the dynamic nature of the national culture, considering that it was changing rapidly due to the influence of globalization, technological advancement, and human migration, which have increased the interaction of the Chinese with other cultures.  The other gap is in evidencing the more nuanced differences in the dominant culture in a region despite sharing similar ethnic traditions, language, and religion. In this regard, Li et al. (2013) observed that there lacked information about how the difference in the national cultures in China, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong influenced the leader-follower relationship in organizational settings. Based on these gaps, the future research opportunities that can inform the emerging thesis proposal include the effect of the differences in national cultures of the GCC member counties on the application of leadership theory and practice, and their effects on organizational productivity.  

Summary of the Influence of National and Regional Culture on Leadership Practice and Effectiveness

The papers by Ellis et al. (2015 and Li et al. (2013) addressed the cultural angle of leadership, which is often insufficiently studied and underrepresented in existing empirical evidence. They revealed that culture is a critical consideration in mastering effective leadership because it influences the leadership orientation of the leaders and followers. They also highlighted the importance of non-western cultures, which were increasingly featuring in the organizational setting due to increased ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity in workplaces and which could challenge leaders. The studies revealed valuable information related to women leadership in Arabic and Islamic countries and the regional diversity of the Chinese culture, and its influence on leaders. The conclusion that can be drawn from these papers is that leaders in contemporary organizations need to be familiar with the different cultures across the world to develop their cultural intelligence. This was critical in enabling the leaders to be effective in a multicultural workplace setting.

Research Gaps and Opportunities

The main research gaps exposed by the papers by Ellis et al. (2015 and Li et al. (2013) are relevant to the emerging thesis proposal because they include the absence of empirical evidence on the cultural differences in the GCC member countries and their influence of the application of leadership theory and practice among corporate leaders. Therefore, the outstanding research opportunity is to investigate the nuanced cultural differences in an Arabic and Islamic region that influence the leadership theory application and practice in the corporate world.  


Leadership knowledge is increasingly being updated by evidence from emerging issues in the contemporary organizational setting. The effects of globalization as manifested in the increasingly multicultural workplace, high labor mobility, and the proliferation of digital technologies are bridging the cultural divide in organizations and their diverse locations. In turn, studies like those presented in the two papers add valuable knowledge useful to the leaders of contemporary organizations with international presence and diverse workforces. In addition, they revealed critical gaps that need to be addressed to further leadership scholarship related to cultural influences, such as evidence of the subtle differences in regions with dominant cultures such as those in the Middle East and East Asia.    


Ellis, T., Marcati, C., & Sperling, J. M. (2015). Promoting gender diversity in the Gulf. McKinsey Quarterly, 1-8. Retrieved from

Hofstede Insights (2022). China. Retrieved from

Li, J., Tan., Cai, Z., Zhu, H., & Wang, X. (2013). Regional differences in a national culture and their effect on leadership effectiveness: A tale of two neighboring Chinese cities. Journal of World Business, 48, 13-19.

Liu, P. (2017). A framework for understanding Chinese leadership: A cultural approach. International Journal of Leadership in Education20(6), 749-761.

Ly, N. B. (2020). Cultural influences on leadership: Western-dominated leadership and non-Western conceptualizations of leadership. Sociology and Anthropology8(1), 1-12.

Rowley, C., & Oh, I. (2020). Trends in Chinese management and business: Change, confucianism, leadership, knowledge & innovation. Asia Pacific Business Review26(1), 1-8.

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