Increasing international migration has resulted in globalization of the workplace. This study was focused on investigating factors that are potentially related to an immigrant leader's effectiveness in the host nation workforce. Such factors included the state of an immigrant's adaptation to the host nation culture; group members' perceptions of leader group prototypicality and leader stereotypicality; effects of group ethnic diversity; and moderating influence of an organizational climate that is inclusive or otherwise.
The data for this quantitative study came from 51 groups, ranging in size from 4 to 9 members, within diverse work settings in the Canadian workplace. The group leaders were first generation South Asians. Using a convenience sample and a cross sectional design, this multilevel data was analysed using mixed model analysis with R.
The results indicated that immigrant leaders unanimously chose to fully integrate with host nation culture. Leader group prototypicality and leader stereotypicality were found to be important factors which contributed significantly to individual and group level perceptions of a leader's effectiveness. However, group demographic diversity was not found to be related to follower perceptions of leadership effectiveness. Another significant finding was that perceptions of leader effectiveness were not biased by leader gender. While majority of leaders found organizational climate as being inclusive, this factor was not found to significantly moderate the relationship between follower perceptions of leadership and follower ratings of leadership effectiveness.
These findings have important implications for academic scholarship, business landscape, and policy makers. Specifically, this study provides empirical evidence that if immigrants are guided and encouraged to accept and absorb the host nation culture and values, they are a potential resource that can significantly contribute to the human capital of the host nation. Similarly, the negative effects of diversity are minimized in inclusive work environments. Furthermore, the finding that dissimilar leaders in ethnically diverse groups were perceived as group prototypical seems to suggest that the concept of group prototypicality itself has different connotations in varied settings.
Keywords: Leadership, Diversity, Relational demography, Organizational climate, Leader prototypicality