Does acculturation affect one’s implicit leadership theories? Evidence from Chinese professionals in Australia and China

  • Xiaoyan LiangEmail author
  • Sen Sendjaya
  • Lakmal Abeysekera


Notwithstanding the increasing participation of Chinese immigrant professionals in developed countries, our knowledge on the link between acculturation and leadership is scant. By integrating the fields of acculturation and leadership, this study examines the effect of acculturation on the implicit leadership theories held by Chinese professionals in Australia relative to their counterparts in China. Seventy interviews involving Chinese immigrant professionals in Australia and China were conducted to explore the extent to which acculturation into a new and different cultural context changes one’s implicit leadership theories. Analyses of the interview data led to the emergence of five culturally independent and two culturally dependent implicit leadership perceptions. This study contributes to the ongoing debate around the stability of implicit leadership theories and extends the validity of using a follower-centred approach to study leadership.


Chinese immigrant professional Implicit leadership theories Acculturation 



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Business and LawHigher Education Division CQUniversity AustraliaMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Swinburne Business SchoolSwinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Department of ManagementMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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