Context for Cultural Leadership

Globalisation, technological change and organisational development are shaping also leadership. However, the term globalisation has been used in a multiplicity of senses, in its most general sense, globalisation refers to the growing interdependency and interpenetration of economic processes on a worldwide scale (Schienstock, 2001). The most important aspects of economic globalisation are:

  • the breaking down of national economic barriers,
  • the international spread of trade, technology, financial and production activities, services and
  • the growing power of transnational corporations and international financial institutions in these processes (Khor, 2001).

It should be noted that although many see it as a primarily economic phenomenon, sociologists have called the attention to the cultural, reflexive and aesthetic aspects of globalization as well (Guillen, 2001).

Manuel Castells

Sociologist Manuel Castells defines the global economy as "an economy with the capacity to work as a unit in real time on a planetary scale" (Castells, 1996, p.92) and adds that although globalisation is multidimensional, it can be better understood starting with its economic dimension (Castells, 1998). Mauro Guillen has given a good overview about multiple issues relating to globalisation (Guillen, 2001).

In the past two to three decades, globalisation has accelerated because of various factors and technological change particularly is playing a vital role in the globalisation process. Through their effects on production methods, consumption patterns and the structure of economies, information and communication technologies (ICTs) are a key factor in the transition to the knowledge-based economy (OECD/ Statistics Canada, 2000).

Source for photo:


Sirje Virkus, Tallinn University, 2009