Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lisa A. Steelman

Second Advisor

Jessica Wildones

Third Advisor

Richard Griffith

Fourth Advisor

Ted Petersen


While global leadership is not very well defined, it is well accepted that working in a global environment is complex and fraught with difficulty. The complexity of the global environment presents unique challenges for global leaders in that, not only must they manage a paradox between different stakeholder groups with competing agendas while maintaining relationships, they must also filter through vast amounts of information from multiple stakeholder groups in order to make effective decisions. This complexity reflects the notion of global mindset. Global mindset is defined as the ability to think and act both locally and globally at the same time. This definition is intended to demonstrate that there is a need to balance creating global consistency which does not allow deviations from a global standard, with a need for differences which are created by local cultural practices and norms.

Thus, leaders need to understand the facts about different countries and cultures, business procedures, and local information about customs and practices, both from a social and business perspective. Very little is known about how global leaders successfully approach and complete this complex cognitive task. Therefore, there is a need for research to identify the underlying cognitive processes that occur while making effective decisions in a global environment. Understanding what underlies global mindset is critical in assisting organizations with the future selection, development and career management of global leaders. The cognitive processes associated with global mindset were explored in a series of two studies; one qualitative and one quantitative. Results suggest that global mindset is triggered by managing paradoxes and involves 3 core components: information management, risk management and relationship management and 3 sub components comprised of intuitive information processing, rational information processing and relationships. Further to this, experience and emotions are part of intuitive information processing, relevant vs irrelevant information, business factors, decision-making options and organizational values are part of rational information processing and information flow and difference are part of relationships.


Copyright held by author.