The performance of multicultural teams depends, to a great extent, on the effectiveness of their leaders. Transformational leadership is thought to be effective across organizational contexts and national cultures; yet we know little about what shapes these leadership behaviors. This study argues that leaders' social identity configurations influence their transformational leadership behaviors and leadership effectiveness in multicultural settings. Building upon the global acculturation model, we test the effects of four identity configurations, based on the relative strength and balance of identification with the global and local cultures. We suggest that multicultural team leaders with balanced identity configurations, either glocal (high global, high local) or marginal (low global, low local), demonstrate more transformational leadership and consequently are more effective than leaders with unbalanced (dominant global or dominant local) configurations. Data were collected from 298 MBA students who worked on a four-week project in 77 multicultural teams. We used polynomial regression to capture how the discrepancy between the global and local components of leaders' identity configurations affects transformational leadership behaviors and effectiveness. The results generally support the theoretical model, showing that the most transformational and effective leaders are those with balanced identity configurations. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.
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© 2021 Lisak, Harush. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.