Toward Effective Cross-Cultural Leadership Practices for Korean Missionaries in International Missions


Joohee Lee

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The purpose of this study is to help Korean missionaries to be integrated into the international missions and practice their leadership more effectively in the multicultural context. This research examined how the cultural values of Korean missionaries in international organizations affected their integration and leadership practices in the multicultural context. I conducted focus group interviews, surveys and in-depth interviews in order to assist in extracting the data for this investigation.

The cultural values of the Korean missionaries had affected them in their integration into international organizations both positively and negatively. Koreans who integrated well in international missions have found it necessary to adapt to the international organization’s culture and system, and have modified or changed some of their own values in order to practice effective leadership. Through this process, they improved their flexibility to change their leadership styles to serve people in multicultural teams.

However, this process of adapting to the current styles of international missions must be pushed further. Many of them are still struggling with some international cultures and passively involved in leadership practices in the organizations. They adapted to international organizations, but their integration levels are still low. Assimilation and passive participation is comfortable; however, it limits the leaders’ capacity to practice their leadership effectively.

At the same time, Korean leaders recognize that they have cultural values that are useful and that could be shared with their colleagues from other cultures. These cultural traits have to be expressed in words and behaviors in ways that make those values helpful rather than being misunderstood. However, some Korean leaders are actively involved in their leadership roles and contributing their own values to their organizations. They have gone beyond just assimilating and have integrated into international organizations with their cultural values to practice effective leadership. As more Korean leaders grow and integrate more effectively, they will be able to contribute to the organizations and enable them to have a more diverse and flourishing community that would reflect the Kingdom of God (Revelation 7:9).

Mentor: Weaver, Alan R. Ph.D.

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Doctor of Missiology

First Advisor

Weaver, Alan R.

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Missions, Korean; Missionaries; Assimilation (Sociology); Acculturation; Ethnic relations


Missions and World Christianity


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