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Palgrave Macmillan

How Asian Women Lead

Lessons for Global Corporations

ISBN 9781137378712
Publication Date January 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

There is no doubt the next decade of economic growth will focus heavily on Asia. As global corporations spread across Asia to establish positions and market share, they frequently ignore organizational and human capital challenges. Their system for leadership selection has allowed for a very small percentage of women in decision-making roles, illustrating how their processes are out of date, carry a Western lens, and are ill-suited for Asian markets.

How Asian Women Lead provides a vastly different picture than Western-focused leadership literature, highlighting obstacles Asian women face reaching the top, and looking beneath the corporate surface to show cultural and family perspectives. Through her research and the stories of four uniquely different women leaders from varying Asian economies and industries, Horan offers a new perspective to help business leaders and human capital professionals understand leadership diversity, build inclusive and engaged organizations, and sustain success.

Jane Horan - Over 20 years work experience in Asia for Fortune 500 firms, as the head of organisational development sitting on the other side of leadership selection, she watched talented women get passed over for prominent roles, and wondered 'how can that be?' From a base in Singapore, Jane provides strategic consulting to Credit Suisse, UBS, Barclays, Societe Generale, Jones Lang LaSalle, Unilever, Covidien, Bayer, Microsoft, VMWare, HP, McDonald's, British Petroleum and others on ''how to build'' an inclusive work environment to achieve gender balance as well as measureable engagement.
Jane is a sought after internationally recognized speaker and well-known advocate for women in the workforce. She has been a keynote speaker for ANZ Bank, Westpac Bank, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Nomura, South China Morning Post, The American Chambers of Commerce in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, Singapore Council of Women's Organisation (SCWO), Sustaining Women in Business (SWB), Women in Leadership, Women Media Networks, Financial Women's Association, and Women International Network (WIN). A published author, a cross cultural leadership expert she is often referenced by industry leaders. She writes a blog on women leadership, career transitions, unconscious bias, and workplace politics.

Prologue: Setting the Stage for this Book
1. A Road Map for the Book
2. Akiko Ito's Story: Life is a Game
3. Faria Ali's Story: Live Well, Love Well
4. Judy Lee's Story: Out of Asia and into Africa
5. Sara Chin's Story: The Accidental Leader
6. A Corporate Fable
7. Unconscious Bias Unconvered
8. Leadership Review
9. Multicultural Mishaps
10. Conclusion: A Roadmap for the Future-
What Do We Know?


"This book is indispensable not only for Asian women but for anyone seeking to lead a diverse team. By examining both the constraints and strengths of women embedded in a profoundly collaborative tradition, Jane Horan shows why authentic transformation in a time of demographic change must always be rooted in an understanding of culture." - Sally Helgesen, Author, The Female Vision, The Web of Inclusion, The Female Advantage, Thriving in 24/7
"A must read for policy-makers, businesses, educators and women who are interested in ensuring women in Asia achieve their full potential in the workplace and beyond." - Su-Mei Thompson, CEO, The Women's Foundation
"An eye-opening look into the Asia-specific context that companies and managers will want to be fluent in as they work to gender balance their organisations." - Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, CEO, 20-first
"A thoughtful and thought-provoking examination of bias and leadership. This is a timely book and Jane has an extraordinary ability to reflect and learn through her own research in order to share authentic insights with the reader." - Sung Hae Kim, Ed.D.
"Jane Horan presents a vivid glimpse of the lives and careers of female leaders in Asia. Through interviews with four women, she uncovered the 'poignant childhood events, political unrest, incurable disease, and tragedies' that made these women leaders different from their counterparts in other places in the world. The detailed descriptions make reading feel like listening to Jane telling the stories. Anyone who is interested in female leadership in Asia should listen to Jane's stories." - Pingping Fu, Associate Professor, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
"Jane Horan has captured the essence of 21st century leadership in her identification of the themes of spirit, authenticity, and relational networks as essential for success. How Asian Women Lead provides needed cross-cultural and feminine perspectives on what leaders - male and female; Asian or other - need to understand to be effective in the current and future milieu." - Kathy D. Geller, Assistant Clinical Professor, Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership and Management, Drexel University, USA
"How Asian Women Lead isn't your regular business book with charts, templates, checklists and 'how tos' . . . It weaves together academic insights from sociology, cultural and gender studies with perspectives culled from ethnographic interviews conducted by the author . . . Through embedding key lessons in the form of vivid and memorable stories, the book conveyed a heightened realism to the professional and personal obstacles faced by [women leaders in Asia]." - Cooler Insights
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