Communication barriers and leadership styles leading millennials on a multicultural organization

  • Marisa Nogueira de Sousa (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Generations are raised in different times and fast changing cultures, communicating and leading with different views. In multicultural organizations, communication barriers can affect greatly how people interact, see each other and ultimately the way they lead may impact performance. The research draws on a selection of literature revealing clues to a better understanding of organizational culture insights, communication barriers and different leadership approaches as well as their characteristics. Further literature highlights several competencies and approaches to ensure a successful performance of teams that are used in the organization used as a base for this study. The empirical study used quantitative research methods through the use of a survey and a qualitative, using a semi-structured approach interview. The survey included the participation of 131 replies and 4 interviews which the objective was to understand the communication barriers among teams and leaders and their preferred leading styles while understanding the impact of the organization culture in a multicultural environment. The findings suggest that leaders and teams in multicultural organizations prefer a coaching and supporting style in detriment of a more delegative and directive style, moreover its relevant to highlight that there was no difference in the preference when analysing leaders and team member. This finding was confirmed by the comments obtained in the interviews. When analysing the communication barriers, the findings suggest that at the participants that had the least experience had more issues with accents while the ones with more experience faced more problems in understanding body language. In the discussion the main results are discussed in a broader perspective. Finally, limitations of the study are given and recommendations for further research and practice are made.
Date of Award3 May 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorFernando Ilharco (Supervisor)


  • Organizational culture
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Performance


  • Mestrado em Ciências da Comunicação

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