African business leadership: Perspectives from aspiring young leaders

SA Journal of Human Resource Management


 
 
Field Value
 
Title African business leadership: Perspectives from aspiring young leaders
 
Creator Lerutla, Matete Steyn, Renier
 
Subject Leadership; organisational development, human resource management leadership; African; business; definition; conceptualisation; inter-relational plots
Description Orientation: Although a lot is written about leadership in Africa, little empirical research has been conducted and published in prominent academic journals, which comprehensively and specifically define the concept of African business leadership.Research purpose: The goal of the research study was to define the African business leadership comprehensively, tapping into the views of young leaders and making a contribution to the discourse and literature on leadership in Africa.Motivation for the study: Whilst business leadership practices are deemed to be universal by some, others argue that the matter is geographically specific. The latter view is supported by those interested in decolonisation and Africanisation. Although politically inspired and philosophically embedded definitions of African leadership are readily available, definitions stemming from empirical processes seem to be absent.Research approach, design and method: This research focuses on the sub-Saharan region, which accounts for the greater part of the African continent. A total of 121 adult students, representing 14 sub-Saharan countries, participated in this study. The participants were part of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a leadership development programme facilitated by the University of South Africa. A cross sectional survey design was used, as part of which open-ended questions were posed to the young leaders. Summative content analysis (Cohort 1) was uses to identify elements central to African leadership, and directed content analysis was then framed based on inter-relational plots, which include all these identified themes.Method: A cross-sectional survey design was used, as part of which open-ended questions were posed to the young leaders. Summative content analysis (Cohort 1) was used to identify elements central to African business leadership, and directed content analysis (Cohort 2) was applied to verify the themes. A definition of African business leadership was then framed based on inter-relational plots, which include all these identified themes.Main findings: Eight elements typical of African business leadership were identified and, following an analysis of inter-relational plots, a definition incorporating the participants’ inputs was crafted. African business leadership is seen as unique to leaders on the continent (Afrocentric), as an act of service to the community (Ubuntu), operating in challenging and resource-deprived environments (because of the legacy of colonialism) and providing hope for creating a better future. African business leadership is further seen as being dominated by those in positions of (political) authority, who engage in entrepreneurial activities, and yet as still requiring development because many leaders are corrupt (brokenness), which seems to be legitimised by post-colonial sentiments (Afro-centric).Contribution: The research study presents a multidimensional perspective on defining African business leadership, reiterating the admirable community orientation, but also the skill gaps, and therefore, the need for improvement.Practical Implications: The definition crafted from the research study provides a compelling conceptualisation of a phenomenon that is often described from only a philosophical or political perspective. This empirical research study contributes to the leadership debate by providing a multidimensional and comprehensive definition of African business leadership, incorporating both the positive and negative elements.
 
Publisher AOSIS
 
Contributor
Date 2021-05-31
 
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Survey
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1467
 
Source SA Journal of Human Resource Management; Vol 19 (2021); 9 pages 2071-078X 1683-7584
 
Language eng
 
Relation https://sajhrm.co.za/index.php/sajhrm/article/view/1467/2521 https://sajhrm.co.za/index.php/sajhrm/article/view/1467/2523 https://sajhrm.co.za/index.php/sajhrm/article/view/1467/2524 https://sajhrm.co.za/index.php/sajhrm/article/view/1467/2525
 
Coverage — — —
Rights Copyright (c) 2021 Matete Lerutla, Prof Renier Steyn https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0