Title page for ETD etd-11082005-083347

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Beukman, Theunis Lodewyk
Email aftrails@iafrica.com
URN etd-11082005-083347
Document Title The effect of selected variables on leadership behaviour within the framework of a transformational organisation paradigm
Degree DCom (Human Resources Management)
Department Human Resource Management
Advisor Name Title
Prof S W Theron Committee Chair
  • leadership
  • organisation paradigm
  • framework
Date 2005-04-23
Availability unrestricted
The analysis of cultural and value-related differences and the development of a workable and effective leadership culture for business in South Africa takes place against the backdrop of a unique socio-political history. Since 1992 the process of political and social transformation that affects all organisations in South Africa, including the public service, is a process of radical change and involves the unification of individuals from many diverse cultures. The public service, directed by the principles of reconciliation, restructuring and development, finds itself within a process of both structural and cultural transformation. The culture change process of the SA Air Force, one of the Arms of Service and the organisation on which this study focussed, involve the transformation of policies, practices and behaviour (especially leadership practices) towards a culture being much more transformational and participative than what it was in the past.

The question under study was whether a transformational leadership approach is suitable for the African social and work environment. South African organisations are still being conceptualised and structured in a largely Western mould. Yet, the appropriateness and application of Western-centric leadership and management theories and philosophies in all other cultures are increasingly being challenged. Through focussing on work-related values and locus of control orientation, the researcher wished to uncover the common ground between eurocentric and indigenous African philosophies, principles and practices (which underlie the SA reality) as part of the challenge to find a workable approach for effective leadership in South Africa. The research investigated the appropriateness of the elements of a transformational leadership approach (as opposed to the task focussed transactional approach) to fit the huge array of cultural identities in the African world of work.

Self-administered questionnaires were used to obtain feedback from 509 respondents, all being leaders at different levels in the organisation. The survey data included preferences on work-related values as expressed by both the Survey of Work Values (Wollack, Goodale, Wijting & Smith, 1971) and the Value Survey Module (Hofstede, 1980), locus of control orientation as expressed by the Internal Control Index (Duttweiler, 1984)) and leadership behaviour as expressed by the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Bass & Avolio, 1997). Statistical methods for data analysis included analysis of variance, discriminant analysis, correlation statistics, non-parametric statistics, multiple regression and descriptive statistics.

The research has shown that the answer for developing a workable, practical approach for effective leadership in Africa is neither singular, nor simplistic. The research findings do not support the argument of building a unique African leadership model which is purely based only on indigenous African values, thereby rejecting all tested and proven western principles and philosophies. The search for a suitable leadership model for a transforming South Africa should not run the risk of only focusing on either African- or Western-specific cultural value systems. Instead, the existence of culture-universal values impacting on effective leadership processes were confirmed. Many of the so-called humanistic African values proposed, are reported not to be truly African, but rather universal in nature. It was also found that many of these culture-universal characteristics could be associated with the principles of transformational leadership. The validity of adopting a transformational leadership culture for the military was also confirmed.

Respondents have shown an awareness of a large power distance and a tendency towards high uncertainty avoidance as well as a strong collectivistic orientation. Support was also found for the fact that business success is not only achieved through masculine influence. In terms of Upward Striving, Pride in Work and Job Involvement as work value dimensions, employees across all culture groups were found to attach a high value to the intrinsic rewards of work in shaping work-related behaviour.

Despite the general tendency towards internality, Africans provided significantly lower scores on internality than all the other population groups. However, the results in this study have firmly rejected the notion that most organisational behaviour theory is limited to only internals. Although internality predicts more natural transformational behaviours, the critical factor remains whether leaders have the ability to ensure the required outcomes of extra effort and follower satisfaction. This can be achieved by both internals and externals.

The research established the fact that, also in the African context, leadership styles differ in terms of follower effectiveness and that higher levels of employee participation and involvement, inspirational motivation and individualised consideration (i.e. transformational behaviours) lead to higher levels of follower performance and effectiveness across all four culture groups.

Copyright 2005, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Beukman, TL 2005, The effect of selected variables on leadership behaviour within the framework of a transformational organisation paradigm, DComm thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-11082005-083347 / >

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