Exploring excellence in leadership perceptions amongst South African managers
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We apply the excellence in leadership (EIL) framework (Selvarajah, C. T., P. Duignan, C. Suppiah, T. Lane, and C. Nuttman 1995. “In Search of the ASEAN Leader: An Exploratory Study of the Dimensions that Relate to Excellence in Leadership.” Management International Review 35 (1): 29–44) to surface the implicit views on leadership excellence held by South African managers. Our attempt is informed by an understanding of ubuntu, an African world view that draws attention to the symbiotic relationship between individuals and the community they come from. In what is one of the first efforts to empirically test the influence of ubuntu in the workplace, we hypothesize that ubuntu leads South African managers to value inclusivity and impar-tiality. Further, we posit that managers from the earlier apartheid-era generations, having witnessed all the inequities, would put a greater premium on ubuntu-driven values than will those from the post-apartheid generation. Structural equation modelling of the data obtained through surveying 550 managers from across sectors provided mixed support for our hypotheses. Inclusive communication and impartiality in the workplace were found to be positively associated with excellence-related perceptions. The other findings however raised questions about how ubuntu exerts influence in the workplace. We make a case for more empirical work on ubuntu and discuss the implications of our work for theory and practice as they pertain to manage-rial development.
Shrivastava,S.; Selvarajah,C.; Meyer, D.; & Dorasamy, N. 2014. Exploring excellence in leadership perceptions amongst South African managers. Human Resource Development International, 17(1) : 47-6. DOI: 10.1080/13678868.2013.857510
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