Leadership within a Ghanaian context Local entrepreneurs’ perspective :: Claudia Antwi ::
Objective Present new perspective on and meaning of leadership Provide a different approach to becoming an good leader; the skills a good leader should possess and how (s)he should behave
Methodology Qualitative methods - capture participants’ own perspectives and how they make sense of and add meanings to their lives Micro-storia - focus on people and their incoherent everyday life that are often excluded and neglected by other research methods Secondary research - Extensive research through books, articles, journals and archives of Ghana to acquire knowledge of the culture, politics, economy and history
Study objects Business owners of SME’s => 3-40 employees A mix of age (28-52 yrs), gender, entrepreneurial areas (Grochery, electronics, construction company, retail) Less likely to be biased by existing Western leadership theories
Study context Political freedom in 1957, struggled with malfunctioned political leaders Known for its cocoa, gold, democracy, peacefulness, and being the birthplace of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan 28.5% in 2005/2006 of the Ghanaian population defined as poor (U.S. Department of state, 2008) Diversity: over 36 different tribes; Akan the largest, approx. 60% Christians, approx. 100 ethno-linguistic groups -> subdivided into numerous cultural and linguistic units
continue… Family a primary social unit => values determined by the orientation around the maintenance, continuity and the functioning of the family group Success of Individual member is nothing if not shared with the family The family per-se limits, influences, and in some cases determines the individual’s activities in society Remittance flow important part of the Ghanaian economy and Ghanaian households International remittances to Ghana was $4.25 billion (2007) => largest source of foreign exchange for Ghana (The Bank of Ghana)
Naomi - a local grocery store owner “It takes money to open a business, it takes hard work to get money, if you are lazy then there is no chance of making it. But if you work hard you can have a chance to hold your head above water and make it in the world”.
3 Prominent leadership theories Transactional leadership a system of rewards and punishments to achieve desired performance Transformational leadership shape and share visions which provide direction, meaning, focus and motivation to achieve desired performance Trait approaches inherit qualities and traits that make people better suited to leadership
Limitations Most leadership theories are North American in origin Short-sighted and inappropriate in cultures which differ significantly from the American and European culture Differences in societal and economical conditions a problem when African organizations/businesses are confronted with Western values on what constitutes an effective organization and leadership
Yaw - a local electronic repair shop owner “One thing about Ghanaian leadership is that it depends on how you are as a person...your past experiences, It is sometimes a person’s habit, not what they are born with that determines how they lead”.
Ghanaian context I Societal conditions Organisational practices Collectivistic Particularistic behaviour Meaning through social => kinship ties relationships Organisation an extention of Strong family bonds - extended family extended family People have value in their Obligated to helping the own right not a means to an group which they belong end
Ghanaian context IIEconomical conditions Organisational practices Developing economy Survival Colonial legacy => Flexibility, creativity Poverty Entrepreneurial spirit Low education Hardship/Hardwork “All in the same boat” , “We Democracy are all equal” mentality SME’s Drive to bring forward a Remittance flow creation
Leadership context (Macro) Economical Cultural conditions conditions Social Enviromental conditions conditions Leadership perception
Kojo – Local handcraftshop owner “Listening to advice is important because you learn from other people’s mistakes and successes. It gives a sense of direction in life. Without a direction it’s like a car with no stirring wheel, you sit in it and don’t have any way of getting to the place you want to go. In life you need control like a stirring wheel”.
Leadership context (Micro) Humane/ compassion Hardship/ triumphs Leadership Family Life Experiences
Characteristics I Trait leadership theory Inherent traits personal innate characteristics, leaders are born and not made
Ghanaian locals’ viewpoint No people with unambiguous inborn traits which automatically excel them to good leaders Keyword: Compassionate = encompasses other important qualities such as being an advisor and friendlike These do not come as intrinsic personal traits, but ascends from experience of hardship The compassionate characteristc => acquired through experiencing what other people have gone through Without these experiences of adversity a person will neither be capable of understanding the true essense of people and life nor understand how to deal with people, a leader is therefore not born, but formed over time
Characteristics II Transformational leadership theory A leader, an advisor and motivator for their followers in order to stimulate and inspire followers to achieve outstanding results increasing organisational productivness through “happy” employees, hence people become means to an end in an organization
Ghanaian locals’ viewpoint Keyword: An advisor = somebody who will use their experiences in life to give guidance to help people out of their hardships, this is vital for a good leader or manager This is however not limited to organisations and not a means to achieve a higher organisational performance People have value in their on right and are more than a business and wealth
Characteristics III Transactional leadership theory People motivated by reward and punishment, a transaction The prime purpose of a subordinate is to do what their manager tells them to do
Ghanaian locals’ viewpoint A good leader puts people before a business and uses his/her position of power to better the lives of others A good leader: knowledge gained through life is not meant for him/her alone, but for all who will find use in it It is a leaders duty to embrace this reality and recognize their responsibility first of all as a human being.
Samuel - a local shop owner “You have to be nice to your workers and have a nice relationship with them. There has to be a good foundation for the relationship because the foundation is the seed and it grows from there.”
Key leadership skills in a Ghanaian context Clear Openness Respectful ofHigh morals and Advisor , Peopleoriented Build communi- and honesty Sharing family ties, humane mentor and – people before «Friendlike» cation of – no hidden knowledge values and attitude rolemodel wealth relationships tasks and agendas obligations goals
Behaviour of a good leader in a Ghanaian context Take care of employees’ need Provide guidance and direction Leader regarded as extention of extended family Consider employees personal lives and have understanding of their life situation Practice good values and ethics Open and honest attitude Strong family values and people skills
Master thesis :: 2008Presenting new perspective on leadership