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Gender and Race Differences in Leader Behaviour Preferences in South Africa - page 10 / 35

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Despite this body of research there is very little research on race and gender differences in perceptions of leader behaviour in South Africa.  In one of the few studies of this nature, Booysen (1999a, 2001) examined subculture differences and similarities between South African male and female managers in retail banking.  Booysen (2001) found South African male managers focused on performance, competition and winning, domination, control, and directive leadership.  Males practiced leadership as a number of social transactions.  On the other hand, she found South African female managers emphasized collaboration, participation, intuition, empowerment, and empathy.  She characterized the style of the females in her sample of 216 retail managers as transformational and interactive.   

Booysen (2001) also examined racial differences in the behaviour of the managers in her sample.  She found the culture of White managers was congruent with Western or Eurocentric management, whereas the culture of Black managers differed greatly.   The Black managers in her sample were more Afro-centric in their approach to leadership.  The Afro-centric model is centred in the concept of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is not a leadership style but a philosophy of African humanism, which values collectivism and group-centeredness in contrast to individualism (Khoza, 1994; Booysen, 1999a; Mbigi, 1997).  Booysen (2001) using Hofstede’s national culture model, reported higher scores for Blacks on collectiveness, humane orientation, and gender egalitarianism compared to their White counterparts.  Booysen concluded that Blacks are not as results-driven as Whites. Whites were more bottom-line driven in their cultural orientation while Blacks were more people focused which is consistent with their belief in Ubuntu.  Although she measured leader attributes, she did not report them.

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