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Gender and Race Differences in Leader Behaviour Preferences in South Africa - page 20 / 35

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The data do not appear to indicate a dominant, pan-cultural managerial leadership behaviour set preferred by workers and managers of the various racial and gender groups in South Africa.  Instead, leader behaviour preferences differ on the bases of gender and race on several of the factors defined by the LBDQ XII. This poses a challenge to definition of dominant management values (if any exist) and practices in South Africa (Anstey, 1997; Beaty and Booysen, 1998; Booysen, 2000), and to those studying leadership in the country.

The results of the present study contradict Booysen’s (1999a, 2001) findings as well of those of Thomas and Bendixen (2001).  Booysen (1999a, 2001) found significant racial differences as well as differences between Black and white women.  While Thomas and Bendixen (2001) found no differences in national culture among race and ethnic groups (including Coloureds) in South Africa. One of the limitations of the present study is the small cell sizes for the Coloured and Asian samples.   This suggests the need for additional research employing larger samples to further test the results of the present research.  Although it should be remember Coloureds and Asians represent a smaller percentage of the South African population compared to Africans and Whites. Nevertheless, the present research indicates a need to tread cautiously between two schools of thought in South African leadership studies.  One school emphasizes a difference model that argues there are distinctive cultural differences in the perceptions and managerial and leader behaviours among race and gender groups (e.g. Booysen, 2001; Khoza, 1994;  Mangaliso, 2001; Mbigi, 1997); while the other school suggests the heavy influence of Western management practices diminishes differences in managerial and leader behaviour (Thomas and Bendixen, 2001).

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