Keywords: Leadership, race, gender, culture, Africa, South Africa
INTRODUCTION – SOUTH AFRICA – ROOTS OF DIVERSITY
The advent of democratization has led to an increase in the racial and gender diversity of leadership in the South African workplace. Yet, there is very little empirical research on the leader behaviour preferences of these diverse groups. Leader behaviour preferences across race and gender in South Africa are described, analyzed, and discussed. We begin with a brief overview of South African history followed by a review of current theory and research on culture, leadership, and gender. Finally, methodology, data analysis and results are discussed as well as conclusions concerning leader behaviour preferences among South Africa’s diverse race and gender groups.
SA has a relatively unique history of two powerful, antagonistic colonial rulers operating concurrently, followed by the apartheid governments of independent SA. The history of SA is in large part one of increasing racial divisiveness. Apartheid was based on a system of racial categorization and separation dividing the population into Whites which include Afrikaners and the English, Africans, Asians, and Coloureds (Hart and Padayachee (2000), Martin (2000), Morse and Peele (1974), Schutte (2000), Stone (1995), Thomas and Bendixen (2000), and Vandenbosch (1979). This separation governed every sphere of life from education to employment. Non-white males were relegated to unskilled, menial jobs while White males occupied skilled, professional and managerial positions. This historical racial division was accompanied by patriarchy with women of all races subordinate to males. Women of all races were primarily expected to