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Article

Examining leadership preferences of working adults in Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia

Africa Journal of Management. 2021. Vol. 7. No. 3. P. 375-399.
Evans W. R., Littrell R., Lamb N. H., Kirkman B.

Do traditional, gender-based expectations and widely disseminated notions of African culture apply to preferred leadership behaviors in African nations? This study examines leadership preferences of working adults in Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia using the Leader behavior Description Questionnaire-XII (LBDQXII), a theoretical model of explicit leader behavior. Contrary to the premises of Social Role Theory, males and females did not differ significantly in their preferences for the 12 leadership behaviors represented in the LBDQXII. The behaviors of Initiating Structure and Integration were most preferred, and the behaviors of Tolerance of Uncertainty and Tolerance of Freedom were the least preferred. Based on socio-cultural experiences at the nation-level, findings revealed that working adults in Ghana and Zambia have comparable leadership behavior preferences, with similarities found for seven of 12 leadership behaviors. Working adults in Kenya, however, with dissimilar socio-cultural experiences compared to Ghana and Zambia, reported different preferences for 10 of the 12 leadership behaviors. Overall, our findings revealed that popular generalizations that view African nations with singular assumptions are not warranted.