A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE LEADERSHIP STYLE OF EXPATRIATE AND NIGERIAN MANAGERS A CASE STUDY OF OIL COMPANIES IN NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

1.1   Background of the Study

Leadership is an art. It is a secular subject which is necessary for both expatriate and Nigerian managers to understand. Without the knowledge and skills of leadership your company organization is going nowhere.

Whenever there is a good leader, you will notice a great deal of development and you will notice prosperity. The absence of leadership can be seen clearly in the two worlds. You will notice the absence of leaders in the spiritual or church world. When there is lack of good leadership in the organization or secular world, you will notice poverty, lack of development of the organization, lack of knowledge coming due to none teaching from those expected to impact the knowledge.

Directing the human resources of an organization to achieve organizational goals could be the most difficult functions of management. In big organizations like Shell and Elf, different people from all walk of life come together to make use of the physical resources to achieve the companies plans. The fact that no two human beings are the same makes leadership functions very complex.

The leader as a human being comes into the organization with a different aspiration, temperament and intellectuality. The way he plays his role determines how other people perceive him. Leadership has been subjected to many definitions. This means that there is no general opinion regarding how the term “leadership” should be defined. This lack of opinion is not really, an outcome of lack of assets.

Many years of studies and researches have led to series of theories and models. Supporting this, Nwachukwu (1998) states that “many studies have been built-up creating more confusions”. He also cited another scholar who shares the same view with McCall, Jr., who states that “the growing mountain of research data has produced an impressive mass of contradiction”.

There are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are researchers who have studies the topic (and over 3000 empirical studies of leadership have been carried out)” cited in Feldman and Aronold (1983). Wexley and Yukl (1980) equally hold that,

“During the last few decades, hundreds of laboratories and field studies have been conducted to learn about the nature of leadership in organization. Most of the early studies of leadership were attempts to identify unique traits that are characteristic of successful leaders but not unsuccessful leaders or non-leaders”.

 

However, Nwachukwu in his book defines leadership as “a social influencing process for attainment of goals”. He cited other scholars-Alam and Robert who defined leadership as a process where one person (or group of persons) exert(s) social influence over the members of a group. Elaborating on this, he states further that “a leader is the most influential person in an organization who provides direction, guides group activities and ensures that group objectives are attained”. A good leader, therefore, should be able to persuade others to move willingly and interestingly towards the achievement of group goals or objectives.

Bernard (1983) cited in Adag and Brief (1981) defined leadership “as the ability of one person to influence the behavior of another”. It is, therefore noteworthy to mention that the concept of leadership involves the concept of influence that induces any attempt directed at influencing the behavior of others for goals that may or may not coincide with those of the organization.

This led us to realize that in any typical organization, leadership exists in two forms-formal and informal. Somebody who is elected, appointed or nominated to a position of authority is said to exercise formal leadership. While informal leadership is exerted by a person who emerges as influential over others as a result of possessing special skills of resources which others do not have.

The influence a leader has helps him in obtaining and maintaining a high level of employee-test motivation and willingness to implement decisions. In addition to inducing subordinates, leaders in organizations usually perform very many other important functions. Such functions as ensuring the efficient organization of the group to perform its tasks in the most desirable way, ensuring that workers receive essential instruction and information, proper and immediate conflict management among subordinates, and maintenance of group cohesion and team work.

Leadership style indicates the pattern of leadership behaviour that characterizes a certain leader. Rue and Byers (1983) comment that studies conducted in the 1970’s by Kurt Levin, Ronald Hippit, and Ralph K White concentrated on the manner or style of leadership, these studies identified three basic leadership styles, autocratic, Laissez-faire and democratic”. Generally, the democratic leader guides and encourages the group to make and participate in making decision. A lassiez-faire leader allows individuals to make all decisions. And an autocratic leader makes all decisions for the group. The choice of a leadership style can be said to be determined by many factors which are leader’s motivational structure, that is, whether he or she is primarily motivated by talk accomplishment, by good inter-personal relationship, or cultural and educational orientation.

Then it is against this background described that the researcher wants to write to write on leadership styles of expatriate and Nigerian managers, a case study of two companies in Nigeria.

 

1.2   Statement of the Problem

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