The feasibility of transformational leadership training and development in South Africa

Du Rand, Jean (2001-03)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The 1990s were characterised by a process of rapid political change in South Africa, which resulted in a period of transition in the economic and social spheres of this society. South Africans need to adapt to the shift in political leadership as well the rapid rate of technological innovation globally. Leadership theory has evolved from more traditional approaches such as the trait approach and behavioural approach to more recent theories such as situational leadership theories, leader-follower exchange theories and leadership decision-making theories. The recent trends in the field of Industrial Psychology lead to a more comprehensive and all-inclusive theory of leadership, namely transformational leadership. South Africa needs transformational leaders to drive and manage the change process. From the literature study it is evident that there is a need for transformational leadership training and development in South Africa. Therefore the main goal of this study was to determine the feasibility of transformational leadership training and development in South Africa. The main problem is divided into four sub-problems. In order to develop South African managers into transformational leaders, it is important that a need for transformational leadership training exists. Therefore the first subproblem is concerned with the need for the development of transformational leadership skills in South African leaders. The data of all South African leaders (7,563 cases) that were rated on Form 5X of the Multi-factor-Leadership Questionnaire (instrument measuring transformational leadership) was obtained from Productivity Development Pty. (Ltd.). This data was generated from March 1995 to June 1999. Firstly, the Ideal Theoretical Leadership Profile is compared to the total South African sample (N=7563). Secondly, leaders who performed effectively in the world of work were extracted from the total South African sample and were compared to the rest of the South African sample. Thus the Ideal Effectiveness Leadership Profile (N=657) is compared to the rest of the South African sample (N=6906). In both instances the profiles of the South African sample resembles the two ideal leadership profiles. The fact that the South African leaders scored well below the norms of the two ideal profiles on transformational leadership dimensions indicates that there is a need for the development of transformational leaders in South Africa. Thirdly, the t-test is utilised in order to compare the total South African sample (N=7,443) to an international sample (N=2080). The South African sample scored significantly higher on transformational leadership scales than their international counterparts. This indicates that South African leaders compare well to international standards regarding transformational leadership Once it was assessed that there is a need for South African leaders to be developed as transformational leaders, it was important to determine whether the Multi-factor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) is a valid instrument for measuring transformational leadership in South Africa. Transformational leadership training and development can not be managed in South Africa unless it can be measured. Therefore the second subproblem was concerned with the construct validity of the MLQ in South Africa. Confirmatory factor analysis was utilised in order to assess the construct validity of the MLQ on 7563 cases. The final first-order analysis indicated that there is not conclusive evidence for the 8-factor structure in the South African context. More comprehensive research is needed in order to prove the validity of the MLQ beyond reasonable doubt in the South African context. After the conclusion was reached that transformational leadership training is needed in South Africa, it was decided to investigate the practical implementation of transformational leadership training in South Africa. In order to investigate the practical implementation of transformational leadership training, high-level managers trained at the Graduate School of Business, University of Stellenbosch (USB) were assessed as a microcosm of the larger South African sample. The USB group (N=120) was compared by means of t-tests to two other groups, namely the rest of the South African sample (N=7443) and an international sample (N=2080). The third sub-problem was thus concerned whether the USB group was a select group. The USB group scored significantly higher on all of the individual transformational factors than the two other groups. The results suggest that the USB is a select group. Once it was concluded that the USB group was a select group, they were tested on Kirkpatrick's reaction level of evaluation in order to determine whether they benefited from the course, although their MLQ scores reflected that they were already acting in a transformational manner. The fourth sub-problem was thus concerned with evaluating the reactions of the USB group towards the Full Range Leadership Programme. Overall the participants (N=46) gave a positive reaction towards the programme. Although the USB group can be classified as a select group, participants believed that the programme was of practical use. This substantiates the argument that there is a need for developing transformational leaders. The results indicate that transformational leadership training and development is feasible in South Africa. Finally, on the basis of the results of this study, conclusions and recommendations are made for future research.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die negentigerjare word gekenmerk deur 'n proses van snelle politieke verandering in die Suid-Afrikaanse samelewing, wat In oorgangsperiode in die ekonomiese en sosiale sektore ingewy het. Dit is noodsaaklik dat Suid-Afrikaners aanpas by die veranderinge in politieke leierskap, asook by tegnologiese vooruitgang. Die leierskapsteorie, wat vroeër bestaan het uit die meer tradisionele benaderings soos die karaktertrek- en die gedragsbenadering, het gestalte gekry in meer onlangse teorieë. Hierdie teorieë sluit in die gebeurlikheids-, leier-volgeling-uitruilings- asook die leierskapsbesluitnemingsbenaderings. Die huidige neiging binne die wêreld van die Bedryfsielkunde is In meer omvattende en alles-inklusiewe benadering ten opsigte van die leierskapsteorie, naamlik transformasieleierskap. Suid-Afrika benodig transformasieleiers om die proses van verandering aan te dryf en te bestuur. Uit die literatuurstudie is dit duidelik dat daar 'n behoefte is aan transformasieleierskap-opleiding en -ontwikkeling in Suid-Afrika. Vervolgens is ~die hoofdoel van hierdie studie om die praktiese uitvoerbaarheid van transformasieleierskap-opleiding en -ontwikkeling in Suid-Afrika te bepaal. Die hoofprobleem word in vier sub-probleme verdeel. Daar word van die standpunt uitgegaan dat dit belangrik is om die transformasieleierskapsvaardighede van Suid-Afrikaanse bestuurders te ontwikkel. Die eerste sub-probleem fokus op die behoefte van Suid-Afrikaanse bestuurders aan opleiding in transformasieleierskap. Die data is ingesamel van alle Suid-Afrikaanse leiers (7,563 proefpersone) wat op die Multi-faktor Leierskapsvraelysvorm 5X (instrument wat transformasieleierskap meet) beoordeel is. Hierdie data is deur Productivity Development (Pty) Ltd beskikbaar gestel, en is vanaf Maart 1995 tot Junie 1999 ingesamel. Eerstens is die Ideale Teoretiese Leierskapsprofiel vergelyk met die leierskapsprofiel van die totale Suid-Afrikaanse steekproef (N=7,563). Tweedens is leiers wat effektief in die praktyk funksioneer, die Ideale Effektiwiteit Leierskapsprofiel (N=657), onttrek van die totale Suid-Afrikaanse steekproef en vergelyk met die res van die Suid-Afrikaanse steekproef (N=6,906). In beide gevalle is daar 'n verwantskap gevind tussen die Suid-Afrikaanse steekproef en die twee ideale leierskapsprofiele. Derdens is daar van 'n t-toets gebruik gemaak om die res van die Suid-Afrikaanse steekproef (N=7,443) met In internasionale steekproef te vergelyk. Die Suid-Afrikaanse steekproef het beduidend hoër tellings as die internasionale steekproef op alle transformasieskale behaal. Hiervolgens voldoen die Suid-Afrikaanse steekproef aan internasionale standaarde ten opsigte van transformasievaardighede. Nadat vasgestel is dat daar 'n behoefte bestaan aan transformasieleierskap-opleiding in Suid-Afrika, is daar ook besluit om die geldigheid van die Multi-faktor Leierskapsvraelys (MLO) onder Suid-Afrikaanse omstandighede te ondersoek. Transformasieleierskapopleiding en -ontwikkeling in Suid-Afrika kan nie bestuur word tensy dit akkuraat gemeet word nie. Daarom fokus die tweede sub-probleem op die konstrukgeldigheid van die MLO onder Suid-Afrikaanse omstandighede. Daar is van bevestigende faktor-ontleding gebruik gemaak om die konstrukgeldigheid van die MLO by 7,563 proefpersone te bepaal. Die 8-faktorpatroon lewer nie voldoende bewys dat die MLO weloor 'n mate van konstrukgeldigheid onder Suid-Afrikaanse omstandighede beskik nie. Nog in-diepte navorsing word benodig om bo redelike twyfel die geldigheid van die MLO onder Suid-Afrikaanse omstandighede te bevestig. Nadat tot die gevolgtrekking gekom is dat daar 'n behoefte aan opleiding in tranformasievaardighede bestaan, is die praktiese implementering van transformasieleierskap-opleiding in Suid-Afrika ondersoek. Vir hierdie doel is hoëvlakbestuurders, wat opgelei is by die Nagraadse Bestuurskool aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch (USB), ondersoek as 'n mikrokosmos van die groter Suid-Afrikaanse steekproef. Die USB-groep (N=120) is deur middel van t-toetse met die res van die Suid-Afrikaanse groep (N=7,443) en 'n internasionale steekproef (N=2,080) vergelyk. By die derde sub-probleem moes bepaal word of die USB-groep 'n uitgelese groep is. Dié groep het beduidend hoër tellings by al die afsonderlike transformasiefaktore as die ander twee groepe behaal. Die gevolgtrekking kan dus gemaak word dat die USB-groep wel uitgelese is. Hierna is die groep gemeet aan Kirkpatrick se reaksievlak. By die vierde sub-probleem is die USB-groep se reaksie ten opsigte van die "Full Range Leadership Programme" geëvalueer. Oor die algemeen het respondente (N=46) 'n positiewe reaksie teenoor die program getoon. Die USB-groep het die program as betekenisvol beskou, en alhoewel hulle 'n geselekteerde groep is, dui dit aan dat daar tog onder hulle 'n behoefte is aan opleiding in transformasievaardighede van Suid- Afrikaanse bestuurders. Die resultate dui aan dat daar onder bestuurslui in die algemeen 'n behoefte aan transformasieleierskap-opleiding en -ontwikkeling in Suid-Afrika is. Ten slotte is gevolgtrekkings en aanbevelings wat op die resultate van die studie gebaseer is, vir toekomstige navorsing gemaak.

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