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Unique Cultural Advantage for African Leaders

African leaders have a unique cultural advantage of a high power distance society that can be leveraged to address the corruption challenge. Based on the GLOBE study,27 Africans have some of the highest power distance values in the world. This indicates African leaders can more readily influence the behaviour of their followers.

GLOBE Study: Power Distance Implications28

The GLOBE project coordinated studies in 62 countries to provide a global assessment of societal culture. Of the 62 countries assessed, six were in Africa. The study provides data on nine cultural dimensions. The dimension of interest to this assessment is what GLOBE refers to as power concentration versus decentralization. This cultural dimension is commonly referred to as power distance in other cross-cultural literature and in this chapter. GLOBE defines the power distance dimension, pursuant to Hofstede,29 as “the degree to which members of an organization or society expect and agree that power should be shared unequally”.30 Hofstede indicates higher power distance groups have employees who expect to be told what to do, have authoritative values and are more rule-driven, whereas, lower power distance employees expect to be consulted and prefer consultative leadership. High power distance cultures are more influenced by sanctions and formal authority.31 Pasa32 found that in Turkey, a high power distance society, leaders most commonly achieved compliance from followers without any influencing tactic other than position. In summary, it has been shown that high power distance societies are more readily influenced by formal authority, by leaders.

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