Leadership style among expatriate and Nigerian managers
The study investigated the practice of leadership style among expatriate and Nigerian managers comparatively from the oil sector in Nigeria. The sample size for this work was 199 respondents randomly selected. Questionnaires prepared in three sets were administered. The first set administered to all the selected respondents irrespective of their levels of education and management hierarchy. The second set was directed to managers at middle level, while the third set was administered to highly educated managers, so to say. There were three research questions and three hypotheses in this research work. Z-test and chi-square were the statistical tools used in analyzing the research questions and the hypotheses. The result showed that there is significant difference between the proportion of expatriate managers who practice autocratic leadership style and the proportion of Nigerian managers who practice autocratic leadership styles. It also showed that middle level-expatriate managers are less autocratic than their Nigerian counterparts. That, there is no significant difference between the proportion of highly educated Nigerian managers who practice democratic leadership style. The major determinant of these significant differences could be seen to be cultural variable. Lastly, education seemed to be the dictator of the lack of significant difference between the proportion of highly educated Nigerian and expatriate managers that practice democratic leadership style. Based on the above findings, some recommendations were made and the work has implications for both expatriate managers and their Nigeria counterparts and suggestion for further studies were made.
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
Tuckman (1998) emphasized that the problem of the study should be stated clearly and unambiguously usually in a question form. So, the researcher while handling the topic which is the comparative study of the practice of leadership styles of expatriate and Nigerian managers to be the following problems:
- If there is any significant difference in the practice of leadership between the expatriates and Nigerian managers?
- If there is difference between the percentage of educated Nigerian managers and percentage of educated expatriate managers who practice democratic leadership?
- If there is, is the difference significant?
- Are middle level expatriate managers more autocratic than their Nigerian counterparts?
1.3 The Objective of the Study
- To investigate comparatively, the practice of leadership styles among expatriates and Nigerian managers.
- To determine whether there is no significant difference between the percentage of educated Nigerian managers and the percentage of educated expatriate managers who practice democratic leadership style.
- To determine whether the middle expatriate managers are more autocratic than their indigenous counterparts.
1.4 Research Questions
The research questions needed to be answered in this research so as to give the study necessary focus are as follows:
- That any significant difference exists between the practice of leadership among expatriates and Nigerian managers.
- That any difference between the percentage of educated Nigerian managers and the percentage of educated expatriate managers who practice democratic leadership style.
- That there are middle level expatriate managers more autocratic than their Nigerian counterparts.
1.5 The Hypotheses of the Study
The following null hypotheses are formulated to guide this study.
- There is no significant difference in the practice of leadership between expatriate and Nigerian managers.
- There is no significant difference between the educated Nigerian managers who practice democratic leadership style and the percentage of educated expatriate managers, who practice democratic leadership style:
- Middle level expatriate managers are more autocratic than their indigenous Nigerian counterparts.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be useful to both private and public organizations in the oil sector of the economy. The study will also be useful to students of management and those who provide information in organization like Shell and Agip Companies, in making sound policy decisions.
1.7.1 Scope of the Study and
1.7.2 Limitation of the Study
This study is aimed at investigating the practice of leadership styles among expatriates and Nigeria managers in selected oil companies like Shell and Elf.
A major area of limitation was the attitude of respondents, most of which were non-chalant, non co-co-operative, and ignorant about the subject oft the study.
Finally, this study was also constrained in terms of time, money and logistics, and of which none came cheap.
1.9 Definition of Terms
For the purpose of ensuring a better understating of the study, a clarification of some terms used in the study is provided as follows:
- Autocratic Leadership: Leadership approach that is practiced by any leader who makes most of all the decision for a group and has little concern for the human relationship of his employees. The leader’s concern is only with task at hand, high task, one person oriented leader.
- Democratic Leadership: Leadership approach in which the leader guides and encourages individuals within the group to make decisions. The leaders concern is not only with task at hand, but also with employees welfare, high-task, high person-oriented.
- Expatriates: Any person who is of foreign origin irrespective of nationality.
- Higher Education: The level of education in which one earns a first degree certificate and above.
- Influence: The ability of a person to alter the behaviour of another person.
- Laissez-Faire Leadership: Leadership approach in which the leader allows the organization to make all decisions. The leader is low-tasked and low person-oriented