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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Classical Grounded Theory Study of How Heads of State in Africa Lead: A New Theory of Political Leadership
by de Vries, Deanne, Ph.D., Eastern University, 2020, 166; 28263907
Abstract (Summary)

This study was part of a broader field of study on political leadership in Africa and builds on existing critiques that there is much more to understand and learn about political leadership in Africa. There are only a handful of political leadership theories based on research conducted solely in Africa most of which were not based on interviews with or personal interactions with Heads of State. My research filled this gap and added to the existing literature by identifying a new political leadership theory grounded in the words of actual Heads of State of countries in Africa.

Face-to-face interviews with Heads of State in Sub-Saharan Africa provided unique insight into their leadership. Per the Classical Grounded Theory methodology, data collection and data analysis began immediately after the first interview from which three core categories emerged that captured the main insights and lessons from the Heads of State and accounted for the most variation in their patterns of leadership: Awareness of requirements of and gravitas of the office; Breadth of knowledge, experience and education; and Clarity of focus and objectives. Comparing and contrasting these to existing political leadership theories and contextualizing it amongst the work of Bourdieu generated the theory, Habitus Leadership: Leading from Life. How the Heads of State led was a result of the lived experiences that began early in life to literally and often subconsciously form and influence their behaviors, worldviews, responses, routines and knowledge. The participants’ formal education, particularly post-secondary degrees, played a key role in differentiating them from others and increasing both their cultural and social capital all of which led to them having an almost natural feel for how to lead as Head of State due to their habitus.

This study has advanced leadership research in four areas: geographically (Africa), type of leader (political), source of participants (Heads of State), and source of material (interviews). In addition, the new political leadership theory has offered an alternative framework to view, assess and discuss political leadership in Africa compared to that of other geographical regions in the world.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ostwald, Connie Harris
Commitee: Mtika, Mike , Fourie, Willem
School: Eastern University
Department: Business
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 82/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African Studies, Political science, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Head of State, Hubris, Political leadership, President
Publication Number: 28263907
ISBN: 9798557092616
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