Leadership Concepts and the Role of Government in Africa: The Case of Ghana
Dr. Kwaku A. Danso
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Hardcover (248 pages)
The concepts of leadership and the specific role of government leadership in meeting the basic needs of the people seem poorly defined in many areas of African society. Many people in these poor societies seem desperate and anxious for service, contrary to what many external observers may seem to think as a state of contentment. This creates a management dilemma why government fails to deliver despite high expectations of the electorate. The case of Africa was studied using Ghana as an example of such societies where one can observe phenomenon from examples of traditional leadership of chiefs with certain powers but limited responsibilities that may not be clearly defined for modern development of the society. Whiles recognizing traditional leadership, people in these societies find themselves with shifted locus of power and control, owing loyalty and allegiance to some other elected leaders who seem not concerned about the interests of the electorate, even where very high taxes are collected and people have the money to pay for services. The case of Ghana was examined using a qualitative case study. Selected businesspersons were interviewed in the Accra-Tema metropolitan area to examine their experiences, expectations and perceptions of the leadership, using one indicator of business performance: the quality of utility service delivery regarding water, electricity, telephone and garbage. As well known and found by the World Bank and local Private Enterprise Foundation [PEF] and business groups, electricity and telephone services are indispensable elements of any modern business. In the 1990s, the facsimile machine became part of modern business to enhance data delivery in addition to voice transmission, and in 2006 the Internet and electronic mail have become an almost integral part of global business communication for more than ten years. The needs for these business tools become more critical if businesses have to compete at the global level in free-enterprise markets usually imposed by Western donor and lender conditions. Water and garbage service not only affect health in any society, but in Africa poor sewage treatment and open sewage are directly related to mosquito breeding and malaria. Malaria was reported to kill 15,000 children under five years of age and 2,000 pregnant women in 2005, and seem to reduce the average life expectancy of people in some sectors of the nation by more than six years (GhanaHomePage, 2006, May 12). The research study on Ghana by this author showed that inefficient service delivery was found to impact about 90% of businesses in almost all sectors, despite a high [73%] expectation from leadership. Despite the call for overseas investors, first-dial successful completion rate of telephone transmission from California to Ghana was only 4%, most fax machines tried were not functional, and more than 95% of the participant business managers and owners used in the study did not have regular use of the Internet. Fifty-six (56) types of leadership perceptions based on the culture evolved and were grouped into common themes, and compared with a similar study in the United States of America. Cultural factors were explored in order to understand the challenges in Ghana's socio-economic development compared with Euro-American and Asian-Confucian cultures. This book is based on a dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the PhD degree at Capella University's School of Business and Technology [Organization and Management - Leadership Option] in June 2006. I wish to acknowledge the help of Capella University as well as the supervision of Dr. Godwin Igein and Dr. Stephen Tvorik of the School of Business and Technology, and Dr. Kwesi Ngissah of Oakland, California who acted as outside dissertation committee member.