Original Research - Special Collection: Leadership in Emerging Economies

Responsible leadership, an Afrocentric viewpoint: Leadership as a collective effort

Joyce Toendepi, Khanyisile Cele
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 55, No 1 | a4337 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v55i1.4337 | © 2024 Joyce Toendepi, Khanyisile Cele | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 October 2023 | Published: 05 July 2024

About the author(s)

Joyce Toendepi, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Khanyisile Cele, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Purpose: Leadership in Africa faces numerous challenges, from famine and inequality to political instability and conflict. To overcome these obstacles, a new generation of leaders who are responsible and dedicated to upholding African traditions and values is needed. The Afrocentric perspective upholds self-versus being a community or team or group member within a leadership process; hence, ‘I am because you are’ and ‘one finger cannot pick grain’. This article argues that humanistic, relational and constructionist leadership theories assist in understanding responsible leadership from its Afrocentric perspective. The study aimed to position the Afrocentric perspective of responsible leadership that emphasises spirituality, connectedness, collective wisdom and consciousness.

Design/methodology/approach: The study involved 10 executives from the public sector who have led core administration departments and entities for at least 4 years.

Findings/results: The Afrocentric perspective on responsible leadership places significant value on interactively considering followers’ viewpoints. This approach emphasises humanism as an integral part of the leadership process, which requires spirituality, collective consciousness, a shared vision, collaborative partnerships and respect for the dignity of others as essential aspects of being a responsible leader.

Practical implications: A sense of self is essential to any effort to add value to the community. When one person succeeds, it is a victory for the entire team. Afrocentric responsible leadership emphasises humanism, embedding spirituality, connectedness, collective wisdom and consciousness.

Originality/value: The Afrocentric view of leadership sees leaders and followers as a collective, promoting a sense of connectedness using collective wisdom and consciousness.


Keywords

leadership; responsible leadership; Afrocentric perspective; Afrocentricity; Ubuntu; collective consciousness

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

Metrics

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