oa The African Journal of Information and Communication - Leadership for the electronic age : towards a development-oriented, socio-technical ontology of leadership : scene setting

Volume 2013, Issue 13
  • ISSN : 2077-7205
  • E-ISSN: 2077-7213



The idea of an ontology of leadership for the electronic age raises "big questions" from the perspective of leadership as a broad interdisciplinary practice. This article aims to capture the current dilemma in leadership research and practice that Hackman and Wageman (2007) concluded is "curiously unformed". It aims to add a socio-technical voice, rarely heard in a fiercely behavioural school, even where global advances in ICT have tipped the scales towards reifying a more integrative view of leadership. It does not claim to present an integrated theory of leadership; rather, it seeks to elevate the socio-technical school within leadership theory and shift the discourse on leadership to be more inclusive of socio-technical thinking. The concept of "regional ontology", derived from Heidegger, to refer to "as lived" practices and experiences of a particular social group (in this case Africa), is extended to discuss a development-oriented ontology of leadership. This enables us to recognise that effective organisational leadership in Africa and other developing countries should be anchored in local values; encourage netrepreneurship, take into account opportunities afforded by mobile computing platforms and high diffusion of mobile applications; focus on ethical leadership engagement to spur e-particpation and e-democracy; and develop national and regional innovation systems to enable Africa and other developing regions to participate in global knowledge flows.

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