Leadership Development for Frontier Societies: Reflections from Kenya

  • Machuma Helen A. Muyia
  • Fredrick Muyia Nafukho
Part of the Palgrave Studies of Internationalization in Emerging Markets book series (PSIEM)


World over, the transfer of Western leadership development theories, knowledge, and practice has led to criticism in recent years. Valid arguments have been advanced regarding the need to develop leaders using indigenous theories of leadership applicable to all organizations and specific to each context. The search for more indigenous leadership development approaches is, however, made more complex in societies in transition with heterogeneous cultural background constantly influenced by outside cultural, political, social, and economic models. In this chapter, we discuss the African ubuntu paradigm of leadership development and practice and use examples and reflections from Kenya to show the relevance of ubuntu, caring leadership, and emotionally intelligent leadership as an effective approach to leadership development for frontier societies.


Emotional Intelligence Nobel Laureate Leadership Development Effective Leadership Leadership Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Afegbua, S. I., & Adejuwon, K. D. (2012). The challenges of leadership and governance in Africa. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 2(9), 141–157.Google Scholar
  2. Bangura, A. K. (2005). Ubuntugogy: As African educational paradigm that transcends pedagogy, andragogy, ergonagy, hentaggy. Journal of Third World Studies, 22(2), 13–53.Google Scholar
  3. Bolden, R., & Kirk, P. (2005). Leadership in Africa: Meanings, impacts, and identities. Paper presented at the 4th International Conference on Leadership Research, “Studying Leadership: Future Agendas”, Lancaster University Management School, December 12–13.Google Scholar
  4. Coetzee, P. H., & Roux, P. J. (1998). The African philosophy reader. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Covey, S. (2004). The 8th habit: From effectiveness to greatness (1st ed.). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  6. Day, C. (2004). The passion of successful leadership. School Leadership and Management, 24(4), 425–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dubrin, J. A. (2007). Leadership: Research, findings, practice, and skills. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.Google Scholar
  8. Eckert, R., & Rweyongoza, S. (2015). Leadership development in Africa: A focus on strengths. Center for Creative Leadership. Retrieved from
  9. Folarin, S. (2013). Africa’s leadership challenges in the 21st century: A Nigerian perspective. African Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 7(1), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Green, M. (2014). Caring leadership in turbulent times: Tackling neoliberal education reform. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  11. Jackson, T. (2002). Management and change in Africa: An international cross-cultural research project. Management and Change in Africa Seminar, Danida/IDA, Copenhagen, 7–8.
  12. Jackson, T. (2004). Management and change in Africa: A cross-cultural perspective. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kenya Human Capital Trends. (2014). Engaging the 21th century workforce. Report. Johannesburg, South Africa, Deloitte.Google Scholar
  14. Malunga, C. (2006). Learning leadership development from African cultures: A personal perspective. International NGO Training and Research Center, Praxis. Note No. 25.Google Scholar
  15. Mandela, N. (1994). Long walk to freedom: The autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Johannesburg: Macdonald Purnell.Google Scholar
  16. Mangaliso, P. M. (2001). Building competitive advantage from Ubuntu: Management lessons from South Africa. Academy of Management Executive, 15(3), 23–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Masango, M. (2002). Leadership in the African context. Verbum Et Ecclesia JRG, 23(3), 707–718.Google Scholar
  18. Mbigi, J., & Maree, J. (1995). Ubuntu: The spirit of African transformation management. Randburg, South Africa: Knowledge Resources.Google Scholar
  19. Mbigi, L. (2005). The spirit of African leadership. Johannesburg: Knowledge Resources.Google Scholar
  20. Muyia, M., & Kacirek, K. (2009). An empirical study of a leadership development training program and its impact on emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) scores. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 11(6), 703–718.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nafukho, F. M. (2006). Ubuntu worldview: A traditional African view of adult learning in the workplace. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 8(3), 408–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nafukho, F. M. (2007). Ubuntuism: An African social philosophy relevant to adult and workplace learning. In K. P. King & V. C. X. Wang (Eds.), Comparative adult education around the globe (pp. 59–67). Hangzhou: Zhejiang University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Nafukho, F. M. (2008). Consensus building, dialogue and spirituality principles of the learning organization paradigm: Implications for Kenya’s public service reform agenda. Journal of Third World Studies, XXV(2), 153–175.Google Scholar
  24. Nafukho, F. M. (2009). Emotional intelligence and performance: A collage of workplace evidence. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 11(6), 671–679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nafukho, F. M., Wawire, N. H. W., & Lam, P. (2011). Management of adult education organizations in Africa. Cape Town: Pearson Education and Hamburg/UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning.Google Scholar
  26. Nelson, B. D., & Low, R. G. (2011). Emotional intelligence: Achieving academic and career excellence. Boston, MA: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  27. Nery-Kjerfve, T., & McLean, G. (2015). The view from the crossroads: Brazilian culture and corporate leadership in the twenty-first century. Human Resource Development International, 18(1), 24–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Neuschel, R. P. (2005). The servant leader: Unleashing the power of your people. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Nussbaum, B. (2003). African culture and ubuntu: Reflections of a South African in America. World Business Academy, 17(1), 1–12.Google Scholar
  30. Nwagbara, U. (2011). Leading a postmodern African organization: Towards a model of prospective commitment. Journal of Economics and Business, 14(2), 75–92.Google Scholar
  31. Pietersen, J. H. (2005). Western humanism, African humanism and work organizations. South African Journal of Industrial Psychology, 31(3), 54–61.Google Scholar
  32. World Bank. (2014). The world bank annual report. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Machuma Helen A. Muyia
    • 1
  • Fredrick Muyia Nafukho
    • 1
  1. 1.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

Personalised recommendations