The Followers’ Assessment Of Servant Leadership In Nigeria: An Empirical Examination Of Governor Raji Fashola’s Leadership Style

by John Moyo Ope, Ekundayo

Abstract

This research inquiry, employing a mixed method approach, is empirically looking at leadership from two theoretical perspectives: servant leadership and followership. Most research inquiries about servant leadership and followership are in the western world.

There is seemingly no empirical research study regarding servant leadership and followership conducted in Nigeria; and this is likely to be the first in West Africa addressing employees as followers in the leadership process. Governor Raji Fashola of Lagos State, Nigeria has been making waves locally and internationally as the state is the most influential in Nigeria with a population of 17 million people, playing host to about 60% of the industries and contributing about 25% of Nigeria’s GDP. The Organization Leadership Assessment (OLA) instrument (Laub, 1999) is used in determining the leadership style of Fashola.

In addition, as a first of its kind within the West African context, the employees are classified based on Kelly’s followers’ typology (Kelly, 1992/2008). It is discovered that exemplary followers are in the majority (63.7%) followed by pragmatist followers (25.4%). In all, Fashola’s score on the OLA is 80.3% which is one of the highest in literature (Drury, 2004 and Black, 2010). In using OLA, the strengths of Fashola’s servant leadership approach were in the constructs: providing leadership and building community; the implication of which is democratic or participative leadership in practice.

In addition, it was discovered that servant leadership does not vary with employment level which is in contrast to findings in literature (Laub, 1999 and Horsman, 2001). However, from the qualitative approach, servant leadership practice is found to facilitate employees’ job satisfaction, as discovered in earlier findings in literature (Thompson, 2002; Amadeo, 2008; Hai-Wen, 2008; Drury, 2004 and Black, 2010).

Also, for the first time, it is discovered that servant leadership assessment is related with the age, tenure and location of the followers within an organization.

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