African Power Distance33

The GLOBE project includes six African countries in the study: Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This represents a reasonable sample of countries with at least one country from each of the following sectors: North Africa, West Africa, East Africa and South Africa. These countries represent about 26 per cent of the population of Africa.34

Average power distance scores of these six countries is 5.4. This falls in the highest group of power distance countries in the GLOBE study, which includes countries with scores ranging from 5.3 to 5.8. Morocco and Nigeria have the two highest scores, both with scores of 5.8. Relative to other countries around the world, Africa has some of the highest power distance values. The only country not in the upper group is South Africa. South Africa has an average score of 4.6.

Leveraging Higher Power Distance

Hofstede35 indicates, on the one hand, that higher power distance societies are generally more lenient toward misbehaviour such as lying and accepting bribes; generally, abuse of power can go unchecked. On the other hand, high power distance cultures can be more influenced by rules and formal authority.36 In other words, whether for good or for bad, leaders in high power distance cultures can more readily influence their society because these societies are more responsive to leadership influence. Based on Africa’s higher power distance values, African leaders can more readily influence their society. As such, African leaders choosing to be ethical role models can have a significant influence on stemming African corruption.

 
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