Africa and the Middle East

Leadership Development in Ghana: A New Look at an Old Concept

Emmanuel Osafo and Robert M. Yawson


We all might have been asked the question “are leaders born or made?” This question might have led to a healthy debate in a conversation or some academic discourse. However, to most traditional leadership systems where leadership is by kin selection, the forthright belief is leaders are born. Thus, an individual should share blood relations with a particular lineage to increase their chances of becoming a leader. It should, however, be noted that even in the most extreme cases where people are born to inherit from their predecessors, some form of development is required for them to be effective in their leadership roles. Leadership development is, therefore, germane to every kind of leadership.

Leadership development in Ghana is a complex and important practice and can be discussed under many topical areas. However, in this chapter, we focus on popular models such as traditional leadership development and leadership development through education, among others, to

E. Osafo (*)

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA R.M. Yawson

Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT, USA © The Author(s) 2017

A. Ardichvili, K. Dirani (eds.), Leadership Development in Emerging Market Economies, DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-58003-0_12

guide our overall discussion of leadership development in Ghana. There is a dearth of literature on leadership development in Ghana. The existing empirical work on leadership development in Africa is premised on a desire to provide Western expatriates with a better understanding of how to do business in Africa. There is the need for empirical work that will provide a better understanding of traditional leadership development in various African countries and communities to help assist employees, organizations, and communities appreciate, develop, and enhance their leadership development approaches (Bolden & Kirk, 2009). We proceed by providing a brief description of Ghana and some of the traditional systems that influence leadership development. The proceeding sections will discuss various models of leadership and leadership development, including traditional and political leadership, leadership development through education and religious institutions, and contemporary views on leadership development in the country. The chapter will end with a comparison of the strengths, challenges, and commonalities among the models, and a conclusion.

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