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Title: Calling for the Singapore business fable : championing an alternative form of leadership.
Authors: Lim, Thomas Kok Kim.
Keywords: DRNTU::Library and information science::Knowledge management
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: Since the sensational success of Who Moved My Cheese? 15 years ago, American business fables have grown to become an integral part of mainstream management literature. It should thus come as no surprise that managers and business leaders are gleaning advice from popular books on how to manage their staff. Unfortunately, no Singapore business fable has yet been written for local managers and business leaders. Meanwhile, worker disengagement has emerged as a distressing problem for the local workforce. Studies conducted have estimated that the phenomenon costs the Singapore economy in excess of S$5 billion annually. Experts have suggested that local managers’ poor communication skills, as well as their reluctance to treat subordinates as partners could be key causes of this problem. In view of this, this dissertation has posited that the coalitional leadership model may be a more suitable model for local managers to emulate, rather than the transformational leadership model that currently dominates Western leadership thinking. This is because the former places emphasis on engagement with subordinates and other stakeholders, and stresses the need to gather support, and collaborate across different departments and levels. Since there are currently no Singapore business fables, this dissertation therefore sought to demonstrate how existing business fables bring out the various aspects of the coalitional leadership model, and assess how thoroughly they do so. As a means of contrast, a number of business fables espousing the transformational leadership model were also studied to see how they exemplify this model. In addition, the discussion further explored how elements of the coalitional leadership model could be incorporated into this set of business fables. A total of 10 business fables were analysed using the grounded theory method. Seven of them championed the coalitional leadership model, while the other three espoused the transformational leadership model. The following key findings were obtained: 1) Almost none of the business fables demonstrated the full range of elements associated with the relevant leadership model, save one. 2) Among the fables supporting the coalitional leadership model, two of the elements that are most difficult to implement – engaging various stakeholders and promoting inter-departmental cooperation – were usually not featured, making them less convincing and effective pedagogically. 3) Contrary to conventional thinking, key elements of the coalitional leadership model can be incorporated into the fables that champion transformational leadership. The fact that they do not do so makes them less persuasive and realistic, their support for transformational leadership notwithstanding. It is hoped that these insights can be taken into account by future writers of the Singapore business fable, so that they can better address the needs of local managers and business leaders. In particular, they are advised to focus on the issue of worker disengagement in the writing of their fables, since the malaise continues to afflict the Singapore workforce with no end in sight.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:WKWSCI Theses

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