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Evolving Role and Nature of Workplace Leaders and Diversity: A Theoretical and Empirical Approach


  • Jan C. Visagie

    (School for Human Resource Sciences, North-West University, South Africa)

  • Herman Linde

    (School for Human Resource Sciences, North-West University, South Africa)


Blumer (1962) regarded the ‘many possibilities of uncertainty as inherent to the process of joint action.’ Joint action reflects the efforts of participants to work out the line of action in light of what they observe each other doing. Leadership appears to be approached from two fundamental perspectives: an organisational perspective (the influence that is exercised to change the direction of the organisation), and an individual task perspective (the influence that is directed at changing the work behaviour of an individual). In this article, it is suggested that the symbolic interaction of perspective integrates the two fundamental perspectives in that both perspectives require meaningful, reflexive integration and meaning, group membership, organisational role and experience. The evolving role of leaders to attract, retain and connect with a diverse workforce in a changing environment gives rise to interactive leadership competency requirements. This article suggests that managing diversity requires business leaders to adopt an approach to diversity management that is sensitive not only to race and ethnic differences, but also to the background and values of all individuals at work. The empirical study was done and four hundred and forty (440) leadership styles were measured in eleven (11) organisations. The study used the Hall and Hawker (1988) inventory leadership styles and a diversity questionnaire to measure diversity management experience.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan C. Visagie & Herman Linde, 2010. "Evolving Role and Nature of Workplace Leaders and Diversity: A Theoretical and Empirical Approach," Managing Global Transitions, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 8(4), pages 381-403.
  • Handle: RePEc:mgt:youmgt:v:8:y:2010:i:4:p:381-403

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    More about this item


    discrimination; diversity management; engaging leadership style; experience; heroic leadership style; management; transformational leadership;

    JEL classification:

    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence


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