Afghanistan: Leadership Development: A Comparison between Men and Women Managers

Afghanistan: Leadership Development: A Comparison between Men and Women Managers

Noor Ali (Independent Researcher, Afghanistan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8167-5.ch008


This case study investigates the leadership styles of Afghan men and women managers as practiced in Afghanistan, originally prepared as background research to developing their leadership skills in the context of a public sector organization receiving extensive international donor funding. The case includes a detailed study of the barriers that women managers face in Afghanistan. The research revealed that compared with men, Afghan women managers are more balanced in terms of being people-oriented and task-oriented and practice a mix of transformational and transactional leadership styles (rather than mostly transactional). To overcome the existing barriers that prevent Afghan women from reaching senior leadership positions in Afghanistan, the case concludes that Afghan women need more access to higher education and need more training in management skills. Increased awareness of women's leadership talents by men, requiring the need to change male attitudes towards female participation in leadership, may help improve the situation. This process may need greater mobility in workplaces in Afghanistan.
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Case Description

Afghanistan has suffered three decades of war and conflict, with the country’s infrastructure destroyed, the people becoming poorer, and meanwhile most of the educated elite have fled the country. The focus now is for the remaining Afghan men and women to take their part in the development process of their country. It is widely seen – especially by the external aid agencies – that the contribution of Afghan women will have significant value and impact in this process if they are brought into the workforce and their capabilities and skills are well-utilized.

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