International Journal of Entrepreneurship (Print ISSN: 1099-9264; Online ISSN: 1939-4675)

Abstract

Critical Socio-Cultural Factors Affecting Performance of Women in Leadership Positions in Quasi-Government Organizations in Zimbabwe

Author(s): Joshua Tapiwa Mauchi, Lawrence Mpele Lekhanya, Nirmala Dorasamy

Some culturally constructed barriers exist that contribute to preventing women from climbing the organizational ladder, with specific socio-cultural factors that give rise to a leadership gap between women and men. This defines the study purpose, which was to examine the socio-cultural factors that impact women”s performance in management/leadership positions in state owned enterprises, generally referred to as “quasi government organizations” in Zimbabwe. The study resulted from the fact of female under-representation in management/leadership of “quasi-government” organizations such as the education departments, health departments, parastatals and local authorities, where there are fewer women than men, in terms of employment. In order to achieve the main purpose of the study, a mixed method research was used to collect primary data, in conjunction with a concurrent triangulation design, while the measurement instrument for data collection consisted of a questionnaire and interviews. The sample chosen comprised a size of 302 participants, achieved by means of stratified random and purposive sampling. Both quantitative and qualitative data analysis were employed in order to reflect on the study findings. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and SPSS version 25.0 and the analysis of qualitative data used thematic analysis. The study findings show women in “quasi-government” organizations are influenced by socio-cultural factors, with a positive correlation between family life, education, religion, and societal values, as well as cultural values, male attitudes, balancing work & family roles, and women”s performance. Furthermore, the analysis of data evidenced that the performance of women in “quasi-government” organizations in leadership roles in Zimbabwe is partly due to some culturally constructed barriers that prevent women from reaching management levels higher up on the organizational ladder. These barriers include cultural beliefs, values and attitudes of men towards women, in addition to religion and balancing work and family life. Overall, the study concludes there is a leadership gap between women and men in “quasi-government” organizations in Zimbabwe, even as society and cultural values discourage women to occupy top management/leadership positions, regardless of their qualifications and leadership qualities