Academy of Strategic Management Journal (Print ISSN: 1544-1458; Online ISSN: 1939-6104)

Research Article: 2021 Vol: 20 Issue: 5

Do State-Owned Enterprise Leaders Have the Desired Qualities to Lead in a Covid-19 Triggered VUCA Environment: A Case Study of Eskom South Africa

Pramjeeth. S, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Mutambara. E, Academic University of KwaZulu-Natal


Managing and leading through a crisis and volatile environment requires a very different and unique leadership quality. Limited scholarly work exists on leadership at state-owned enterprises (SoEs) in South Africa and leadership qualities for successfully leading in a volatile environment during a black swan event, like the Covid-19 pandemic. This research seeks to determine if the leadership qualities perceived to be important and possessed by the leaders at Eskom align with the leadership qualities required for a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment. Using a mixed-methods research design, the study surveyed a total of 65 senior managers and 45 employees at Eskom, an SoE in South Africa that generates and supplies electricity, using an online survey platform. The study found that the leadership qualities identified by senior managers at Eskom aligned to the qualities for a volatile environment; however, the top five qualities that managers perceived as most important do not align fully to the leadership qualities found to be successful in leading through the pandemic while the employees views and the content analysis results indicate otherwise.

Keywords: Coronavirus, Covid-19, Employees, Eskom, Leadership, Qualities, Senior Managers, South Africa, VUCA.

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