Profit, Corruption, and Red Tape in Doing Business in the Philippines

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Hiring and Profit in the Philippines

Textbooks and courses on business administration, management, and entrepreneurship with their emphasis on attaining business forecast and maximizing profit always imply that productive capital in doing business (such money, stocks, land, equipment, machinery, etc.) is a priority over labor (or workers’ welfare).

The common practice of some businesses is to sacrifice the wage and benefits of workers to lower production cost and thus attain their forecast and earn higher profit levels. This indicates capitalist thinking which gives more importance to productive capital rather than labor. One unfair labor practice that shows this priority of the growth of capital rather than labor is the “casualization” of labor in developing countries like the Philippines.

To lower labor cost in order to increase profit is the hiring of casual workers from agencies with work contracts with less than six months to prevent employees to become regular or permanent under the Philippine Labor Code and thus save money by not spending for their social benefits. This practice indicates that businessmen/women are not really more concerned with the welfare of the workers by providing them permanent jobs and sufficient social benefits in the name of Christian charity and social justice but with the increase of profit or capital for their business.

The hiring of students as casual crew in fast-food chains rather than permanent employees is another example of this “casualization” and prioritization of capital over labor. The hiring of employees in security agencies, janitorial services, and call centers in the Philippines follows this trend of contractualization of labor.

Corruption and Doing Business in the Philippines

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Entrepreneurs who want to earn the profit for their business could be totally faulted if they fail to provide a moral wage which is sufficient to raise a family. From the point of view of business owners and managers, one important reason why they tend to lower the wage of workers in the Philippines is the high cost of doing business in the country. To maintain, expand or to stay profitable in business, entrepreneurs are sometimes pressured to lower the labor cost.

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Corruption is another expense in business. In Transparency International surveys, the Philippines has consistently been listed as among the most corrupt countries in Asia and in the world. Business owners and managers want to recovery the bribes they gave to corrupt government regulators and law enforcers often find ways to reduce production cost. And most often they resort to minimizing the wage and benefits of their employees. The capacity of employers to provide a decent wage to their workers is sometimes conditioned by the overall environment of doing business in a particular country.

Analysis, Magnifying Glass

A World Bank report on the cost of doing business in 2018 revealed that the Philippines is one of the most unattractive destinations of foreign investment in the world because of the delay and high cost of starting and doing business in the country. In general, doing business in the country is tedious, time-consuming, and expensive, making it difficult for employers to be generous to their workers in wage and social benefits.

Red Tape

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Red tape is one major reason why employers incur higher expenses in doing business resulting which can sometimes reduce their capacity to give a higher wage and social benefits to their workers. Research and theory have been inconsistent and ambiguous on the nature of “red tape”. But there is  an understanding that red tape has something to do with excessive or meaningless paperwork  (Bennett & Johnson, 1979); a high degree of formalization and constraint (Hall, 1968); unnecessary rules, procedures and regulations; inefficiency; unjustifiable delays; and as a result from all this, frustration and vexation (Bozeman 1993, p. 273).

Bureaucracy Aktenordner Paperwork Office W

Rosenfeld (1984) defines red tape as the sum of government guidelines, procedures, and forms that are perceived as excessive, unwieldy, or pointless in relation to official decisions and policy (as cited in Bozeman, 1993, p. 276). Theories abound why red tape exists in government regulation. But one popular theory sees the concern of the government to create a system of checks and balances in the regulatory process in order to avoid corruption and deviation from the official law as causing red tape.

Taxes, Tax Evasion, Police, Handcuffs

Red tape is one of the more serious bureaucratic obstacles in addition to legal obstacles in the full legalization of business in the local economy.  With numerous unnecessary paper works, bureaucratic requirements and procedures, and  unexplained delays in securing business registration, licenses and permits as well as  compliance with the yearly requirements and inspections to maintain legality in business,  traders or entrepreneurs increase their cost of maintaining their business which, in turn, can discourage them to improve the wage of their employees. Thus, the Philippines is one most difficult countries to do business in Southeast Asia as well as in the world according to the  World Bank Report on the ease of doing business in the world.

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3 Types of Leadership: What Kind of a Leader are You?

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The German sociologist Max Weber identified three ideal types of leadership in which authority may rest: (1) charismatic, (2) traditional, and (3) rational-legal. In any society or institution, the power of the leader may be exercised on the basis of a mixture of these 3 types of leadership.

  1. Charismatic Leadership

adult-beard-blur-927022

Charismatic Leadership is founded on the personal traits and gifts of the leader. The more  authentic these personal traits are as perceived by the people, the higher is the legitimacy of the leader. People obey the leader, not primarily because of certain laws or traditions, but because of his/her personal talents. Because it is a personalized form of authority, charismatic leadership tends to be unstable. It does not normally survive after the death of the original leader, and it often abandons the leader while he or she is alive. Charismatic leaders in history include  Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, St. Francis of Asisi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, etc.

In  corporate settings, charismatic leaders like Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few, are creative, innovative, and visionary people. They have extraordinary talents that ordinary managers do not possess. They usually introduce innovation, creativity, or unique management style in their business environments.

         2. Traditional authority

pexels-photo-618613.jpeg

Traditional leadership is one that is based on some sort of tradition that is handed down from the past. The leader is obeyed by the people as a legitimate leader because of a formal or informal norm handed down by great leaders or managers from the past. This kind of leadership is based on customs and traditions of the business firms.  The leader is not usually innovative but conservative. He or she is just continuing what is being practiced by the company based on tradition.

      The ordination of a priest by a bishop is an example of traditional authority. The new priest received his power and authority by way of tradition, and people obey him as a legitimate spiritual pastor of the Church. Succession in monarchy is also done through traditional authority. Tradition dictates that only persons with royal blood can ascend to the throne.

           3. Rational-Legal Leadership

pexels-photo-275496.jpeg

         The last type of leadership proposed by Max Weber is the most common type of authority in modern and contemporary society. This leadership is based on a set of rules, and the belief in the legitimacy of the process of rule creation and enforcement. This form of domination is routinized through bureaucracy. The leader assumes the right to exercise power over the people because the law says so.

        The leader’s authority is held by legally established impersonal orders and extends to people only by virtue of the offices they hold. The power of government officials, for instance, is determined by the offices to which they are appointed or elected because of their individual qualifications. As long as individuals hold these offices, they have a certain amount of power. But once they leave office, their rational-legal authority is also lost.  Though personal traits also count in the selection process, a fixed law becomes the primary legitimizer of the leader’s capacity to exercise leadership. His authority expires when he retires or becomes incapacitated as stipulated by law.

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What kind of a leader are you? Which type of leadership do you aim to achieve?

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Christian Leadership as Service

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Christian Leadership as Service

In the early 1970s, Robert Greenleaf proposed the servant leader model in secular business schools. But this concept is not new because the idea of leadership as service is already introduced in the Gospels by our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Jesus submitted his own life to sacrificial service under the will of God (Luke 22:42), and he sacrificed his life freely out of service for others (John 10:30). He came to serve (Matthew 20:28) although he was God’s son and was thus more powerful than any other leader in the world. He healed the sick (Mark 7:31-37), drove out demons (Mark 5:1-20), was recognized as Teacher and Lord (John 13:13), and had power over the wind and the sea and even over death (Mark 4:35-41; Matthew 9:18-26)…In John 13:1-17 Jesus gives a very practical example of what it means to serve others…he washes the feet of his followers, which was properly the responsibility of the house-servant” (christianleadership.org).

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Leadership in the Christian community is different from the corporate community. In business, success in leadership is often measured in terms of achieving targets, goals, profit forecasts, etc. But in Christian standards, success in leadership implies growing intimacy with God,  depth in spirituality and the degree of dying one’s self for others, especially the less fortunate and the poor in the Christian community.

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Exercising Christian leadership in the corporate world may be difficult but attainable as long as managers and employees have strong Christian spirituality and the business organization provides structures to develop the company’s Christian spirituality, especially on work and leadership. This implies establishing common activities in the company which can nurture prayer life in the workplace for workers and managers.

The Christian Servant Leader

Like Christ, a Christian leader does not aim to be served but to serve. In business, it means that Christian managers and business leaders must serve their subordinates–their workers, especially the rank-and-file workers as they are the most vulnerable group in the corporate community. The Church teaches the moral principle of giving preference to the poor or “the preferential option for the poor.”

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In business leadership, being a servant leader implies he or she must prioritize the welfare of the poor or the lowest-ranked employees in the company. They must provide extra care to the workers’ needs such as the giving of a just wage, social benefits, and humane working conditions. This is the Christian servant leader’s higher purpose in the workplace. The leader must not only be concerned with increasing the company’s profit but also improving the workers’ social welfare. A Christian servant leader is a “servant first” in relationship to people and not a “king” to be served by workers and slaves.

  • “There is a big difference between serving the needs of others and being a servant of others’ needs.
    • Serving the needs of others is liberating. It implies recognizing their needs (without judging them) and then doing what can be done, in line with the higher purpose of serving God first, to help satisfy that need. Whereas;
    • Being a servant of the needs of others requires that one must do anything and everything possible to satisfy those needs, whether it is in line with one’s service to God or not.
  • The servant leader himself/herself is a growing leader, led and grown by the Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus was the only human being who never abused his power.
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Applying these considerations of Jesus as a role model for Christian leaders we can see that, from a Biblical perspective, a servant leader is a person, who is:

  • Christ-centered in all aspects of life (a voluntary servant of Christ)
  • Committed to serve the needs of others before their own,
  • Courageous to lead with power and love as an expression of serving,
  • Consistently developing others into servant leaders, and
  • Continually inviting feedback from those that they want to serve in order to grow towards the ultimate servant leader, Jesus Christ” (christianleadership.org).
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Reference:
_________. (n.d.) “Jesus: The Role Model of Christian Leadership”. Retrieved from http://christian-leadership.org/jesus-the-role-model-for-christian-leaders/.
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Top 5 Biblical Passages for Christian Business Leaders

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1. Mark 10:43-45

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This passage from the Gospel of Mark is considered the central image of a Christian leader– a suffering servant. A leader who serves his/her constituents rather than being served by them. Leadership in the Christian sense is service for the sake of the Kingdom and self-emptying to empower others.

Under this model, the leader does not seek glory and power for his/her self but to promote and protect the common good even if this entails dying to one’s self and disregarding his/her self-interest.

In Catholic Church’s teaching, doing business is a form of service to God and people–the customers. Its ultimate goal is not really profiteering but serving the public by providing consumers with high-quality goods and services in order that they can enjoy the fruits of God’s creation.

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A good and Christian leader must then strive to become a servant of God in the business organization, providing the public with quality goods and services.

As managers, they must not abuse their discretionary powers in the workplace but instead empower others to become servants and leaders too in their respective duties and areas of responsibilities.

2. Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves..”

This passage from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians can remind business leaders not to seek selfish ambitions or vain conceit. They must be humble, always conscious that positions of power in the business organization is temporary and meant for service.

Selfish ambition or conceit in the business organization can lead to unhealthy competition, politics, and sidelining of the corporate values just to get ahead of others in the promotion system.

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3. 1 Timothy 3:2

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Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach…”

This passage reminds business leaders to walk the talk, to witness what they preach in the workplace. A good and Christian leader is one who always provides a good example for others to follow.

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4. Proverbs 27:23-24

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“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds;  for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.”
Business leaders must not be only conscious about their position of power and authority, of the benefits and rewards they could get if they perform well in the company.
They must, first of all, know the real conditions of their employees in the workplace. They should check whether they are properly remunerated with a just wage by the company.
Corporate productivity is often tied up with the level of satisfaction of the workers with their wage and social benefits.
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5. Isaiah 41:10

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“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

In Church’s teachings, work is connected with one’s spirituality: A leader’s duty and role in the company must be part of his/her spiritual life.

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A Christian leader is one who is always conscious that the work of managing others in the workplace is part of his/her quest for salvation. Sanctification is not only expressed inside the Church but anywhere since God’s presence is everywhere. Thus, if business leaders are always aware of God’s presence in the workplace, he/she would never be fearful in his decisions and actions.

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3 Types of Leadership: What Kind of a Leader are You?

accomplishment-achievement-adult-1059120

The German sociologist Max Weber identified three ideal types of leadership in which authority may rest: (1) charismatic, (2) traditional, and (3) rational-legal. In any society or institution, the power of the leader may be exercised on the basis of a mixture of these 3 types of leadership.

  1. Charismatic Leadership

adult-beard-blur-927022

 

Charismatic Leadership is founded on the personal traits and gifts of the leader. The more  authentic these personal traits are as perceived by the people, the higher is the legitimacy of the leader. People obey the leader, not primarily because of certain laws or traditions, but because of his/her personal talents. Because it is a personalized form of authority, charismatic leadership tends to be unstable. It does not normally survive after the death of the original leader, and it often abandons the leader while he or she is alive. Charismatic leaders in history include  Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, St. Francis of Asisi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, etc.

In  corporate settings, charismatic leaders like Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few, are creative, innovative, and visionary people. They have extraordinary talents that ordinary managers do not possess. They usually introduce innovation, creativity, or unique management style in their business environments.

         2. Traditional authority

pexels-photo-618613.jpeg

Traditional leadership is one that is based on some sort of tradition that is handed down from the past. The leader is obeyed by the people as a legitimate leader because of a formal or informal norm handed down by great leaders or managers from the past. This kind of leadership is based on customs and traditions of the business firms.  The leader is not usually innovative but conservative. He or she is just continuing what is being practiced by the company based on tradition.

      The ordination of a priest by a bishop is an example of traditional authority. The new priest received his power and authority by way of tradition, and people obey him as a legitimate spiritual pastor of the Church. Succession in monarchy is also done through traditional authority. Tradition dictates that only persons with royal blood can ascend to the throne.

           3. Rational-Legal Leadership

pexels-photo-275496.jpeg

         The last type of leadership proposed by Max Weber is the most common type of authority in modern and contemporary society. This leadership is based on a set of rules, and the belief in the legitimacy of the process of rule creation and enforcement. This form of domination is routinized through bureaucracy. The leader assumes the right to exercise power over the people because the law says so.

        The leader’s authority is held by legally established impersonal orders and extends to people only by virtue of the offices they hold. The power of government officials, for instance, is determined by the offices to which they are appointed or elected because of their individual qualifications. As long as individuals hold these offices, they have a certain amount of power. But once they leave office, their rational-legal authority is also lost.  Though personal traits also count in the selection process, a fixed law becomes the primary legitimizer of the leader’s capacity to exercise leadership. His authority expires when he retires or becomes incapacitated as stipulated by law.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

What kind of a leader are you? Which type of leadership do you aim to achieve?

Thanks for reading this post. Sign up with our newsletter or follow this blog via email for more updates.

3 Types of Leadership: What Kind of a Leader are You?

accomplishment-achievement-adult-1059120

The German sociologist Max Weber identified three ideal types of leadership in which authority may rest: (1) charismatic, (2) traditional, and (3) rational-legal. In any society or institution, the power of the leader may be exercised on the basis of a mixture of these 3 types of leadership.

  1. Charismatic Leadership

adult-beard-blur-927022

 

Charismatic Leadership is founded on the personal traits and gifts of the leader. The more  authentic these personal traits are as perceived by the people, the higher is the legitimacy of the leader. People obey the leader, not primarily because of certain laws or traditions, but because of his/her personal talents. Because it is a personalized form of authority, charismatic leadership tends to be unstable. It does not normally survive after the death of the original leader, and it often abandons the leader while he or she is alive. Charismatic leaders in history include  Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, St. Francis of Asisi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, etc.

In  corporate settings, charismatic leaders like Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few, are creative, innovative, and visionary people. They have extraordinary talents that ordinary managers do not possess. They usually introduce innovation, creativity, or unique management style in their business environments.

         2. Traditional authority

pexels-photo-618613.jpeg

Traditional leadership is one that is based on some sort of tradition that is handed down from the past. The leader is obeyed by the people as a legitimate leader because of a formal or informal norm handed down by great leaders or managers from the past. This kind of leadership is based on customs and traditions of the business firms.  The leader is not usually innovative but conservative. He or she is just continuing what is being practiced by the company based on tradition.

      The ordination of a priest by a bishop is an example of traditional authority. The new priest received his power and authority by way of tradition, and people obey him as a legitimate spiritual pastor of the Church. Succession in monarchy is also done through traditional authority. Tradition dictates that only persons with royal blood can ascend to the throne.

           3. Rational-Legal Leadership

pexels-photo-275496.jpeg

         The last type of leadership proposed by Max Weber is the most common type of authority in modern and contemporary society. This leadership is based on a set of rules, and the belief in the legitimacy of the process of rule creation and enforcement. This form of domination is routinized through bureaucracy. The leader assumes the right to exercise power over the people because the law says so.

        The leader’s authority is held by legally established impersonal orders and extends to people only by virtue of the offices they hold. The power of government officials, for instance, is determined by the offices to which they are appointed or elected because of their individual qualifications. As long as individuals hold these offices, they have a certain amount of power. But once they leave office, their rational-legal authority is also lost.  Though personal traits also count in the selection process, a fixed law becomes the primary legitimizer of the leader’s capacity to exercise leadership. His authority expires when he retires or becomes incapacitated as stipulated by law.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

What kind of a leader are you? Which type of leadership do you aim to achieve?

Thanks for reading this post. Sign up with our newsletter or follow this blog via email for more updates.

3 Types of Leadership: What Kind of a Leader are You?

accomplishment-achievement-adult-1059120

The German sociologist Max Weber identified three ideal types of leadership in which authority may rest: (1) charismatic, (2) traditional, and (3) rational-legal. In any society or institution, the power of the leader may be exercised on the basis of a mixture of these 3 types of leadership.

  1. Charismatic Leadership

adult-beard-blur-927022

 

Charismatic Leadership is founded on the personal traits and gifts of the leader. The more  authentic these personal traits are as perceived by the people, the higher is the legitimacy of the leader. People obey the leader, not primarily because of certain laws or traditions, but because of his/her personal talents. Because it is a personalized form of authority, charismatic leadership tends to be unstable. It does not normally survive after the death of the original leader, and it often abandons the leader while he or she is alive. Charismatic leaders in history include  Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, St. Francis of Asisi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, etc.

In  corporate settings, charismatic leaders like Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few, are creative, innovative, and visionary people. They have extraordinary talents that ordinary managers do not possess. They usually introduce innovation, creativity, or unique management style in their business environments.

         2. Traditional authority

pexels-photo-618613.jpeg

Traditional leadership is one that is based on some sort of tradition that is handed down from the past. The leader is obeyed by the people as a legitimate leader because of a formal or informal norm handed down by great leaders or managers from the past. This kind of leadership is based on customs and traditions of the business firms.  The leader is not usually innovative but conservative. He or she is just continuing what is being practiced by the company based on tradition.

      The ordination of a priest by a bishop is an example of traditional authority. The new priest received his power and authority by way of tradition, and people obey him as a legitimate spiritual pastor of the Church. Succession in monarchy is also done through traditional authority. Tradition dictates that only persons with royal blood can ascend to the throne.

           3. Rational-Legal Leadership

pexels-photo-275496.jpeg

         The last type of leadership proposed by Max Weber is the most common type of authority in modern and contemporary society. This leadership is based on a set of rules, and the belief in the legitimacy of the process of rule creation and enforcement. This form of domination is routinized through bureaucracy. The leader assumes the right to exercise power over the people because the law says so.

        The leader’s authority is held by legally established impersonal orders and extends to people only by virtue of the offices they hold. The power of government officials, for instance, is determined by the offices to which they are appointed or elected because of their individual qualifications. As long as individuals hold these offices, they have a certain amount of power. But once they leave office, their rational-legal authority is also lost.  Though personal traits also count in the selection process, a fixed law becomes the primary legitimizer of the leader’s capacity to exercise leadership. His authority expires when he retires or becomes incapacitated as stipulated by law.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

What kind of a leader are you? Which type of leadership do you aim to achieve?

Thanks for reading this post. Sign up with our newsletter or follow this blog via email for more updates.

3 Types of Leadership: What Kind of a Leader are You?

accomplishment-achievement-adult-1059120

The German sociologist Max Weber identified three ideal types of leadership in which authority may rest: (1) charismatic, (2) traditional, and (3) rational-legal. In any society or institution, the power of the leader may be exercised on the basis of a mixture of these 3 types of leadership.

  1. Charismatic Leadership

adult-beard-blur-927022

 

Charismatic Leadership is founded on the personal traits and gifts of the leader. The more  authentic these personal traits are as perceived by the people, the higher is the legitimacy of the leader. People obey the leader, not primarily because of certain laws or traditions, but because of his/her personal talents. Because it is a personalized form of authority, charismatic leadership tends to be unstable. It does not normally survive after the death of the original leader, and it often abandons the leader while he or she is alive. Charismatic leaders in history include  Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, St. Francis of Asisi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, etc.

In  corporate settings, charismatic leaders like Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few, are creative, innovative, and visionary people. They have extraordinary talents that ordinary managers do not possess. They usually introduce innovation, creativity, or unique management style in their business environments.

         2. Traditional authority

pexels-photo-618613.jpeg

Traditional leadership is one that is based on some sort of tradition that is handed down from the past. The leader is obeyed by the people as a legitimate leader because of a formal or informal norm handed down by great leaders or managers from the past. This kind of leadership is based on customs and traditions of the business firms.  The leader is not usually innovative but conservative. He or she is just continuing what is being practiced by the company based on tradition.

      The ordination of a priest by a bishop is an example of traditional authority. The new priest received his power and authority by way of tradition, and people obey him as a legitimate spiritual pastor of the Church. Succession in monarchy is also done through traditional authority. Tradition dictates that only persons with royal blood can ascend to the throne.

           3. Rational-Legal Leadership

pexels-photo-275496.jpeg

         The last type of leadership proposed by Max Weber is the most common type of authority in modern and contemporary society. This leadership is based on a set of rules, and the belief in the legitimacy of the process of rule creation and enforcement. This form of domination is routinized through bureaucracy. The leader assumes the right to exercise power over the people because the law says so.

        The leader’s authority is held by legally established impersonal orders and extends to people only by virtue of the offices they hold. The power of government officials, for instance, is determined by the offices to which they are appointed or elected because of their individual qualifications. As long as individuals hold these offices, they have a certain amount of power. But once they leave office, their rational-legal authority is also lost.  Though personal traits also count in the selection process, a fixed law becomes the primary legitimizer of the leader’s capacity to exercise leadership. His authority expires when he retires or becomes incapacitated as stipulated by law.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

What kind of a leader are you? Which type of leadership do you aim to achieve?

Thanks for reading this post. Sign up with our newsletter or follow this blog via email for more updates.

Leadership in the Social Media: The Sociology of Followers

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To Expand or Not to Expand Connections

Users of social media often face the perennial issue of whether to add too many followers and connections or just maintain a few close business and professional connections in their accounts. On LinkedIn, your direct connections are also your followers. LinkedIn users with numerous connections and followers are usually honored by the network as thought leaders and influencers. On Facebook, your followers are your friends. On Twitter and other social media sites, your followers are those who follow you regardless of whether you follow them back or not. But aside from posting quality articles to attract many followers, there is no other effective way to expand one’s network except to send or accept invites. But how can one becomes an influencer if s/he is encouraged to just remain closely connected with his/her limited number of connections (around 500 on LinkedIn), discouraged to connect with the unfamiliar others or become open networkers (LIONs) or to go beyond the maximum limit of connections and friends? (e.g. 30,000 on LinkedIn or 5,000 friends on Facebook). Which is which: to limit one’s connections to maintain intimacy within the social network and to limit his/her social influence? Or expand one’s network to expand his/her social influence and to lessen his/her group intimacy in the network?

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The Dilemma

Users face a dilemma with regard to the ideal number of connections and followers in the social media. To gain too many connections and followers implies lesser time for the user to interact closely with each member the social network: The higher is the number of followers, the lesser is his/her available time to spend quality time with all of them in the social network. But If the user does not accept too many connections and followers, especially those who are unfamiliar or strangers to him/her in order to maintain a strong bonding in the network, s/he limits his/her range of social influence and possibility to connect with the right people who might help him/her in his/her business or professional career. Thus, a recruiter who connects only with people whom s/he personally knows in real or digital life is incapacitated to meet new people and connect with the right applicants who can fill up his/her wanted list. Moreover, a limited number of connections, friends or followers in the social media implies low social impact which can make one’s profile less attractive to people and to the business world.

The Sociological Significance of Connections and Followers

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There is a sociological basis why having many connections and followers is desirable than having only a few. There is a grain of truth to the idea that the number of followers or connection is the user’s “social” net worth in the social media and status scale. Sir Richard Branson who has more than 6 million followers on LinkedIn is obviously has a higher social net worth than anyone else in the world’s largest professional and business social networking site. Please take note that we are talking here of “social” not economic or monetary net worth which is the main criteria being used in identifying the richest people in the world. Some top influencers such as Branson or Gates, possess both a high social class (wealth) and social status (prestige). But there are others who are not be very rich and yet very high in social status because of their unique skills, level of achievement and high number of connections and followers in the social media Thus, a user with only 100 connections is obviously lesser in social status compared to somebody with 5,000 followers or more. The indicator of social class is primarily wealth, property and monetary net worth while social status is the person’s credential and level of prestige. In social media especially in LinkedIn where every user is presumed to belong to the middle or upper social classes, social status based on the user’s prestige (as reflected in the profile), popularity and number of connection and followers can be a strong differentiating factor among social media users.

The Power of Connection and Followers

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The power of having more connections and followers can be felt directly by the user through the power of his/her invites: The higher is his/her number connections and followers, the more powerful is his/her invites in the social media. The acceptance rate of his/her invites is directly correlated with his/her number of connections and followers: the higher is the number of followers, the higher is the rate of acceptance of the invites. Having more followers and connections can also have a bandwagon effect: Who can resist connecting with popular accounts in case they invite you? Can you turn down an invitation, for instance, if Richard Branson, President Obama, Guy Kawasaki or other influencers ask you to connect on LinkedIn? Being connected with someone with a big following has an advantage to the one who is invited. If that person mentions you in their posts and updates or likes or comments in your posts or updates, his/her thousands of followers can view them and see your profile picture and headline as well, thus expanding your personal brand.

Resolving the Dilemma: Maintain Bonding with Close Friends/Connections but Expand Network

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There is a third way to resolve the dilemma of whether to gain more followers or not:in the social media: Maintain and expand gradually one’s small group of intimate connections within one’s social network but continue to expand the number of connections and followers to increase social status and influence. Sociologically speaking, it is humanly impossible to maintain intimacy if one’s group or network is huge. In real life, when a person’s primary group increases in membership and becomes a secondary group, his/her personal bonding and intimacy with it declines, but his/her social status and influence in society climbs. And this is also true in online interaction in the social media.The increase of membership in a social network can decrease the level of intimacy between the user and all his/her followers. But it has an advantage. It also increases his/her social influence and marketability in the digital economy.

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In sum, there is really no serious problem between maintaining social bonding with a few close connections and expanding one’s social network in the social media. Indeed, life, whether real or virtual, is full of contradictions and paradoxes; one just needs to be creative, empirical and innovative in his/her journey in the world of the social media!

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