Exploring paternalistic leadership and its application to the Indonesian context : a dissertation presented in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in cross-cultural leadership at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Paternalistic Leadership (PL) is characterised by a patriarchal and hierarchical
authoritarian style of management. It is strongly characterised by absolute
guidance, the protection of subordinates, harmony building and moral
leadership. This thesis sets out a framework of enquiry that comprehensively
answers the following three important questions. First, to what extent is
Indonesian leadership paternalistic? Second, how is the leader-employee
relationship constructed in Indonesia? Finally, to what extent is this relationship
influenced by Javanese culture?
Javanese is Indonesia’s dominant ethnicity and culture in the sociopolitical
arena, colouring the socio-economic and political climate and affecting
the way people perceive “leadership”. Generally speaking, Indonesia’s
leadership and governmental style is paternalistic. For this study, the total
population of civil servants was invited to answer a survey about their
perceptions on leaders-leadership style, and eight hundred and seven (81%)
The research study was based on the assumption that current “topdown”
leadership should be augmented by a more complex view of leadership
as relationship. The study was operationalised within the concept of
Paternalistic leadership described by Cheng et al.’s (2004) 10 variables, which
were validated using explanatory factor analysis. Additionally, the construction
of relationship between leaders and employees was examined by relating
employee demographic characteristics to Paternalistic leadership.
Survey questionnaires were sent to civil servants in two provinces and
returned directly to the researcher. Data analysis methods included descriptive
statistics to examine how the respondents answered questions, explanatory
factor analysis to examine suitability of paternalistic leadership, and one- and
two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) to examine how the respondents’
demographic information correspondents to Paternalistic leadership
Study results show that civil servants agree that leaders demonstrate
Paternalistic leadership. Instead of Cheng et al ‘s (2004)10 leadership factors,
this study confirms that seven leadership styles are important aspects,
highlighting “visible leadership” as the most important. Further, the most
significant effect of employee demographic information to Paternalistic
leadership is found in Visible leadership. Two-way ANOVA analysis suggest
that Indonesian civil servants expect to “ride on the coattails” of their superiors.
These results, supplemented by the literature, suggest that there should
be an emphasis on the synergistic nature of the relationship between leaders
and employees. It is also strongly recommended that further research replicate
this study in other Indonesian provinces. Confirmation factor analysis and
others variable measuring leaders-employees relationship in similar future
research was also recommended.
Content removed from thesis due to copyright restrictions: Irawanto, D. W. (2007). National Culture and Leadership: Lesson from
Indonesia. Journal of Business and Management Executives, Vol. 4 No.
Irawanto, D. W. (2009). An Analysis of National Culture and Leadership
Practices in Indonesia. Journal of Diversity Management, Vol. 4 No. 2,
Irawanto, D. W., Ramsey, P., and Ryan, J. (2011). Challenge of Leading
in Javanese Culture. Journal of Asian Ethnicity, in print.
Irawanto, D. W., Ramsey, P., and Ryan, J. (2011). Tailoring Leadership
Theory to Indonesian Culture. Global Business Review, Vol. 12 No. 3, in
Irawanto, D. W., Ramsey, P., and Tweed, D. (2010). Exploring
Paternalistic Leadership and its Application to the Indonesian Public
Sector. Unpublished manuscript. Palmerston North, New Zealand:
now in the peer-review process in Human Resource Development
Irawanto, D. W., Ramsey, P., and Tweed, D. (2010). The Paternalistic
Relationship: Authenticity and credibility as a source of healthy
relationships. Paper presented at the 2010 International Conference of
Organizational Innovation, Bangkok, August 4-6.