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Leadership Perspective from the


Philippines: Its Implications for
Theory, Research and Practice
Francis Thaise A. Cimene and Alan N. Aladano

Introduction

Classic leadership literature is replete with examples of leaders attempts


to predict, categorize, classify, and control for every variable imaginable
within organizations. Most research in academia denes leadership as
a behaviour, a relationship, and in some cases an activity. Leadership
traits and styles also dominate in establishing leadership perspectives.
But what if organizations were unpredictable and impossible to con-
trol? More and more, organizational scholars are looking to theoretical
constructs that paint a picture of leadership as uid, emergent, or
connected, and the result is concepts of chaos theory.
Over the years, leadership has been viewed from various angles and in
different dimensions. It has gained the interests of graduate faculty and
students, and business and government leaders to conduct and support
research on leadership. The teaching about and research on leadership
have surged, with many students majoring in the eld. Indeed, it has
been an intriguing topic for centuries during which academicians have
formulated many denitions and theories of leadership. Many scholars
and practitioners alike are convinced that effective leadership is required
to meet most organizational challenges. Hence many curricula in leader-
ship and management schools now emphasize the development of such
skills.
Munro (2008:xvi) writes about the interface of person-as-leader, place,
and participants, otherwise known as situated leadership, in her recent
book entitled Organizational Leadership. This is a departure from other
publications on leadership, which focus solely on the person as leader.
The selected readings deal with organizational leadership issues from

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J. Rajasekar et al. (eds.), Culture and Gender in Leadership


Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2013
Francis Thaise A. Cimene and Alan N. Aladano 49

multiple perspectives, believing that there is no single correct answer to


any of the questions raised. She emphasizes that from the perspective
of situated leadership, the best answer is it depends. She goes on to
say that Firm and fast rules or tried and true principles are less reliable
when the focus shifts from solitary leader to interaction of key leader-
ship factors. According to situational leadership theories, leaders work
in complex settings where rules, players, problems, and objectives can
change from hour to hour. It is unlikely that any one strategy or style
will t all of these changing conditions. That is why the principle behind
situational theories is that There is no one best way. Rather, the best
way is contingent on the situation.
Leadership in the Philippines even from the grassroots point of view
is full of challenges considering that crisis penetrates all sectors of soci-
ety. Political and educational crises are the most publicized because
they affect the economy. It is common knowledge that the countrys
economy is primarily supported by remittances from overseas foreign
workers. However, this condition has resulted in the disintegration of
families in particular and society in general. The greatest leadership chal-
lenge for the government then is to provide employment for its people
so that they dont have to work abroad.
Moreover, the education sector has been characterized by yearly bud-
get cuts, soaring tuition and other fee hikes, the highest dropout rate in
recent years, unbridled and still unresolved cases of graft and corruption,
and systematic government neglect of the education sector. Whether
the qualitative standards are equally high is another issue. It is a dif-
cult question to answer since there is little concordance between the
aims and accomplishments of education in the Philippines.
Since the entire worlds most prosperous industrial countries have a
rather high proportion of educated citizens, it might be assumed that
when this is the case a country will be prosperous. Unfortunately there
is no guarantee that an expansion of schools will produce economic
prosperity. The Philippines ranks much higher in education than in the
income of its people. For instance, the percentage of literacy is prac-
tically the same as in Singapore, but the Philippine per capita income
is only one-eighth that of Singapore. This is just one of the many
challenges that the countrys leaders are facing today.
In the Philippines, establishing leadership perspectives means under-
standing the culture and subcultures of the people. The manifestations
of culture in the everyday socioeconomic and political life of the people
are very evident. For instance, because the Filipinos are family-centred,
organizational leaders and those who are led are looking for a work