IMPACT OF DIGITAL SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT ON LEADERSHIP OF SELECTED E-COMMERCE FIRMS IN SOUTH WEST, NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT


This study is motivated by the empirical lacuna as regards the impacts of digital social environment on leadership of e-businesses. Therefore, the broad objective was to investigate the impact of digital social environment on leadership of selected e-business firms in the South West, Nigeria. However, the specific objectives were to: (i) ascertain the impact of e-business on leadership skills, (ii) determine the nature of relationship between digital social environment and leadership of e-commerce, (iii) evaluate the effects of online consulting on managerial philosophy of e-commerce firms, (iv) assess the extent online information sharing impact on interpersonal skills in e-commerce firms, (v) determine the impact online training leadership knowledge in e-commerce firms in Nigerian. The study adopted a cross -sectional survey design. The population of the study was 996 staff of Jumia 303, Konga 393, and Heels 300 all in South West, Nigeria. The choice of these e-commerce firms was informed by the fact that they have maintained a good, strong, and steady competitive positions wherein the criterion of more than two or not more than ten years of existence as startup e-business firms. The sample size of 278 was obtained using Cochran formula. Stratified sampling was used to select respondents in each of the selected firms. Data were collated using the designed questionnaire structured on a 5-point likert scale. Validation was carried out using five experts from both the industry and department of Management, University of Nigeria, Enugu campus. A pilot study was conducted using split -half method and test with Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient, giving a coefficient of 0.95, indicating a high degree of items consistency. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used for data analysis at 5% probability level of significance. To a large extent, e-business has significant positive impact on leadership skill of e-commerce firms (r = 0.944, P<.05). There is positive relationship between digital social environment and leadership of e-commerce firms in southwest Nigeria. (r = 0.617; p<0 .01="" 0.05="" affects="" consulting="" e-commerce="" firms="" managerial="" nline="" of="" online="" p="" philosophy="" r="0.955," significantly="" span=""> information sharing impacts on interpersonal skills in e-commerce firms (Zcal= 6.381 >Zcritical= 1.96).Online training has positive impacts on leadership knowledge in e-commerce firms (Zcal= 4.801 against Zcritical= 1.96). With the above, we conclude that Leadership of e-commerce firms, among other variables determines the required behavioral shift from managing to leading; consequent upon, to give their organizations the drive to thrive, survive and sustain relevance in this digital age wherein performance of their organizations will be optimized. High quality leader-subordinate relationship among employer and employees is key to survive. Technological adaptation in organizational processes creates healthy environment through sharing of appropriate work-based information. It aids effective managerial strategy to transfer and enhance knowledge among staff members as it also encourage healthy interpersonal relations which lead to task accomplishment to positive outcomes such as good relational skills, better performance, lower turnover, job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Therefore, we recommend e-business leadership should be more proactive in pre-empting possible industrial and/or technological change paradyms, the more equipped and ready they would be to stay ahead. Use of various online consulting and/or think-thanks will immensely be useful in crafting positive change(s) in the industry.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of the problem
1.3       Objectivesof the study
1.4       Research questions
1.5       Research hypotheses
1.6       Significance of the study
1.7       Scope of the study
1.8       Limitations of the study
1.9       Contextual definition of terms
1.10     Historical background of the e-commerce organizations to be studied
            References

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.1       Digital social environment: the overview
2.2       Types of environment
2.3       Analysis of digital social environment of e-business
2.3.1    Social network: the back bone of digital social environment
2.3.1.2 Major social network categories
2.3.1.3 Five major characteristics of social networks
2.3.1.4Future of social networks; the impact on e-business: a leadership perspective
2.4       Classification of digital environment
2.4.1    Internal environment (back-end)
2.4.2    External Environment (front-end)
2.5       Evaluating the influence of internal environment on an e-commerce' leadership
2.5.1    Managerial philosophy (forces in the leader)
2.5.2    Forces in the employees (attitude and group competence)
2.5.3    Forces in the organization (influence of organizational culture and structure)
2.6       Impact of digital social environmental push on leadership of e-commerce
2.7       The concept of leadership in Nigeria
2.7.1    Leadership style and decision making
2.7.2    Autocratic leadership style
2.7.3 Consultative/democratic /participative leadership style
2.7.4    Laissez-faire leadership style
2.8  Theoretical framework
2.8.1    Trait approach to leadership
2.8.2    Leader behavioral approach to leadership
2.8.3    Contingency / situational approach to leadership
2.8.4    Leader- member exchange theory
2.8.5    Transformational leadership theory
2.8.6    Servant leadership theory
2.9       Factors e-business managers should consider in choosing a leadership style
2.10     Measures of effective leadership on e-business organizations
2.10.1  Measures of leadership effectiveness of an e-business
2.10.2  Effects of leadership style on e-businesses' employees’ performance and job satisfaction
2.11     Evaluating the influence of external environment on e-business managers leadership style
2.11.1 Socio-cultural environment and leadership style
2.11.2 Influence of Culture on E-business manager's Leadership Style
2.12 Gender and E-business Leadership Style
2.12.1  Technological environment and leadership style
2.12.2Administrative/legal environment and leadership style
2.13.    Economic environment and leadership style
2.13.1  Demographic variables and leadership style
2.14     Digital environmental factors and e-business world: summary of the related literature
2.14.1  Critique of the literature: notable knowledge gap
2.15     Proxies for evaluating this research
            REFERENCES

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
3.1       Research design
3.2       Sources of data
3.2.1    Primary sources of data
3.2.2    Secondary sources of data
3.3       Population of the study
3.4       Determination of sample size
3.5       Description of research instrument
3.6       Data analysis techniques
3.7       Validity of the instrument
3.8       Reliability of the instrument
3.9       Decision Rule
            References

CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY OF MAJOR FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1       Summary of Major Findings
5.2       Conclusion
5.3       Recommendations
5.4       Contribution to Knowledge
5.5       Suggested Areas for Further Research

            Bibliography

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.11      Background of the Study

The emergence of digital social environment has created a new dimension of highly dynamic and competitive push on businesses. This requires that business managers need a behavioral shift from managing to leading; consequent upon, to give their organizations the drive to thrive, survive and sustain relevance in this digital age. For instance, digital social environment is changing the way businesses conduct their production, marketing and sales activities as well as how they interact with their clients. It has also driven new trends – the virtualization of: (1) world of business, (2) working environment (3) post service delivery support.

The process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish a shared objective is leadership (Cole and Kelly: 2011). Businesses exist to harness opportunities while mitigating threat and risk to the barest minimum using a workable strategy implemented through effective leadership (Michael: 2009). Well harnessed opportunities amidst high mitigated risk usually create returns for businesses in the form of high sales, profit and organizational growth (Pushparaj: 2010). Business environments offer benefits and as well poses challenges to it. The strengths and opportunities are the benefits of the environment to the organization and are trends which the organization can capitalize on to improve its competitive advantage. Weaknesses and threats are the challenges in an organization’s environment that jeopardize the organization’s ability to prosper in the long term (Lewis, Goodman, and Fandt: 1998). Trends in the organization’s environment might affect its strategic plans (Hughes, Ginnett, Gurphy: 2007).


Today, because of continuing rapid environmental changes in organizational environment, acquisition and application of management knowledge, skills and experience will no longer be sufficient to grow thriving, prospering, and competitive businesses. Contemporary business practices require managers to have technical knowledge and experience both in management and leadership; especially how both should be integrated for business growth and successes (http://www.referenceforbusiness.com). Today’s dynamic operational environment calls for strong leadership skills, clear strategic objectives and a shared vision. When an organization faces an uncertain environment, it demands strong leadership (Kotter: 2000). Leadership is one the prerequisite for business success. To be a successful business manager one must have a solid understanding of what leadership entails (http//www.answers.com). This includes evaluating environmental influences of businesses' leadership styles and its effectiveness.

The study of leadership and the demand for good leaders has fascinated people throughout the ages (Marable:1998). In fact, lots of articles and books have been published on the subject, looking at leadership from many different approaches and perspectives – the study of traits, the study of leadership behaviors, study of situations in which leaders act, the influences leaders have on others, the study of styles which leaders adopt and most importantly now, the influences of environment (both internal and external) on the leadership style (Hughes, Ginnett, Gurphy2007; Lewis, Goodman, and Fandt1998) within the ambit of business operations.

Business leadership efficiency and effectiveness is, however, constrained by a variety of environmental factors. For instance, business leaders are constrained in what they can do because of various limiting economic realities and a host of state and federal laws. For example, business leaders are required to pay at least the minimum wage and they are required to enforce safety standards. Leaders are also constrained by followers and group factors especially with the viral nature of social networks. One of the most important aspects of an organization is its human resources. Lewis et’al (1998) write that the human resources of the organization from the top management down to frontline workers are what determine the ability of the organization to achieve competitive advantage. Leaders who have unskilled followers may still have difficulty in leading effectively regardless of their style, and the availability of skilled followers is influenced by the external labor market.
Leadership can be defined here as the effort to influence the behaviour of individuals or group members in order to accomplish organizational, individual or personal goals. It is an essential component of organizational effectiveness (http://www.fao.org). Leadership is an effective instrument through which a manager may establish a feeling of mutual objectives and unity in a group, thereby ensuring maximum efficiency of the group. To achieve this, managers must have special skills in understanding interpersonal and group behaviour, thereby promoting healthy communication, interactions and cooperation among organizational members.

Being a very important aspect of managing businesses, leadership plays a vital role in the success or failure of any business organization. Business organizations succeed, through effective leaders. Effective leaders exercise all the functions of their role and are able to combine human and material resources together to achieve organizational objectives. Ihunda (2005) writes that the reason for leadership is follower ship, that is, followers’ willingness to accept directions from the leader, make him a leader. Also people follow anybody they see that can provide a means of achieving their own desire, wants, and needs.

1.12      Statement of the problem

Digital social environment is changing the world of business faster than expected. It is affecting the interests of different stakeholders – the owners of business, investors, staff, customers and suppliers. Both e-commerce business staff and customers are becoming greatly informed to change their taste of choices.


Businesses depend sufficiently on their operating environments because they do not exist in a vacuum. They depend on their environment for input such as market information, ideas, raw materials, finance and labour among others, and most importantly the consumption of finished goods or services. The competitive environment of contemporary business firms is greatly influenced by environmental forces such as social, economic, technological, competitive, and regulatory forces. Therefore, to succeed and achieve organizational objectives, Businesses must adopt healthy leadership style to drive it and its members effectively.....

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