Leadership Qualities : Rural Women Entrepreneurs of Jharkhand Vs Indian Corporate Women

Abstract :

Both rural and corporate women lead in different ways. Leadership theories like Trait theory, Behavioral theory and Transformational theory makes one to understand leadership qualities in an individual. This paper tries to identify the leadership qualities between rural women entrepreneurs and corporate women and relationship of education and socioeconomic status of women for their enterprising leadership qualities. Regardless of education and socio- economic status, numerous common qualities of business women- either rural or corporate can be marked which facilitate them to accomplish and turn out as more productive and efficient business leaders.

Keywords :
Leadership qualities, rural women entrepreneurship, corporate women.

After six decades of independence, women are shattering glass ceilings of stereotype image and participating in Indian economy. Women's implication at rural and national level cannot be infringed. Various corporate women like Chanda Kocher, Kiran Majumdar Shaw and Arundhati Bhattacharya, etc have acknowledged their existence at national and international level but rural women are still searching a platform which will elevate them to new horizon of globalization.

There are various theories like Trait theory, Behavioral theory and Transformational theory, etc which make us to understand leaders & leadership qualities. Regardless of education and socio-economic status, numerous common qualities of business women can be marked which facilitate them to accomplish and turn out as more productive and efficient business leaders.

Both rural women and corporate women lead in different ways. Some lead by their unique experience, some use interactive leadership and some are task maker. In order to lead in today's fast paced environment Indian women leaders have to do multiple hats. However, their ability to switch on and switch off from personal to professional in taking care of in-laws or parents aids that. Also, the ability to multitask and at the same time being hardnosed and sensible coupled with a flexible approach and good communication skills helps women in handling a lot of multifaceted situations in this globalised world.

Review of literature

In his genre-defining book titled “Leadership”, James MacGregor Burns made striking mentions of 'qualities of leaders' and since then i.e., for past few decades, it is being discussed and understood that a leader's qualities and his character will make a greater difference to his effectiveness.

According to Boyatzis these five components include 18 Leadership competencies which will lead to resonant Leadership. They are Self-confidence, self-management, emotional self-control, transparency, adaptability, achievement , initiative, optimism, empathy, organizational awareness, service, inspirational leadership, influence, developing others, change catalyst, conflict management, building bonds, self-awareness

The traits of smartness, verbal ability, aggressiveness, consistent and hard work are the key traits which subordinates seek in effective leaders according to Puranik V. Leaders who are supportive to the strategy and exercise their leadership actions in alignment with the organizational strategy may be called strategic leaders. Strategic leadership is a process of constantly assessing whether the company is on the right path to the designed goals and continuously checking the progress towards the same. Strategic leadership works with the vision, culture, values and all strategically aligned features of the organizations. The Leader's role is to understand the strategy and put it forth in operational form for implementation by employees while exemplifying the values and vision of the organisation. Making strategic plans keeping in mind the environmental and internal strengths and opportunities is also a leader's operational role.

According to Mintzberg, leaders share one personality trait in common, a passion to lead.

Objective and Research Methodology

The study is based on primary data collection of rural women and secondary study is done to understand leadership qualities of corporate women leaders through various books, journals, newspapers, websites, etc.
The study is done to find the following objectives :

  1. To identify leadership qualities of rural women and corporate women
  2. To explore women's leadership qualities which help them to lead in the business
  3. To compare the qualities of rural women and corporate women

Comparative Study of Rural Women Entrepreneurs and Corporate Women

To understand the leadership qualities of women entrepreneurs, two women from rural Jharkhand was studied and a case study was prepared simultaneously to compare their leadership qualities, two corporate women were studied through secondary study.

This paper has tried to compare the leadership qualities in rural and corporate women entrepreneurs, through the success stories of four women – Mrs Pratibha Devi, a dairy entrepreneur, Mrs Reema Kujur, a Lac cultivator from Jharkhand and two corporate women Mrs. Vinita Bail & Krian Majumdar Shaw. These women were selected randomly for the study purpose.

1. Case Study of Rural Women Entrepreneur
Pratibha Devi- Dairy Entrepreneur
In early days, the life of Pratibha Devi, village- Gorsanda, Distirct-Godda, Jharkhand was miserable. She is a matric pass and her husband is a graduate, but an unemployed person and he is always at home doing no work. She has three children, two boys and a girl. They used to live in a kaccha house. They had two indigenous cows. Her husband used to work as a laborer in field to get his daily earning which was insufficient. One day, she met with a BAIF Centre In-Charge from where she got all information regarding Dairy Cattle Development Programme. As a result of this, within 3 years, these cows gave birth to 5 cross breed animals. But bad days are not permanent. She sells 45 liters of milk in near by market earning of Rs. 1100 approx per day. Today her monthly income after all expenses is around Rs. 60,000.00 from different sources. Presently she owns a house, a TATA Sumo, two motor vehicles and a hardware shop. Her elder son is doing engineering, daughter is studding medical and younger son is going to music school.

Due to leadership quality and ability to take challenges, she is self-reliant and economically independent. She got appreciation and respect in the society.

Reema Kujur - Lac Cultivator
Reema Kujur, village - Alondi, Block - Khunti, District - Ranchi, Jharkhand lives with her husband, two sons, inlaws and other family members in joint family. Agriculture, lac and minor forest produces is the major source of income of her family. Earlier her income was less than Rs. 2000 annually. She decided to participate in training on "Scientific methods of lac cultivation" through JASCOLAMPF (Jharkhand State Co-operative Lac Marketing & Procurement Federation Ltd). She has also undergone Lac handicraft training under Yuva Kaushal Vikas Yojana and is involved in making Lac bangles and other handicrafts, which she sell through Cooperative Society of which she is a member. With the scientific method of lac cultivation her earning has increased tremendously. She has motivated various farmers in her neighbouring villages for lac cultivation through information on the scientific method and probability in lac cultivation.

Mrs. Reema Kujur is now a source of inspiration for others. Mrs. Reema used to go to houses of villagers and motivate them to use scientific methods of lac cultivation. With her earning from lac she is able to look after the education of her children. Now she is self independent and leading her life confidently.

2. Case Study of Corporate Women
Vinita Bali
Vinita Bali is a global business leader with extensive experience in leading large companies, both in India and overseas. She has worked with eminent multinationals like the Britannia Industries Ltd., the Coca-Cola Company and the Cadbury Schweppes PLC in a variety of management roles in the UK, Nigeria, South Africa, Chile, the USA and India. Vinita is currently pursuing her interests in the development sector. She is a Non- Executive Director on the global Boards of Syngenta International AG, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and on the Advisory Board of Cornell University's Department of Nutritional Science. She also serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of several companies and is on the Advisory Board of The World Gold Council. Vinita is one among 27 global leaders appointed by the UN to help improve maternal and child health as part of its SUN initiative.

Through secondary study it was found that the Ms. Bali has a strong discipline for meetings which she attend; like R&D meetings or operational review meetings. Her calendar is fixed for the year; then everything else happens around it. Even when she was in school, she would stay back and play a game of hockey and come back and finish her homework, then go for Kathak practice. It is very easy for her to get in and out of things. The analogy she uses is that you say you are Sachin Tendulkar and so you don't need to practice. But you are great only because you practice. She admires that in artists and sports people. She believes that they polish and chisel away till they get it perfect. Sometimes she is empathetic and at other times she is unreasonable. The worst in her comes out when the results are not delivered and there is no pro-active communication on why it has not happened.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
Ms. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a pioneer of the biotechnology industry in India and the founder of the country's leading biotechnology enterprise, Biocon. Named among TIME magazine's 100 most influential people in the world, Ms. Mazumdar-Shaw is recognized as a thought leader who has made her country proud by building a globally recognized biopharmaceutical enterprise that is committed to innovation and affordability in delivering best-in-class therapeutics to patients across the globe.

As a global influence, she is ranked among 'World's 25 Most Influential People in Biopharma' by Fierce Biotech, Forbes magazine's '100 Most Powerful Women' and Fortune's 'Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Asia-Pacific.' She has been recognized as the only Indian on Forbes' list of 'World's Self-Made Women Billionaires.

Daughter of a brew master and without a job, raising funds for her entrepreneurial venture was not going to be easy. Mazumdar-Shaw was prepared to fight it out -- she knew she would have to stave off opposition at every step. Mazumdar-Shaw was trying to build an enterprise in an area that was relatively nascent in India, and the fact that she was a woman and had no family money to fall back on didn't help either. She was twenty five at the time. Getting banks to fund her venture was nearly impossible. Banks wanted her father to be a guarantor. And Kiran disagreed on principle. Being a woman entrepreneur also puts her at a disadvantage. But the challenges and setbacks did not hold her back from setting up office with a seed capital of ten thousand rupees -- around four lakh rupees today.Biocon Limited was launched in 1978, in partnership with an Irish Biotechnology.

Growth was slow, as a pioneer Mazumdar-Shaw faced resistance and discrimination from all quarters -- employees didn't want to work for a woman and investors remained wary of investing in a woman run company. But Mazumdar-Shaw persevered. The company started to make profits and almost a decade later. Though the challenges of her journey would seem insurmountable to many, Shaw went about slicing her setbacks with almost clinical precision. Mazumdar-Shaw took the failure in her stride and did not internalize it, a personality trait most women are guilty of.

Leadership Qualities Matrix between Corporate women leaders and Rural Women leaders:

Based on presented case studies of all four women, it was tried to indentify the leadership qualities of women under study and a comparison matrix was prepared to understand the differences & similarities in leadership qualities.

Status do not decide the leadership abilities of a women. It is her inner ability of a women, which forces her to bring out her leadership qualities to lead from from front. The above four case shows that there are several common qualities among women, irrespective of the environment- Rural or Corporate which makes them a successful leader in their profession either way.

Road Ahead

It has been seen that the women leadership qualities among rural women entrepreneurs and corporate women having similarities at several stages and need to be further explored and can be studied. Moreover, leaving behind the theoretical leadership styles, clearly, women are defining their own leadership styles as they move ahead in their field of work. In order to forge ahead as leaders, they have some defined traits and principles that keep directing them in their endeavors. In addition, the styles that they incorporate in leading are turning into benchmarks and they are becoming role models for other aspiring women leaders to develop their own style and stand firm on it.

In the last few decades the progress of rural women in leadership positions in India has been inspiring. Although, rural women leaders might not be consistently represented at large platform a good deal of advancement are progressing. Besides above sucessful stories there are certain sectors where Indian women are leading the way but entreprenueral abilities of women need to studied further for robust policy framework for rural women.

References :
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