Asian Paternalistic Management Style
Asian paternalistic management style is a type of managerial style that is typically employed in organizations where managers are dominantly males. Power is used in controlling and protecting subordinate staffs that the management expects to be obedient and loyal. This management style is suitable for a business that has a more hierarchical and formal structure where staffs are not required to engage in creative thinking.
Just like the name suggests, this leadership style is dominant in Asia. However, no studies have been done to assess its applicability and comparability in East Asian context. A triad paternalistic leadership model has elements of benevolent, authoritarian as well as moral character leadership.
In Asian paternalistic management style, it is a legitimate right of the managers to exercise authority over their subordinates. It is a moral duty of each subordinate to obey what the supervisor expects or wants of them. As such, it is expected that managers or leaders will make final decisions. Managers also monitor workers closely. This is the authoritarian element of Asian paternalistic management style.
Benevolent element of this leadership style can also be seen as Confucianism. In Confucianism, it is the legitimate right of the manager or supervisor to provide leadership that is accompanied by respect and care for the workers. This is very important element of Asian paternalistic management style because it creates harmony in the relationship between junior staffs and the managers. It also establishes a balance between care and subordination.
A manager who uses Asian paternalistic management style must also provide moral leadership. Moral leadership related to the moral character of the manager and the ability to serve as a role model of junior employees. A moral manager or leader treats others fairly. He also respect agreements made at the workplace while exhibiting care and kindness. They do not abuse the authority given to them by the company.
Although authoritative management is highly regarded in western countries, Asian nations such as China believe that when used excessively, authoritative leadership or management backfires. This can leave employees frustrated and unhappy. Additionally, authoritative management or leadership has always left followers and leaders with undesirable consequences in most cases. This is because in the modern world people need leadership or management that understands their needs.
As such, the main essence of Asian paternalistic management style is to ensure that managers try to foster reciprocal balance between care and subjugation. Thus, in theory a paternalistic manager can be perceived as being a manager who tries to balance benevolence, care and authoritative leadership.
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