Management and Change in Africa: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Management and Change in Africa: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Management and Change in Africa: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Management and Change in Africa: A Cross-Cultural Perspective


Combining methodology, theory, and exploration of the cultural, historical and economic influences on management in Africa, this is a much needed study of the dynamics of a fascinating area of cross-cultural management.


Civilization is not a predetermined consequence of human progress, as the Victorians believed, with white Anglo-Saxons leading the way, the rest of the world following in their wake, and the Africans straggling several centuries behind. On the contrary, civilization is more like a protective skin of enlightened self-interest that all societies develop as they learn to regulate their interactions with the environment, and with other people, to the long-term benefit of all parties.

(Reader, 1997: x)

The reason why effective management in Africa is important is a complex issue because of the various stakeholders concerned. Viewed simplistically, we could proffer a belief that good organizational management is essential for the well-being of humankind. the issue of effective management becomes complex because it can be viewed from the perceptions of different stakeholder communities, which may have an influence on the way management in Africa is understood, researched and practised. the diversity of perspectives must be built into an appreciation of the factors that contribute to a research agenda in this area, and ultimately to the way effective and appropriate management is developed.

Similarly an understanding of the context of management in Africa should be integrated into a research framework, as a means of understanding different stakeholder perspectives. This may primarily be understood through an appreciation of the cross-cultural dynamics operating on organizational and management factors south of the Sahara. Reframing of perspectives of management in Africa from the various communities should also be undertaken from a cross-cultural perspective, not least to overcome the pejorative and obstructive influences on research of the 'developing-developed' world paradigm (itself a cultural construct, and one defined by the 'developed' world and also adopted by intellectuals and elite in the 'developing' world) which still seems to persist (see, for example, in Jaeger and Kanungo, 1990; and to a lesser degree in Blunt and Jones, 1992). the 'developing-developed' world dichotomy is perhaps indicative of the power relations that exist among the various stakeholder communities. When considering the cross-cultural dynamics of effective management in Africa (most countries in sub-Saharan African countries are multi-cultural, all are subject to Western cultural influences, and many are operating across

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