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The Colonial Legacy in African Management:
West Africa (1950s to 1970s) and South Africa (1990-2000s)
Stephanie Decker Abstract
The colonial legacy in Africa has determined the development of management on the continent, as the comparison between the historical case of Africanisation in Ghana and Nigeria in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s with South Africa in the 1990s and 2000s highlights. Despite the fact that Ghana and Nigeria were not settler colonies, when white managers were replaced with blacks (who previously only occupied subordinate positions in the colonial or Apartheid systems), most companies in Africa faced similar problems. In the quest for legitimacy in the eyes of local elites and the international community companies were tempted to resort to ineffectual window-dressing, or failed to develop the talent of black staff who face disapproval not only from white but also from less successful black colleagues. In case of successful promotion of black managers, skilled white personnel was often driven away by the lack of opportunities, while capable black staff was frequently poached with better offers by competitors. The creation of a black elite with significantly higher income than the majority population was also frequently divisive and undermined corporate social responsibility claims.

Keywords: Black Economic Empowerment, Affirmative Action, Africanisation, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria

Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and Employment Equity in South Africa are rarely seen in comparison to developments in this field in other African countries. Jackson (2004: 251, 274) even claims that South African management rejected the idea that there could be anything to learn from the management experience of its African neighbours. But the historical cases of Ghana and Nigeria reveal that, despite geographical and political differences between

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