Cultural Influences on African Management Practices

Africa is obviously not one country or society and it is easy to find substantial variations with respect to cultural elements as one travels around a vast continent with over 50 countries and a multitude of colonial backgrounds, economic systems and physical environments.  In fact, Edoho has commented that Africa probably has a greater degree of ethnic, cultural, and linguistic pluralism than any other continent.  For example, a country, or sub-region thereof, may develop very different organizations and cultural characteristics based on its unique combination of exposures to cultural elements from local traditions, Islam, and Western civilizations.  Also, the particular culture and language that a region may have absorbed from its colonial occupiers (e.g., English, French or Portugese) almost certain creates differences in attitudes and organizations, particularly the regulatory framework.  Finally, religion is an important aspect of life throughout the African continent.  All this being understood, however, researchers have argued that there are similarities among African countries with respect to cultural values, beliefs and rituals at the societal level and this report provides a summary description of some of the common characteristics of societal culture in Africa in the context of providing advice on how to “manage” African business culture.

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