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Organization Behaviour in African Organizations: Employee and Managerial Issues

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Managerial Psychology



Guest Editors
Dr. Stella M. Nkomo, Department of Human Resource Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa ([email protected])
Dr. David A. Zoogah, Earl Graves Business School, Morgan State University, USA ([email protected])
Dr.  Samuel  Mafabi , Makerere Business School. Uganda
([email protected])

Africa with a population of over 1 billion is the second most populous continent on the planet after Asia.  Recent economic forecasts for the continent point to its rising presence in the global marketplace.  Although commodities and natural resources have always been viewed as the primary means for Africa’s development, its greatest untapped resource in the 21st century may well be its people (Jackson, 2004).  A recent review of published research on management in Africa from 1960 to the present found a number of articles on micro issues in Africa.  However, while the topics ranged from job satisfaction to diversity, there was insufficient depth in most to warrant meaningful conclusions (Zoogah and Nkomo, forthcoming).  There remains an urgent need for additional research based on insight into the challenges and issues managers encounter in mobilizing the talent of the continent’s workforce (Kamoche, 2011).  Africa’s diversity in terms of socio-economic status and culture suggest the complexity of and potential range of pertinent micro organization behaviour and psychological research needing scholarly exploration. 

Existing research suggests managing people in Africa is strongly influenced by socio-economic factors, culture,   demographics, the growing influence of multinationals seeking new ventures and markets on the continent as well as the impact powerful African nations like Nigeria and South Africa are having on business and development.   The trade between Brazil, Russia, India and China has risen to over $ 200 billion in recent years.  China views Africa as the key to its global rise and is investing heavily in the continent.  Some have begun to wonder about the influence China will have on the management of people as it establishes businesses and trade across the continent (Lumumba-Kasonga, 2010; Jackson, 2012). 

Cultural values and traditions are thought to account for differences in the attitudes and behaviours of workers and managers.  In contrast to the largely individualistic cultures of developed nations, researchers have pointed to Africa’s collectivist values and humane orientation (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman & Gupta, 2004).  Yet, migration patterns in Africa suggest a growing movement of people from traditionally rural areas to large urban centers.  At the same time, a large proportion of the African labour force is employed in unskilled or semi-skilled jobs while a significant number subsist through informal economic activities.  Low wages, high unemployment in some countries combine with strong extended family values to place strain upon African employees far beyond the typical nuclear family understanding of work-family conflict.   Africa also has a significant youth population.   Fourteen of the fifteen youngest countries in the world are in Africa.  This demographic trend may have significant implications for understanding worker psychology.  

Research has suggested that organizational and people management still reflect some of the autocratic and highly bureaucratic management practices established during colonial rule in many nations.  These practices were devised to serve colonial needs with little regard to indigenous cultures or the development of a cadre of managers (Kiggundu, 1991).   Most post-colonial nations in Africa are still trying to find effective ways of managing, motivating and developing a workforce to realise the continent’s economic and social potential.  

In this special issue, we are seeking micro-oriented manuscripts that provide insight into the issues related to managing people in African organizations.   We invite contributions that are empirical as well as theoretical that provide new knowledge, particularly on untapped topics.  Manuscripts that address the key contemporary influences on managerial, industrial psychology, and human resources practices in Africa are particularly welcome.  However, the emphasis is on individual and small group, not organizational level analysis.  We invite authors to contact us about their ideas for contributions by   so that we can provide feedback on their suitability for this special issue.

The key themes and foci that we would like to explore include some of (but not limited to) the following questions:

1) How do the perceptions of employees influence interactions and outcomes in African organizations?
3)  How do employees and organizations manage identity?
4)  What diversity forms and effects exist in African organizations?
5)  What personality forms and dynamics manifest and how do they affect organizations?
6)  How do affective responses of employees influence interactions and behaviour?
7)  What are the forms of stress and responses of employees?
8)  What traditional motivational mechanisms are employed in organizations?
10)  How do politicking behaviour of employees influence interactions and organizational outcomes?
11)  What traditional leadership mechanisms are used in organizations?
12)  How do teams and team dynamics function in African organizations?
13)  What forms, processes, and outcomes of managerial decisions occur in African organizations?
14)  What forms of conflict occur in the workplace?
15)  What traditional communication processes occur in African organizations and how do they contribute to organizational effectiveness?
16)  What new organizational forms exist in Africa and what effects do these have on employees?
17)  How do corporate cultures interact with traditional and modern cultures in African organizations?

Researchers must distinguish the contextual characteristics of their studies (see Zoogah, 2008) and the contribution of their study to theory development (Brief, 2003; Conlon, 2002; Colquitt & Zapata-Phelan, 2007; Corley & Gioia, 2011; Kilduff, 2006; Whetten, 1990). Using Colquitt and Zapata-Phelan’s (2007) typology, they must explicitly indicate whether and how they are reporters, testers, builders, qualifiers, or expanders. Even though we are interested in showing the unique contribution of Africa to the OB discipline and therefore would prefer expanders, we nonetheless recognize the dearth of OB studies and therefore would welcome reporters, testers, builders, and qualifiers consistent with theoretical contribution (Corley & Gioia, 2011). 

The deadline for receipt of manuscripts is July 1, 2013. Please submit manuscripts in MS Word format via the Manuscript Central system on the journal's website (

Manuscripts are expected to follow the JMP submission guidelines:
For example, all manuscripts must be 6,000 words of text not counting references, tables, etc., and the title must be no more than eight words.
It merits emphasis that an author may not submit a manuscript to the journal describing data or results that have been published in whole or in substantial part elsewhere. The primary reason for this is that duplicate publication distorts the knowledge base in a field, and may lead to erroneous inferences regarding a given phenomenon. Authors for whom English is not their first language are encouraged strongly to use Emerald Publishing Editing Services prior to submitting their manuscripts. Information abut these services can be found at

 This special issue is open and competitive. Submitted papers will undergo the normal rigorous, double-blind review process to ensure relevance and quality. Thus, all manuscripts will be subject to double blind peer-reviews. Interested authors are encouraged to send questions or a short description of their proposed manuscript to the Guest Editor, Stella Nkomo ([email protected]). This will facilitate a timely planning of the special issue. Please send all questions about submission requirements, formatting, etc. to Kay Wilkinson ([email protected]), the JMP Administrator.  

Brief, A. 2003. Editor’s comments: AMR—The often misunderstood journal. Academy of Management Review, 28: 7–8.
Colquitt, J. A., & Zapata-Phelan, C. P. (2007). Trends in Theory Building and Theory Testing: A Five-Decade Study of the Academy of Management Journal. Academy of Management Journal, 50 (6):1281–1303.
Conlon, E. 2002. Editor’s comments. Academy of Management Review, 27: 489–492.
Corley, K. G., & Gioia, D. A. (2011). Building Theory About Theory Building: What constitutes a theoretical contribution? Academy of Management Review, 36 (1): 12–32.
House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. and Gupta, V., eds (2004) Leadership, Culture, and Organizations: The Globe Study of 62 Societies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
 Jackson, T. (2004) Management and Change in Africa: A Cross-cultural Perspective. London: Routledge.

Jackson, T.  (2012)  Postcolonialism and Organizational Knowledge in the Wake of China’s Presence in Africa: Interrogating South-South Relations, Organization: the critical journal of organization, theory and society, 19: 181-204.

Kamoche, K. (2011).  Contemporary developments in the management of human resources in Africa.  Journal of World Business, 46: 1-4.
Kiggundu, M. N. (1991) ‘The Challenges of Management Development in Sub-Saharan Africa’, Journal of Management Development 10(6): 32–47
Kilduff, M. 2006. Editor’s comments: Publishing theory. Academy of Management Review, 31: 252–255.
Lumumba-Kasongo, T. (2010) ‘Foreword on “China in Africa”’, African and Asian Studies 9: 201–6.
Whetten, D. A. 1990. Editor’s comments: Personal comments. Academy of Management Review, 15: 578–583.
Zoogah, D. B. and Nkomo, S. M. (forthcoming).  Management Research in Africa:  Past, Present and Future Possibilities.  In T. Lituchy, B J Punnett, & B Puplampu (eds) Management in Africa:  Macro and Micro Perspectives.  New York: Rutledge Publishes.
Zoogah, D. B. (2008). African Business Research: A Review of Studies Published in the Journal of African Business and a Framework for Enhancing Future Studies. Journal of African Business, 9(1): 219-255.