HRM in Africa: Understanding New Scenarios and Challenges in an Emerging Economy [1st ed.] 9783030471279, 9783030471286

This book explores the effective management of HR functions in an African context. While previous research has thoroughl

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Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xix
Introduction (John E. Opute)....Pages 1-15
Recruitment and Selection (John E. Opute)....Pages 17-30
Training and Development (John E. Opute)....Pages 31-37
Appraisal, Rewards and Promotion (John E. Opute)....Pages 39-55
Succession Planning (John E. Opute)....Pages 57-62
Management of Disputes, Exits and Retirement (John E. Opute)....Pages 63-71
Conclusion (John E. Opute)....Pages 73-87
Back Matter ....Pages 89-92
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HRM in Africa Understanding New Scenarios and Challenges in an Emerging Economy

HRM in Africa

John E. Opute

HRM in Africa Understanding New Scenarios and Challenges in an Emerging Economy

John E. Opute London South Bank Business School London South Bank University London, UK

ISBN 978-3-030-47127-9 ISBN 978-3-030-47128-6


© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover illustration: © Melisa Hasan This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

In memory of my parents—Chief John Agidigbo Opute and Mrs. Janet Odinde Opute (Nee Oyita), who suffered and laboured that I might not suffer.


Africa has in the last decade become an increasingly significant continent in terms of its global economic and political significance, but this has not been reflected in the literature evaluating and explaining this development. Therefore, this book is a welcome addition towards providing a particular, and under-researched, focus on ‘Human Resource Management’ (HRM) issues pertinent to a selected number of African countries. In particular, the book comes at a time where Africa is becoming a significant contributor towards global wealth which is increasingly, in terms of global output, shifting towards emerging economies. This is reflected by the number of countries, China being an excellent example, and economic pertinent areas, such as the European Union, establishing partnerships with African countries. Africa itself continues to be marked by changes impacting on the population—the continuing boom in population growth coupled to the steady increase of urbanisation having a profound effect. However, as the author clearly demonstrates, Africa is not homogenous; it is a complex and diverse continent composed of dramatic differences in the socio-economic and political structures, its multiple




individual countries manifest. The book boldly selects a number of these countries, illustrating not only vast geographical differences but also, and importantly, clear societal and cultural differentiations: Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, Sudan, Zambia and Sierra Leone; in effect the countries selected span West, East, North and South Africa. These countries share the overall global economic influence on their countries, as well as the major difficulties arising from the new production revolution, the creation of new markets and, of course, the search for ‘green growth’ models as a response to climate change. It is in this context, that the internalisation of management and the related HRM procedures and issues in the selected African context are analysed and explained by the author, an essential understanding required for managers from outside Africa focused on human resource (HR) functions. The book, in this respect, makes a unique contribution which should inspire further research and publications on these HR (and related) functions. Given the enormous diversity and convolutions of African countries, the book’s selected country examples illustrate the intricate tasks international managers are confronted with when engaged in business and management. The book has rationally focused on a number of key HRM topics—recruitment and selection, training and development, appraisal/rewards and promotion, succession planning, management of disputes/exists and retirement. These key aspects of HRM are highlighted and discussed in the framework of the selected countries’ cultural prerogatives and differences—a crucial factor in understanding and managing the immense diversity of organisations. In addition, the author succeeds in linking the infrastructure of the HRM process, that is, for example, the specific pertinent legislation and regulations, to the wider national context of the African states employed in his analysis, thus the impact of culture on shaping political ideologies is clearly demonstrated. There is, of course, an extensive corpus of literature which has examined culture in relation to business systems, employee relations and HRM as a consequence of the globalisation phenomenon. However, the author’s focus on specific African countries, as related to a designated set of significant HRM issues, provides a new cultural perspective. It emphasises the fundamental realisation that Western managers, for example, operating in an African context need to



include an understanding of cultural differences between the diversity of African nations. Concepts of culture in the context of international management are diverse but a predominant consideration is that it is holistic. The book clearly recognises this in the detail it provides on the deeper impacts from historical evolution, political and economic systems and social values and configurations shaping behavioural attitudes. It is this complex matrix that management confronts when engaging with employees and in Africa, the political spectrum ranges from political democratic structures, such as in Ghana, to the constraints imposed by internal conflicts, such as the civil war in Sudan. With the multiple and varied influences, and the dynamic nature of these components, the impact on management dealing with HRM is immense. One of the deficiencies in cross-cultural HRM literature has been a systematic approach to contextualisation and the value of this in understanding organisational behaviour. The various managerial strategies, placed in a contextual framework, in the selected African countries in this book provide an exceptional guide. The efficacy of the advancement of democratic structures in African societies is distinctly related to the procedures and processes instituted at, for example, the company level. As an example, Nigeria provides an illustration of a country where individual companies have evolved participatory structures, allowing employees to exercise a modest influence. At the same time the trade unions continue to drive towards a formal impact by employees through labour laws and regulations. The right for collective representation of employees, through trade unions, is a fundamental democratic feature and is by no means universal in African nations. By examining some of the crucial HRM topics, the book makes transparent how far the gap between the Western manager’s comprehension of democracy and the reality of African practice and perception of democracy is. The examples given are numerous: the practice of nepotism and paternalism in recruitment, the benefits of patronage and support from important people for allocating rewards and promotions. Above all, this is the powerful influence of the individual African country’s political structures and its ramifications—the extent to which these control, or not, corruptions and negative influences on policies and strategies employed in the economy. It is precisely these aspects which



give the book a valuable pragmatic dimension and the insights necessitated by HR managers active in multinational companies and those studying or in need of understanding Africa’s fast-developing economies. It is enhanced by each chapter providing a series of questions allowing the reader to reflect and debate the concrete consequences of analysing the complexities of HR in an African context. Professor Emeritus Karl Koch Business School London South Bank University London, UK


This book has been made possible as a result of my continuing desire to share my over 25 years of working experience in the HR function in local and multinational organisations, with a significant working period in African-based businesses. Apart from having led several HR initiatives, my direct involvement in running a medium-sized manufacturing organisation with responsibility for profit and loss (with all related functional heads—with different national backgrounds reporting to me) provided yet a holistic perspective of people management with all the intricacies. Building on this, I took full advantage of my academic and industry network to interview and hold discussions with a couple of colleagues and their views have also enriched every chapter of the book. Am pleased to provide their details as follows: Zineb El Abbassi—Morocco: Worked for 3 years as Business Analyst/Communities Lead in Morocco and holds a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and International Development. Currently a research student at Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain.




Julius Nye Cuffie—Sierra Leone: A lawyer by profession with over 14 years of practising experience in Sierra Leone and currently runs his chambers. His high level of contact with the societal issues and various government institutions are evident in his contribution. Negroes Dube—Zambia: Has over 10 years’ industry experience and currently a lecturer at the University of the Arts, London. Negroes has extensive working experience with multinational organisations and has held various senior management positions. Wisdom Ekereuke—Nigeria: Worked for 6 years as HR professional in the Cross-River State (Nigeria) Civil Service and graduated with MSc International HRM from London South Bank University, London. His recent research efforts are in the area of employee voice in public and non-formal employment sectors. Kolapo Oluyinka Abiola—Nigeria: A graduate of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development from University of Ibadan and currently a researcher at Federal College of Agriculture, Akure, Nigeria. Mercy Fimpong—Ghana: Worked for over 16 years as a sales consultant and currently as the business owner of a private company. She graduated with M.Sc. International HRM from London South Bank University, London. Mona Mohammed—Sudan: Has over 10 years’ general management experience in the Biomedical engineering industry in Sudan and currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in Strategic Business and Marketing. Uzoamaka Ibekwe—Nigeria: She is a Doctorate researcher at London South Bank University, London. Her area of research/interest is Smalland Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in developing economies and the interplay with the HR function. Kabiru Ayinde Oyetunde—Nigeria: Has over 6 years’ industry experience in the HR function and currently an Academic/Researcher at London South Bank University, London. Kabiru has interest in public service administration with several years of experience in the public sector and industry.



Ghita Souissi—Morocco: Worked as HR Intern for 4 years, a graduate of National School of Business and Management (ENCG) in Morocco and currently pursuing a second postgraduate degree in Business Strategy and Marketing at Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain.

London, UK

John E. Opute



Introduction Background Country Profile Ghana Nigeria Morocco Sudan Zambia Sierra Leone Structure of the Book References

1 2 6 6 6 8 9 10 12 13 14


Recruitment and Selection Background Contemporary Human Resources Empirical Data on Current Recruitment and Selection Practices Conclusions and Implications

17 18 22 23 27




Discussion Questions References 3 Training and Development Background Contemporary Human Resources Empirical Data on Current Training and Development Practices Conclusions and Implications Discussion Questions References 4

28 29 31 32 33 34 35 36 37

Appraisal, Rewards and Promotion Background Contemporary Human Resources Empirical Data on Current Appraisal, Rewards and Promotion Practices Conclusions and Implications Discussion Questions References

39 40 43 45 47 53 54


Succession Planning Background Contemporary Human Resources Empirical Data on Current Succession Planning Practices Conclusions and Implications Discussion Questions References

57 58 59 60 61 62 62


Management of Disputes, Exits and Retirement Background Contemporary Human Resources Empirical Data on Management of Disputes, Exits and Retirement Practices

63 64 66 67




Conclusions and Implications Discussion Questions References

69 70 71

Conclusion The Role of Government, Public and Private Organisations Politics and Economy Culture/Socio-Economic Environment Technology SMEs and the State Implication for Industrial Relations Transformation of Collective Bargaining Academic Literature/Research References



74 75 76 79 80 81 82 83 85 89

About the Author

John E. Opute, Ph.D., M.B.A., SFHEA, ACMI, Academic MCIPD is Senior Lecturer/Course Director, Postgraduate HR Programmes at London South Bank University, London, with over 25 years’ industry experience. His working experience and education spans across Africa, North America and Europe. John’s working experience has been in HRM and he has also held senior management positions with extensive working experience earned in multinomial enterprises.


1 Introduction

Abstract Labour relations took the central place in all the struggles for democracy and so the initial outcome of the democratic process was extended to the labour relations in many developing economies albeit this faced different contours (Nkomo in Organization 18: 365– 386, 2011; Ayittey in Africa Betrayed . St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1992). Some of these are related to imperialism that took a prominent place in several African countries and robbed the continent of some key cultural underpinnings (Hack-Polay “Compassionate Investment?— Diaspora Contribution to Poverty Alleviation in Francophone West Africa” in African Diaspora Direct Investment: Establishing the Economic and Socio-cultural Rationale. Palgrave, London, 2018; Fanon in The Wretched of the Earth. New York, Grove Weidenfeld, 1963). This book is an exploratory effort on examining some of the perceived contextual issues that impact the management of some topical HR functions in most developing economies (with focus on Africa). The structure of the book is novel and captures the background, contemporary HR approaches, country perspectives, conclusions and implications as well as topical and discussion questions to capture the essence of each chapter. For many international students and multinational corporations with presence in Africa that are desirous to investigate appropriate approaches © The Author(s) 2020 J. E. Opute, HRM in Africa,



J. E. Opute

to managing the HR function, this book will serve as an outstanding ‘companion’ in the management of HRM. Keywords Labour relations · Democracy · Developing economies · Africa · HR functions

Background The scramble for Africa was the occupation, division and colonisation of African territory by European powers during the period between 1881 and 1914 and this lasted until the late 1950s and early 1960s when independence was gradually being achieved by the respective states. Colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism have given rise to modern organisations in Africa which mirrors the organisation of work in the former colonial powers, mainly Britain, France, Portugal and Spain. Contemporary organisations in Africa are therefore a legacy of domination. These were likely to cause disruptions to the societal and organisational arrangements, including labour relations and the sourcing and management of people. Although contemporary HR issues at the local/country levels are discussed on a contemporary basis, there are no in-depth discussions on specific HR roles and functions neither do such texts delve into African nations and the emerging challenges (Kamoche 2011). Therefore, at the company level it is obvious that the HR function should seek to understand the impact of a company’s international operations on HRM (Wintersberger 2017). Unfortunately, this is somewhat descriptive insofar as it describes what is going on in different countries. With several countries in Africa now independent, it should be recognised that these states were previously under colonial rules and it is worth investigating if the effect of the colonial rule remains prevalent and whether these can be examined from a comparative narration and to investigate the similarities, differences and the extent to which these past experiences influence labour relations in Africa and in particular, the management of the applicable HR functions. Labour relations is a significant area in which these recent developments have had a dramatic impact, and redefining relationships between institutional structures, decision-making processes and the key actors in the industrial relations

1 Introduction


system is essential in this new global environment. Concomitant with this understanding is the recognition that an effective human resource and labour relations system is an important determinant of economic performance. The book draws the attention to the need for management and labour processes which are congruent with African values but at the same time can respond to the constraints of globalisation as a way of enhancing the sustainability of contemporary African organisations. Africa is taking a central stage in world affairs, and the effective management of the HR function will contribute to business efficacy in a globalised world. The uniqueness of the project is in understanding the HR function from the perspective of crucial contextual issues, such as technology, politics, culture and economy. It highlights the important roles these contextual issues play in the understanding and management of the HR function in many African countries. In particular, the project will focus on those key HR initiatives that have attracted several scenarios and challenges for which the understanding of current developments will be revealing. Nevertheless, it highlights the theoretical underpinnings but focuses much more on the relevance and practicality of these HR issues from the perspective of the identified contextual issues. For many international students including those willing to explore Management or/and HR positions in developing economies or desire to work for international/multinational organisations, this book will serve as an outstanding ‘companion’ in the management of HRM. The project is much more definitive on the selection of pertinent HR issues and how technology, socio-economic, cultural and political developments impact on the selected topics from a practical perspective. Several texts discuss HR from a broad perspective concentrating on the traditional HR functions/issues and at best delving into a comparative perspective. The text also takes an abridged approach to identifying the similarities and differences across Saharan and Sub-Saharan Africa with respect to these contextual issues rather than a comparative approach based on traditional HR topics. There is an abundance of text dealing with the subject of HR from an intentional perspective in relation to the traditional HR function such as recruitment, selection and talent management and much more of how culture and the institutional factors impact on these approaches.


J. E. Opute

Additionally, employee relations are discussed generally to cover other human resource functions and the role of multinational enterprises in diffusing HR best practice from the home country to the host countries within which they operate, hence leading to distinct HRM outcomes in different countries. Another observation is that various texts in international HRM tend to drift to application as it relates with management of expatriates to improve expatriation but somewhat limited focus on how the multinational enterprise can benefit from understanding the challenging contextual issues from a host country perspective. Furthermore, Harzing and Pinnington (2015) make the case for the three main strands of research in the field of international HRM to cover cross-cultural management, comparative management and international management and HQ subsidiary relationships but admit that the legislation, political, economic, institutional and cultural differences between nations can all influence local practice. Malik (2018) supports this preposition that HRM is at least partly a function of the societal effect. Many other texts (Harzing and Pinnington 2015; Tarique et al. 2016) take a similar narration. On the strategic international HRM front, the human resource function examines the application of HR concepts and practices such as Best practice, Best fit, Resource base and the accompanying strategic choices but focusing more on application, that is, how managers implement HRM and employment relations in a given institutional environment (Malik 2018). Furthermore, these texts approach the subject of HRM from a broad perspective, examining the traditional topics of HRM with focus on implications for multinational companies and taking a comparative approach to the practice of HR from a country perspective. It does not address specific HR issues and topics that are traditionally influenced by specific contextual issues (such as culture, politics, socio-economic and technology) which commonly cut across nearly every country in Africa but in varying proportions or applications. There is therefore a significant focus on discussions relating to convergence versus divergence, exportative, adaptative and integrative strategies as well as hard and soft goals as it relates to expatriate orientation and management. To the credit of these texts, there is useful exposition on culture and cross-cultural management and the transfer and suitability of employment practices across

1 Introduction


borders in multinational enterprises albeit what matters in the context seems missing, particularly with respect to the African nations (Opute et al. 2020; Mwaniki and Gathenya 2015; Kamoche 2011). The project addresses specific ‘down-to-earth’ HR issues (particularly from an empirical perspective, reflecting specific country applications in some countries in Africa—covering the western, eastern, northern and southern Africa) that are normally central to developing economies, which have been neglected or relegated to the background in most publications or mainly from a theoretical perspective. Additionally, the examples capture new developments on HR issues. The unique points are reiterated as follows: i. The book addresses key HR topics that have been relegated to the background or have received limited discussions. ii. The book relates politics, culture, socio-economic and technological developments and their relevance to these issues. This is a rare approach. iii. The book goes beyond a theoretical discussion of concepts and employs empirical discussions. These texts also do not sufficiently address HR topics which challenge participation and engagement in the workplace. In contrast, the project delves into those contextual issues that can impact on the management of HR as well as the understanding of how these contextual issues can be accommodated in the management of the HR function. In this respect, the project identifies key HR issues that most texts neglect or fail to pay adequate attention from an empirical approach. The contributors to this text may not be authors of specific HR functions (as may be the case in several international texts) but they share experiences based on engagement with the HR function at company and country levels in their roles as HR practitioners. Nevertheless, this text will complement various international HRM texts to the extent that it improves awareness of the complexity and challenges of managing HRM in Africa in the twenty-first century.


J. E. Opute

Country Profile The interviews and discussions with colleagues from some African countries have enriched the empirical data of the book. The author has compiled some background information to provide a broad perspective of the countries to cover political, economic/socio-economic, infrastructural and cultural issues over the years.

Ghana In 1957 Ghana became the first African country to achieve independence from a European colonial power, and today it is one of the continent’s most vibrant democracies. The 2016 elections saw Nana Akufo-Addo, then president, speak to voter dissatisfaction with the economy, which at the time was suffering from the protracted downturn in global prices of its chief commodity exports. The election was thus fought on an issue affecting all Ghanaians, rather than on sectarian grounds, whilst the exemplary behaviour of both presidential candidates and their supporters in the transfer of power also indicated the growing strength of democratic governance in the country. With a GDP of GHS256.6bn ($55.4bn) at the end of 2018, Ghana is also a contender to become the year’s fastestgrowing economy worldwide. As it tries to move away from traditional resource dependency, the country now faces the challenge of ensuring the widest benefit from that expansion, particularly given its growing and increasingly urbanised population.

Nigeria A key regional player in West Africa, Nigeria accounts for about half of West Africa’s population with approximately 202 million people and one of the largest populations of youth in the world. Nigeria is a multiethnic and culturally diverse federation which consists of 36 autonomous states and the Federal Capital Territory. With an abundance of natural resources, it is Africa’s biggest oil exporter, and has the largest natural gas reserves on the continent.

1 Introduction


Nigeria has emerged as Africa’s largest economy, with a GDP in 2017 estimated at US$508 billion. Oil has been a dominant source of government revenues since the 1970s. Regulatory constraints and security risks have limited new investment in oil and natural gas, and Nigeria’s oil production contracted in 2012 and 2013. Nevertheless, the Nigerian economy has continued to grow at a rapid 6–8% per annum, driven by growth in agriculture, telecommunications and services. Oil price volatility continues to influence Nigeria’s growth performance. Between 2000 and 2014, Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average rate of 7% per year. Following the oil price collapse in 2014–2016, combined with negative production shocks, the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate dropped to 2.7% in 2015. In 2016 during its first recession in 25 years, the economy contracted by 1.6%. Since 2015, economic growth remains muted. Growth averaged 1.9% in 2018 and remained stable at 2% in the first half of 2019. Domestic demand remains constrained by stagnating private consumption in the context of high inflation (11% in the first half of 2019). On the production side, growth in 2019 was primarily driven by services, particularly telecoms. Agricultural growth remains below potential due to continued insurgency in the Northeast and ongoing farmer–herdsmen conflicts. Industrial performance is mixed. Oil GDP growth is stable, whilst manufacturing production is expected to slow down in 2019 due to a weaker power sector performance. Food and drink output are expected to increase, likely in response to import restrictions. Construction continues to perform positively, supported by ongoing megaprojects, higher public investment in the first half of the year and import restrictions. Growth is too low to lift the bottom half of the population out of poverty. The weakness of the agriculture sector weakens prospects for the rural poor, whilst high food inflation adversely impacts the livelihoods of the urban poor. Despite expansion in some sectors, employment creation remains weak and insufficient to absorb the fast-growing labour force, resulting in high rate of unemployment (23% in 2018), with another 20% of the labour force underemployed. Furthermore, the instability in the North and the resulting displacement of people contribute to the high incidence of poverty in the North East.


J. E. Opute

Without significant structural policy reforms, Nigeria’s medium-term growth is projected to remain stable around 2%. Given that the economy is expected to grow more slowly than the population, living standards are expected to worsen. Growth is constrained by a weak macroeconomic framework with high persistent inflation, multiple exchange rate windows and forex restrictions, distortionary activities by the central bank and a lack of revenue-driven fiscal consolidation results. Rising public debt and increasingly complex policy interventions by the central bank constrain private sector credit growth.

Morocco One of the most developed countries in Africa, Morocco is a melting pot of indigenous Berber, African, Arab and European influences. Due to its strategic location and proximity to Europe, the kingdom has been able to accommodate its cultural diversity in a stable and politically inclusive system. The kingdom possesses North Africa’s only constitutional monarchy and has fortified its position as an international trade centre by increasingly liberalising its economy and attracting foreign investment. If the country can sustain its balancing act of working to provide domestic freedoms and opportunity whilst maintaining security, it is likely to remain a leading regional power. Morocco has not only deepened its economic and security ties with the EU but also with the Gulf states and China. Most recently, the kingdom rejoined the African Union after a 30-year hiatus. Morocco’s economy is diversified, particularly relative to many other countries in the MENA region. Both the agricultural and the tourism sectors are major contributors to the economy, with the former generating 40% of the employment and the latter accounting for roughly 8% of GDP. Manufacturing industries, including textiles, automotive and aeronautics, are also highly developed. In addition, the kingdom’s ICT sector has seen significant expansion, creating new employment opportunities, whilst investment in transport and infrastructure and the establishment of a free trade zone have boosted competitiveness.

1 Introduction


Despite the kingdom’s dependence on agriculture for strong GDP growth, efforts to strengthen other export sectors, coupled with diversification of trading partners, have allowed Morocco to develop a variety of competitive industries and increase their presence in international markets. Traditional segments such as phosphate production remain important, but a range of emerging manufacturing capabilities are helping to promote growth across a broader base of activities. Morocco has seen a recent influx of investment that has been translated into various projects, such as new industrial and infrastructure developments. With an emphasis on diversifying its commercial partners, Morocco’s African strategy has been raising the kingdom’s political and economic profile and extending its clout across the continent.

Sudan Sudan has significant natural resources, but since independence its economy has been constrained by civil war, debt and mismanagement. Although it has recently turned its economy around with sound economic policies and infrastructure investments, it still faces formidable economic problems, one of them the low level of per capita output. Since 1997 Sudan has been implementing International Monetary Fund (IMF) macroeconomic reforms. In 1999, Sudan began exporting crude oil and in the last quarter of 1999 recorded its first trade surplus, which, along with improvements in monetary policy, has stabilised the exchange rate. Increased oil production, revived light industry and expanded export processing zones yielded gross domestic product (GDP) growth of an estimated 5.9% in 2003. Agriculture remains Sudan’s most important sector; however, most farming is rain-fed and susceptible to drought. Oil production continues to rise annually and in 2003 constituted more than 80% of export earnings. Chronic instability, including the long-standing civil war between the Muslim North and the Christian/traditionalist South, the current rebellion in Darfur, adverse weather and weak world agricultural prices ensure that much of the population remains at or below the poverty line. Sudan also suffers from endemic corruption, an


J. E. Opute

undeveloped and neglected physical infrastructure and a financial system still in need of major reform. Wealth is concentrated in the central Nile corridor region, the northern, eastern, southern and western regions being markedly less prosperous. Gross Domestic Product (GDP): GDP was US$12 billion in 2001 and was estimated at US$13.4 billion in 2002 and US$15.4 billion in 2003. Per capita GDP was about US$415 in 2002. Since 1999, economic growth has averaged about 6% annually, helping account for an estimated doubling in the size of the economy between 1996 and 2003. In 2003 estimates, GDP by sector was: agriculture, 39%; industry, 19%; and services, 4%. Government Budget: The budget has been in chronic deficit from the early 1980s, largely as a result of outlays for military campaigns against the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. With the advent of the structural adjustment programme in 1997, new fiscal controls combined with new revenues from the oil sector reduced the deficit from nearly 13% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1990 to less than 1% in and after the late 1990s. In 2002, total revenue amounted to Sudanese dinars (SD) 470.6 billion (US$1.8 billion), and expenditures to SD503.4 (US$1.9 billion), including capital expenditures of SD118.6 billion (US$450 million). The deficit amounted to SD32.8 billion (US$125 million). Inflation: Sudan experienced high rates of inflation during the early 1990s, reaching 133% in 1996. Since then, rates have declined through double digits to 8.4% in 2002 and 7.8% in 2003. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing: Of which, Agriculture is the most important.

Zambia The territory of Northern Rhodesia was administered by the South African Company from 1891 until takeover by the UK in 1923. During the 1920s and 1930s, advances in mining spurred development and immigration. The name was changed to Zambia upon independence in 1964.

1 Introduction


In the 1980s and 1990s, declining copper prices and a prolonged drought hurt the economy. Elections in 1991 brought an end to oneparty rule, but the subsequent vote in 1996 saw blatant harassment of opposition parties. Zambia is large and landlocked in the centre of southern Africa. It shares several of its key geographical and economic features with neighbouring Zimbabwe—the Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba (and its hydroelectric capacity) and a stretch of the Zambezi River. It also borders the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika and Tanzania, as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Botswana, Mozambique and Malawi. Its population, much of it urban, is estimated at about 16.5 million (2016). Zambia, Africa’s second largest copper producer, achieved middleincome country status in 2011 during a decade (2004–2014) of impressive economic growth, averaging 7.4% per year. However, growth only benefitted a small segment of the urban population and had limited impact on poverty. The Zambian economy grew by 3.7% in 2018 compared to 3.5% in 2017. The slight increase in growth reflects strong performance of services (wholesale and retails, pensions and information and communication). However, faster recovery was undermined by lower crop harvest and weak fiscal performance that led to an accumulation of new public expenditure arrears and government domestic borrowing at high yields and impacted private sector activity. Agricultural sector growth was negative, reflecting overall poor harvests in the 2017–2018 farming season. Public and publicly guaranteed (PPG) debt has nearly quadrupled from 20.5% of GDP in 2011 to 78.1% of GDP in 2018, driven by the accumulation of both external and domestic debt. The debt composition has also significantly shifted towards commercial and Non-Paris Club bilateral creditors, exacerbating the country’s exposure to exchange rate and market risks. Overall PPG debt is expected to increase to 98% of GDP by 2020, whilst external public and publicly guaranteed debt service obligations over 2019–2021 are estimated at $4.6 billion. The 2019 WB/IMF Debt Sustainability Analysis concludes that Zambia’s risk of overall and external debt distress remains very high and that public


J. E. Opute

debt under the current policies is on an unsustainable path. Zambia is considered a stable country in Africa with successful democratic elections held every five years. The next elections will be held in 2021.

Sierra Leone Sierra Leone, a country in West Africa, has a special significance in the history of the transatlantic slave trade as the departure point for thousands of West African captives. The capital, Freetown, was founded as a home for repatriated former slaves in 1787. Sierra Leone, officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north, Liberia to the south-east and the Atlantic Ocean to the south-west. Sierra Leone has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savannah to rainforests. Sierra Leone has a total area of 71,740 km2 and an estimated population of 6 million (2011 United Nations estimate). Freetown is the capital, largest city and the economic and political centre. Bo is the second largest city. The other major cities in the country with a population above 100,000 are Kenema, Makeni and Koidu Town. Sierra Leone is divided into four geographical regions: The Northern Province, Eastern Province, Southern Province and the Western Area, which are further divided into fourteen districts. But the country’s modern history has been overshadowed by a brutal civil war that ended in 2002 with the help of Britain, the former colonial power, and a large United Nations peacekeeping mission. Sierra Leone has experienced substantial economic growth in recent years, although the ruinous effects of the civil war continue to be felt. The country is also rich in diamonds and other minerals. The trade in illicit gems, known as ‘blood diamonds’, for their role in funding conflicts, perpetuated the civil war. The government has sought to crack down on the trade.

1 Introduction


Structure of the Book The book is divided into five main chapters which are centred on selected HR functions, as follows: Recruitment and Selection, Training and Development, Appraisal/Rewards and Promotion, Succession Planning and Management of Disputes/Exits and Retirement. Each chapter is presented as follows: i. Background: This provides a historical background to the subject and examines the developments and challenges faced with the management of the function from the point of view of developing economies in Africa. It examines the role played by various institutional arrangements as well as the differentiations on how the functions are managed in the public and private sectors of the economy. ii. Contemporary Human Resources: This aspect discusses the broad understanding of the respective HR functions, mainly from a theoretical and academic viewpoint and highlights the various approaches that are open to the management of the respective functions, including the challenges inherent in each approach. Furthermore, it elucidates the challenges faced by the HR practitioner and management with respect to aligning these functions to corporate strategy of the organisations. iii. Empirical data on current HR practices: In this section, an across the board empirical contribution is provided to examine the array of approaches to the respective functions by various scholars with exposure to the respective countries. These contributions are resulting from HR/Managerial assignments in the respective countries and backed with some research activities in the HR function of the respective countries. This network of colleagues was developed over five years as a result of collaborative activities with four academic institutions in Europe—London South Bank University, London, University Carlos III Madrid, Spain, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain and L’ Universite Professionnelle Internationale, Paris, France. iv. Conclusions and Implications: This section is intended to draw from both the theoretical and empirical literature/perspectives of


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contributors as well as development in the respective subject area. Furthermore, it highlights the critical roles that the contextual issues (politics, culture, technology and social economic situation) play in the management of the HR function and what in the context matters so as to improve the employer and employee engagement and provide a narrative that captures these activities and thus improve company efficacy. v. Discussion Questions: A central goal for the book is to stimulate practical discussions based on the contemporary debate, the various country perspectives, concluding notes and implications therein. The ensuing learning outcomes therefore serve as a learning trajectory for further reflections and applications going forward. vi. Conclusion: The conclusion summarises the learning outcomes of the book and reiterates the contribution and role of key stakeholders as well as the broad implications for politics and economy, culture/socio-economic environment, technology, SMEs, employee/industrial relations, technology, collective bargaining, academic literature and research. This is an exploratory effort on examining some of the perceived contextual issues that impact the management of some topical HR functions in most developing economies (with focus on Africa). The author is convinced that this effort can be complemented by several researchers and HR practitioners.

References Ayittey, G. B. N. (1992). Africa Betrayed . New York: St. Martin’s Press. Fanon, F. (1963). The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Weidenfeld. Hack-Polay, D. (2018). Compassionate Investment?—Diaspora Contribution to Poverty Alleviation in Francophone West Africa. In D. Hack-Polay & J. Siwale (Eds.), African Diaspora Direct Investment: Establishing the Economic and Socio-Cultural Rationale. London: Palgrave. Harzing, A., & Pinnington, A. (2015). International Human Resource Management. London: Sage.

1 Introduction


Kamoche, K. (2011). Contemporary Developments in the Management of Human Resources in Africa. Journal of World Business, 46, 1–4. Malik, A. (2018). Strategic Human Resource Management and Employment Relations: An international perspective. Singapore: Springer. Mwaniki, R., & Gathenya, J. (2015). Role of Human Resource Management Functions on Organisational Performance with Reference to Kenya Power Lighting Company—Nairobi West Region. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 5 (4), 432–448. Nkomo, S. M. (2011). A Postcolonial and Anti-colonial Reading of ‘African’ Leadership and Management in Organization Studies: Tensions, Contradictions and Possibilities. Organization, 18(3), 365–386. Opute, J. E., Hack-Polay, D., & Rahman, M. (2020). Globalisation and HR Practices in Africa: When Culture Refuses to Make Way for So-Called Universalistic Perspectives. International Journal of Business and Globalisation, ISSN 1753–3627. Tarique, I., Briscoe, D., & Schuler, R. (2016). International Human Resource Management: Policies and Practices for Multinational Enterprises. London: Taylor & Francis. Wintersberger, D. (2017). International Human Resource Management: A Case Study Approach. London, UK: Kogan Page.

2 Recruitment and Selection

Abstract One central setback that is common with several organisations in many developing economies is the absence of established policies and procedures. This also extends to planning because there are various external factors that can impact on planning. For example, many organisations importing raw materials struggle with a workable time frame between placing of orders and arrival of the items in the factory. These organisations are therefore forced to juxtapose with seemingly unplanned recruitment and selection procedures such as word of mouth, particularly for lower cadre jobs. The HR function therefore contacts the respective departmental head requesting that qualified candidates be contacted. This approach indirectly creates a platform for unplanned paternalism and nepotism. For more senior positions, the procedure can be better managed because of the restricted numbers being recruited. However, deciding on a proper approach ignores the use of advertisement (which will ordinarily improve the number of possible applicants) but also translates to the problem of managing the huge number of prospective applicants. Most organisations are therefore faced with adopting an approach that can be likened to a policy of ‘whispering’ their vacancies rather than ‘advertising’ the same. © The Author(s) 2020 J. E. Opute, HRM in Africa,



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Keywords Developing economy · Organisation · HR function · Nepotism · Paternalism · Recruitment and selection

Background There is a universalistic view of recruitment and selection as involving attracting potential employees, reduction and selection. At the attraction stage, the organisation will normally invite many applications for vacancies via advertising media such as the internet, newspapers, recommendations, etc. The reduction stage then filters the large number of applications and establishes what is commonly referred to as a shortlist. This is a list of a few candidates that more closely match the person specification. The selection stage involves a series of activities, e.g. interviews, assessment centres, tests, etc., which help establish the candidates’ suitability and culminates in the appointment of the most suitable candidate(s). To talk about recruitment and selection in Africa cannot be divorced from the examination of local labour markets and overall local economic and political contexts. Most African labour markets are loose markets with far more people available for work than the number of actual job vacancies. The surplus of labour is undeniably one of the critical factors that triggers some of the most deeply rooted particularistic practices in African organisations (Akinnusi 1991). Attracting and selecting potential employees in Africa has often been reduced to its basic skeleton level. Due to the existence of a surplus of labour, organisations do not feel the pressure to compete against each other to reach a reasonable staffing level. Thus, recruitment will often be a matter of word of mouth or recommendations. When a vacancy arises, those already within the organisation have access to first-hand information about the job and tell others in the surroundings, usually family members and close friends. Certainly, such particularistic practices help in reducing cost but whether they engender the acquisition of the right people is questionable. Youth unemployment remains a central issue for both developed and developing economies; the latter, however, is a particular issue in Africa where it stands at 21%, considerably higher than the world average of

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14%, although below the first ranked Middle East and North Africa which has average youth unemployment of 25.6%. Significantly, in demographic terms there are a high proportion of young people, between the ages of 15 and 24, taking the United Nations definition of youth, in the African population; a segment of the population which is growing at a concerning rate. In addition, it needs to be emphasised that the nature of youth employment in general (and in Sub-Saharan Africa in particular) is extremely heterogeneous in terms of gender, geographic distribution and the disparities of low economic growth in individual countries. The labour market in Sub-Saharan Africa presents further problem for youth employment as the formal labour market is small and entry into the sector is difficult. This issue was perfectly illustrated by a survey in South Africa which revealed that 39% of young unemployed people almost gave up searching for work and 47.1% discontinued searching because of lack of work opportunities in their area. The survey also illustrated the minor role played by supporting agencies; only 6.9% had registered at employment agencies or trade unions (Kanyenze et al. 2000). Whilst the survey (like several African surveys) may appear outdated, it points to a pattern of developments in Africa. Youth unemployment in Africa is a consequence of a complex, interdependent set of factors, constrained economic growth, political instabilities, the lack of educational provisions and inadequate social provisions in areas such as health. A comprehensive study on youth employment concluded that a vicious circle of low economic growth leads to a decline of resources, leading to a further reduction of growth. This results in low aggregate demand on the labour market and is linked to low skills amongst young people and the relative size of the youth labour force resulting in youth unemployment (Blanchflower and Freeman 2000). Another feature of recruitment and selection in African organisations is the potential pressure human resource managers can find themselves under. It is not uncommon for these professionals to receive multiple unsolicited phone calls from various people in high political positions requesting them to employ a protégé. Even when no apparent vacancy exists, the HR manager may be required to create a vacancy, however ‘small’ it might be in order to place the recommended person. The ‘head’


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of the manager might be at stake if he or she does not bow to the pressure. Such a practice will lead the organisation to be fatter than it should normally be, i.e. to be over-resourced. Often, this organisation surplus, or what can be referred to as organisational ‘fat’, suffocates the organisation, leading to its death. Probably many defunct African public and private sector organisations experienced such fate. It would, however, be misleading to argue that particularistic practices only originate from political milieus. The collectivistic nature of many African societies is favourable to particularistic recruitment and selection. Collectivism has meant that in most of Africa, the organisation is perceived as an extension of the extended family (Akinnusi 1991). The impact of culture on HRM practices, including recruitment and selection, is also well documented by Budhwar and Debrah (2010). This in term explains why family members who are in a position in companies where they can ‘help’ brothers, sisters, other relatives and close friends, are often under much cultural compulsion or coercion to do so. In such a context, nepotism and favouritism are perceived as normal because, for many in the African continent, charity starts at home. There is also a common assertion that ‘blood is thicker than water’ which suggests that in a desperate employment situation it is more important to help relatives than ‘strangers’. A further issue in recruitment and selection in many African countries is government intervention in the deployment of the workforce. For instance, in Francophone Africa, in many sectors such as education, health services, local government administration, the police, civil service, etc., individuals do not have to apply for jobs. Anglophone Africa is not exempt, and Mpabanga and Lekorwe (2007) have found evidence of widespread practice in the case of the southern African state of Botswana. Work is guaranteed by the government. When trainees complete their initial training programmes, they are deployed to the industry or service sector in a designated geographical area to serve. If they are no longer required there, the government will redeploy them to another location or sector. The implication for local organisations, particularly governmental organisations, is that local managers do not always have a say in the selection process, and therefore cannot test who has the right skills and

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attitudes for their specific location or area of work; they cannot appreciate at the outset who can fit in the organisational or regional culture, who is flexible and adaptable. Within the context of an unwieldy employment situation, promotion is often a matter of who one knows around rather than the real skills pertaining to the employee. In a study of the promotion to headship in secondary and further education institutions in the Ivory Coast, Hack-Polay (2002) found that most aspiring heads will make use of their contacts in ‘high place’ to obtain a position in the next level up the organisational ladder. In effect, whilst it is recognised that recruitment can pursue different approaches, the ensuring challenges restrict the average organisation to following a manageable process and in return provide a situation where the organisation explores external but internal advertisement. This is the process where a position is advertised within the premises of the organisation and relatives and friends then pass the word around for likely applicants. The other common approaches are through poaching and head hunting, but these remain restricted to more senior positions. Organisations are therefore ‘juggling’ around minimising the cost of recruiting competent individuals (taking advantage of the high rate of qualified individuals limited by scarce job openings because of the economic challenges) on the one hand, and also cautious that these candidates will be desirous of building a career with the organisations so when is too qualified a problem on the other hand. The journey of every employee starts at the recruitment and selection stage. For any organisation, this stage is critical because the organisation cannot do better than its employees. The recruitment process centres on all the processes of gathering candidates for a position so this includes application, advertisement (internal and external)—television, internet and radio as well as newspaper advertisements. The selection process relates to choosing from the shortlisted applicants and this could include interviews, workplace test of various types, practical and hands-on examination, observation centres, etc. The application of the relevant process for recruitment and selection has technological implications for many developing economies as well as political considerations. We cannot compromise the recruitment of staff in the organisation but achieving this starts with ensuring we maintain a robust practice


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in the process of recruiting staff and if we must ‘compromise’ for the sake of diversity and inclusiveness, we must put in place a reliable system of training and staff development to ensure that all individuals are adequately equipped to deliver on the job expectations.

Contemporary Human Resources There is always a requirement for replacement of employees with those with unfamiliar skills that business growth makes necessary or that are required to fill in vacancies in the workplace. It can be costly where skills are in short supply or where the labour market is tight. It is for this reason that the justification for the vacancy needs to be established. Also, filling the position, the organisation must put in place the job description and analysis, which can expose the obvious need of filling the vacancy or adding the role to an existing job or eliminating the job completely. However, should the outcome lead to recruitment, the type/nature of the position as well as the urgency for filling the position will determine the recruitment approach. Vacancies can sometimes be filled with internal recruitment (which obviously should be the preferred approach) as this could address the opportunity of promotion or job enlargement/enrichment. The selection process which is the next logical step will be guided by the nature/expectation of the job (Torrington et al. 2014). With respect to managing the function, this varies across many organisations. Some organisations have decided to outsource the recruitment function, depending on the level of employees affected, whilst some have reserved the role as part of the central HR function and in some cases, the HR function devolves the function to the respective line mangers but continues to support the line managers in identifying their recruitment needs and suggesting appropriate strategies and methods including legislations. The resultant selection process (again depending on the employee level) needs to be significant/relevant to the organisation (Wilkinson and Redman 2013). In the view of Beardwell and Thompson (2017), resourcing the organisation is crucially influenced by the nature of the labour market and this is the case in most societies. We are in a global

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market and the outside world tends to be ignored. Making this argument, Price (2011) explains that many academics and practitioners have thus neglected HRM’s environmental context and the implications and impacts of prevailing political ideology and national culture. Therefore, the developing countries are steadily being brought into the global industrial economy, and complex factors (beyond cheapest employees) attract this capital/development.

Empirical Data on Current Recruitment and Selection Practices ‘In terms of recruitment, majority of employees in most SMEs (and privately owned enterprises) are casual workers. The downturn in the economy affects the company capacity to take them on as permanent employees which will cost more to the enterprise’. Uzoamaka Ibekwe—Nigeria ‘Relationships and recommendations rather than merit influences the recruitment and selection process. There is high concentration of/and autocratic decision-making process. Internal recruitment is mainly favoured particularly in the public sector as it provides the platform for promotion in many cases (through movements within the jog rankings/grades). Discrimination based on paternalism, ethnicity and political affiliations are prevalent. High population and increased unemployment rate tend to put significant pressure on the recruitment process—so many applicants chasing limited job openings’. Wisdom Ekereuke—Nigeria ‘Connections (nepotism) influences recruitment and selection hence, recruitment and selection tend to favour candidates who are connected politically. It is “open secret” that recruitment and selection favours candidates whose state of origin or culture is within or around the organisation/institution’s state or the states of origin of top management members’.


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Kolapo Oluyinka Abiola—Nigeria ‘Politics and political affiliations impact recruitment and selection in most African nations in many ways. For instance, in Nigeria, issues related to nepotism, favouritism (based on political party affiliation and loyalty), the principle and doctrine of federal character and quota system in the public sector, centrality of recruitment in the public service, red tapism, overstaffing, mediocrity, politicians interfering with independence of recruitment service commissions, are the major concerns with respect to recruitment and selection. Furthermore, due to the multiplicity of culture and ethnicity in many African countries, myriad of recruitment issues related to ethnocentrism, high power distance between interviewers and interviewees, higher degree of masculinity, differences in cultural nuances during interviews, cultural biases, discrimination based on cultural and ethnic affiliation, are apparent in recruitment and selection processes. Technological issues with respect to recruitment in Africa are not limited to lack of standardised processes of evaluating candidates, manual recruitment processes still dominant among local organisations, opaque recruitment processes, resource constraints, inadequate use of social media platforms (e.g. LinkedIn), recruitment fraud and scams, applicants’ privacy, low internet penetration rate, preference for physical interviews among employers, etc. The myriad of socio-economic issues impacting recruitment and selection in many African countries include equality and equal opportunities, gender discrimination, discrimination based on religion, disability, marital status, maternity and pregnancy related concerns, labour market conditions (unemployment rates), etc.’. Kabiru Ayinde Oyetunde—Nigeria ‘Politics doesn’t necessarily play a direct role in recruitment and selection. However, politicians do have advantages because they know many people in high positions. Nowadays, this occurs more in the private sector because they have put stricter measures for recruitment in the public sector in order to give a chance to everyone. Therefore, to get into the public sector one must pass a written test (thousands of applicants have the same written test, the same day without mentioning their

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names, only a code number). When an individual is successful, an oral test is conducted in front of a jury (4 or 5 people, it depends), that’s when it can slightly be unfair if one has “connections”, but all in all, it usually gives the opportunity for everyone to try and get the job. In Morocco the culture changes from a region to another, but at the end of the day, we’re all Moroccans so maybe culture does play a part in recruitment, but a very small part in that case, because we don’t have a cultural problem in the country. We all adapt very easily, and recruiters don’t really care about your origin, whether it is in the private or the public sector. If you come from a “big family” that has connections, then unfortunately, you have more chances of being recruited, because you know a lot of people, and in Morocco we still have that concept of “helping our friends, or our own”. But if, for example, two people apply to the same position, and none of them have any connections, then they would be judged on their knowledge and experience and not their background. The majority of people in high positions throughout the kingdom are from a normal socio-economic backgrounds, and the majority of the top business in Morocco are actually from a very modest background, many of them were born into extreme poverty and are now very successful, because after independence, Morocco was growing and people who worked really hard and were smart succeeded. Now with the economy being stagnant it is difficult for the youth to find suitable jobs’. Ghita Souissi—Morocco ‘I believe politics draws the big lines on which processes are built up, especially in the country’s economy and business. Having a non-credible political picture in the country surely affects recruitment and selection. It also impacts the credibility of the process. Favouritism became culturally tolerated if it serves the individual’s advantages, and this is reflected on the recruitment and selection processes’. Zineb El Abbassi—Morocco ‘In governmental sector in Sudan (and in most of the time), recruitment is influenced by political party affiliations. In the private sector, it could have been a factor but only in companies belonging to some people from previous regime (previous political party in Sudan). In other private


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sectors, politics don’t play a role in recruitment. To some extent, Sudan is a tribal community and in the past tribe could affect job recruitment and selection mostly in government jobs. I will not say every organisation or all people, but it is somehow part of the way people think and behave in Sudan. Sometimes the social status affects the selection. This is very common in both sectors in Sudan. Also, gender bias exists in some jobs as organisations still don’t see women fit for some jobs. Better knowledge of the internet for example widens the opportunities for all people nowadays. Almost all jobs now are electronically announced in Sudan’. Mona Mohammed—Sudan ‘Greatly influenced by politics. For example, the government of the day can without going through the procedure make an appointment. No one can question them. Influenced by culture—tribe, relationship, etc. The political parties in Sierra Leone identify themselves with specific tribe and culture, hence belonging to and demonstrating that type of culture gives you better chance of getting a good job. The social and economic status goes a long way in securing good jobs. Nepotism and tribalism (what are referred to in Sierra Leone as “connectocracy”) is what matters not ability to do the job’. Julius Nye Cuffie—Sierra Leone ‘In Ghana people are selected based on personal political relations more than on competence. Although political favouritism is everywhere, it is more on the public sectors. To my view, more than 50% employees get their position through politic influence. Support provided by parties/groups is substitute for qualification, competences and ability. The unfairness of selecting the right person has affected the quality and efficiency of work. It has also led to low productivity and bad output, indiscipline and inefficiency. People tend to be loyal to their own people and group. This is termed as tribalism and impacts on recruitment and selection of a candidate. Head, managers, HR managers and top officials like to employee people they speak the same language with, share same value, norms and religion than employing the right expertise. Family referrals have become norms

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in workplaces, and these are more considered during the recruitment and selection process. Expertise, qualification, experience and competence are compromised. Technology has impacted positively on the recruiting and selection process in Ghana. The cost of recruitment which includes agent cost, launch, job advertising has reduced massively for big organisation like Unibank Ghana Limited, Metro Ghana limited, KNUST, Vivo energy Ghana and Ghana oil company. Vacancies are advertised on the company website instead of Television and newspaper which are very costly. Besides, some interviews are organised done on Skype and video calls normally for those applicants staying abroad. The latter has encouraged reverse “brain drain”. Thus, technology has helped to reverse brain drain—a process where human capital is moved in reverse from the economy. Finally, people with disability (who can perform certain tasks) are always neglected because there are no legislations to protect such individuals’. Mercy Fimpong—Ghana

Conclusions and Implications Internal recruitment remains a popular approach both in the public and private sectors. For the public sector (which is the largest employee of labour in many developing economies), it remains a preset pattern of advancement in the workplace. With respect to the private sector, recruitment is much more centred on how best to manage the process and the appropriateness of the approach. The socio-economic situation makes it a huge challenge to advertise or make public a vacancy because of the huge number of applications so managing the process becomes a herculean task. In some cases, organisations disguise the contents of their advertisement to hide company identity in order to limit the ‘traffic’ of informal advances. There are circumstances, where the mailbox of organisations in the post office is hardly adequate to hold unsolicited applications. Most HR professionals have utilised an informal club as a means of getting


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around this challenge. An informal example could be the monthly gathering of HR professionals of Employer associations where colleagues mention vacancies and a word-of-mouth approach ensues. Accordingly, colleagues sift through their application bank and direct such applicants to apply directly to the respective organisations. Technology as a tool is hardly used because of lack of suitable software for the same. For the non-local employers, application bank is usually the source of sourcing applicants (as they receive several unsolicited applications) and for senior positions, head hunting is gradually taking the central stage. This continuous surge of applications is obviously a reflection of a huge number of people chasing limited openings in the various countries, a fallout of the socio-economic challenges. The implication is most organisations have adopted a policy of ‘whispering’ their vacancies rather than ‘advertising’ the same. The selection process therefore becomes quite rigorous because of the apparent existence of a ‘long shopping list’ for the respective organisations. Determining eventual successful applicants attracts several possible selection approaches as this provides the organisation with the opportunity to make a well-informed decision. The recruitment and selection process is one of the most compromised functions of the HR manager in most developing organisations. The implication is that selecting suitable candidates is not a matter of the lack of qualified applicants but the sincerity of the process. Unfortunately, there are no strict laws protecting minority or disadvantaged individuals. The latter group is thus disadvantaged in the recruitment process in many African countries.

Discussion Questions i. What are the determining factors in pursuing the recruitment approach of the organisation and how can the selection process complement this? ii. The HR function contents with differing interest groups from various stakeholders in the recruitment process. How can the HR

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function maintain ethical policies and socially responsible behaviour in the organisation? iii. Training and development is an important panacea for career development. Evaluate the HR function in relation to employing the abilities and skills of the workforce efficiently? iv. In some circumstances, ‘whispering’ rather than ‘advertising’ vacancies is a welcome strategy in some societies. How would you respond to this? v. Evaluate the recruitment and selection process in the public and private sectors. What are the similarities or differences?

References Akinnusi, D. M. (1991). Personnel Management in Nigeria. In C. Brewster & S. Tyson (Eds.), International Comparisons in Human Resource Management (1st ed.). London: Pitman Publishing. Blanchflower, D. G., & Freeman, R. (2000). Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries (National Bureau of Economic Research Books). Chicago: University of Chicago. Budhwar, P. S., & Debrah, Y. A. (2010). Human Resource Management in Developing Countries. In A. Wilkinson, N. Bacon, T. Redman, & S. Snell (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Human Resource Management. London: Sage. Beardwell, J., & Thompson, A. (2017). Human Resource Management: A Contemporary Approach. Harlow, UK: Pearson. Hack-Polay, D. (2002). Comparative Analysis of the Route to Headship in Cote d’Ivoire and England. Education Today, 52(1), 23–30. Kanyenze, G., Mhone, G., & Sparreboom, T. (2000). Strategies to Combat Youth Employment and Marginalisation in Anglophone Africa (ILO/SAMAT Discussion Paper, No. 14). Mpabanga, D., & Lekorwe, M. (2007). Managing Non-government Organisations in Botswana. The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal, 12(3), Article 10.


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Price, Alan. (2011). Human Resource Management. London: Cengage. Torrington, D., Hall, L., & Taylor, S. (2014). Human Resource Management. Harlow, UK: Prentice Hill. Wilkinson, A., & Redman, T. (2013). Contemporary Human Resource Management. Harlow, UK: Pearson.

3 Training and Development

Abstract If indeed training and development is a desirable HR function, it is more than urgently required in the workplace of many developing organisations. However, it is not necessarily for the purposes of equipping the employees for better output or contribution to organisational goals (which is desirable) but much more to address the basic issues of discovering themselves with the mission and vision of the organisation. Most employees have taken up their employment because they need to survive rather than out of a strong desire to take on a position that they are passionate about. In some cases, jobs have been offered based on social network (sometimes referred to as ‘connections’), so the successful applicant may not be ‘completely’ qualified for the position hence training and development becomes a source of ‘filling’ the seemingly lack of required competence. Consequently, training may be more suitable than development for some employees and vice versa and in some cases, both are required at specific periods. This therefore calls for challenging the employee to their career goals altogether. Keywords HR function · In-house training · Expatriate · Organisation · Nice to attend · Need to attend · Knowledge transfer · Training and development © The Author(s) 2020 J. E. Opute, HRM in Africa,



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Background Today’s organisations must embrace training and development so that all employees are up to date with advances in their related field. This will create the opportunity for ensuring that employees who require training and development are targeted and trained accordingly. Again, training must be from the perspective of ‘need to attend’ and not ‘nice to attend’. A nice-to-attend training does not contribute to organisational benefit but serves like a holiday for the employee whilst a need to attend training arises from shortfall in appraisals and therefore creates the opportunity to address such deficits through training and development. We reward employees with promotion and do not necessarily use training and development for reward. Development is for employee advancement. The HR function therefore is required to put in place an appraisal system that addresses not just the traditional tasks and targets criteria, but a new criterion referred to as ‘matching organisation goals’ with the desire of the employee. Another critical approach is on the job training for junior and middle-level employees as most of these employees lack previous exposure. For example, how many Aluminium or Steel Rolling Mills do we have in many developing economies? This remains a key reason for expatriation in many developing economies. The issue of knowledge transfer is so obvious in manufacturing technology. The expatriate manager has an important role to play in providing ‘hands-on’ support for these employees who otherwise have no form of experience or exposure to their job roles. Prospective employees (particularly joining employees) will be better equipped by in-house training, which in some cases have led to the development of training schools within company premises. This should be a desirable way forward for many manufacturing organisations. Training and development of employees is an ongoing process. Whilst training is mainly targeted at skills acquisition, development is targeted at building on acquired skills. The latter approach therefore is an activity which all employees at different levels should be encouraged to engage in. Ideally, every employee should aim at achieving a skills/professional training activity as well as general management/development activity. For the more senior positions, training and development should be based primarily on ‘Need to Attend’ rather than ‘Nice to Attend’. There are too

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many nice to attend approaches to training. Training and development should always be the fallout of an appraisal system where the employee is being exposed to training and developmental needs to address shortfall in performance. The expatriate manager (particularly in manufacturing and high technology organisations) is required to play an important role in knowledge transfer. In some circumstances, he/she plays the role of Technical Manager and heads the training school—where such facilities exist. These activities cost money, but a favourite saying is: ‘If you think training and development are costly, try ignorance’. Many developing economies tend to succumb to political and family pressures in recruitment. In effect, training and development provide the opportunity to address shortfalls that might have been compromised.

Contemporary Human Resources Many organisations view learning and development as important components of performance management and therefore a catalyst for company efficacy and the enhancement of shareholders’ earnings (Foot and Hook 2015). Career development through training and development has traditionally not been viewed as an investment. Many organisations view training and development as a cost instead. Whilst the debate continues, global competition continues to highlight the importance of human capital. However, the extent of training and development and its relevance to the company strategy cannot be ignored (Torrington et al. 2014). In the view of Wilkinson and Redman (2013), the critical approach should be to examine how developmental the training should be. This obviously opens another debate about the dividing line between training and development and which serves the company strategy more effectively, particularly considering the duration, occupation and sector. In complementing this position, Beardwell and Thompson (2017) posit learning and development should be a continuous process in order to adapt to the changing world so as to enhance their ability to be innovative and keep the company competitive on the one hand and also give them job satisfaction on the other hand.


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Empirical Data on Current Training and Development Practices ‘Training in many organisations tends to get relegated to the back seat particularly when there appears to be a loll in the economy. Otherwise, many organisations embrace it as a source of improving employee capacity and contribution to the organisation’. Uzoamaka Ibekwe—Nigeria ‘In the public service, training and development is widely influenced by culture, tribe, relationship, etc. Nepotism and tribalism (which are referred to as “connectocracy”) is what matters when names are being put forward for training and development’. Julius Nye Cuffie—Sierra Leone ‘Ordinarily, training needs analysis (which is sometimes the fall out of appraisal) should be carried out to address training or developmental needs of employees. Unfortunately, the employee’s relationship with the supervisor/manager will determine whether they are put forward for training/development. This is more pronounced in the public sector as opposed to the private sector but there are also traces of this practice in the latter. Most organisations do not offer trainings to employees because of their economic situation’. Mercy Fimpong—Ghana ‘Unlike the public sector, training in the private sector is tied to organisational needs. Unfortunately, from the perspective of the individual, once the person joins the organisation, cultural factors may be somehow affecting his/her growth, but it is more likely that if those factors were not applied from the beginning while recruiting, then they will not be applied once the person is hired. But with regards to gender (specifically in senior jobs) sometimes it is more difficult for women to develop their careers as some organisations believe that woman (specially married) will not focus on the job deliverables and will request for more holidays/time off, as a result of family issues’. Mona Mohammed—Sudan

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‘I don’t believe that politics plays a part in training and development, it does however play a part in promotions in the public sector especially. Now companies try to train its employees more and more in order to master certain technologies in different levels, depending on the sector. But technologies are now becoming increasingly important’. Ghita Souissi—Morocco ‘The culture of some companies is that the development of the employees’ capacities is an individual effort. Accordingly, every employee is encouraged to work towards self-improvement as opposed to company core responsibility. Also, the socio-economic situation can make it difficult for many companies to devote resources for employees’ training’. Zineb El Abbassi—Morocco

Conclusions and Implications Training and development tend to receive varying attention because of the immediate financial outlay for this function. Whilst this function appears to attract modest attention in many developing economies (particularly in the medium-sized organisations), it remains a critical role for the HR function. Training and development are unfortunately hardly the fallout of appraisal systems because a formal system cannot be well managed. Tasks and targets are continuously being reviewed because of the economic situation and government regulations. The latter can change with limited notice as a possible outcome of political pressure. Additionally, the limited resources for foreign exchange can impact on importation of raw materials and therefore create a huge challenge for production planning and sales. This is a key setback for manufacturing organisations as opposed to service organisations. Unfortunately, many developing economies desperately need to keep their factories running as even the small- and medium-sized outfits are also facing a similar challenge. One obvious implication is that HR managers of today are doubling as Training Managers. For the technical positions (at the junior/supervisory levels), training schools, once a regular feature in many manufacturing


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organisations, are being re-introduced in the workplace. The multinational organisations seem to have an answer to this challenge by promoting on the job training as much as possible hence the preference of many governments to grant quota slots to organisations that are pursuing technical positions. For example, requests for general management positions are being frowned at (and put at a minimum) by the approving state departments. The role of the expatriate manager becomes critical for manufacturing processes requiring modern technology. The expatriate manager thus becomes the source of knowledge transfer, and this is supported by many governments in developing economies as it provides opportunity to support manufacturing activities and economic growth.

Discussion Questions i. What is the difference between training and development? How can this be effectively employed in a developing economy? ii. Why does the modern HR practitioner in the average business organisations in Africa take a prominent role in training and development? iii. A popular notion in management is: ‘If you consider training expensive, try ignorance’. How relevant is this statement? iv. What role does the appraisal system play in training and development? Is this role still relevant? How does this relate to ‘nice to attend’ as opposed to ‘need to attend’ training programmes? v. How does training and development complement career development in Africa? What are the challenges, opportunities and limitations?

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References Beardwell, J., & Thompson, A. (2017). Human Resource Management: A Contemporary Approach. Harlow, UK: Pearson. Foot, M., & Hook, C. (2015). Introducing Human Resource Management. Harlow, UK: Prentice Hill. Torrington, D., Hall, L., & Taylor, S. (2014). Human Resource Management. Harlow, UK: Prentice Hill. Wilkinson, A., & Redman, T. (2013). Contemporary Human Resource Management. Harlow, UK: Pearson.

4 Appraisal, Rewards and Promotion

Abstract In the most simplistic way, appraisal is not for the purposes of saying ‘thank you’ to an employee but to say ‘what else’ can we do to make you a better employee? On the other hand, rewards and promotion which identifies its elements from the appraisal systems is envisioned to say, ‘thank you and well done’. One HR function that is greatly contested in several developing countries is the outcome from appraisal, rewards and promotions. On the one hand, it is believed people are favoured by their managers as a reward for loyalty or patronage and on the other hand, a reflection of the connection (meaning closeness) to ‘important’ people in the organisation. This extends to political patronage and nepotism. Whilst it may be difficult to eliminate this assertion, every organisation should aspire to put in place undoubtably established tasks and targets, and these should be made observable. Obviously, it is nice to promote but there should be a need for this. Many organisations fall for this as if motivation only comes through promotion. Keywords Appraisal · Rewards · Promotion · Nepotism · Connection · Employee management · Quota · Tasks and targets

© The Author(s) 2020 J. E. Opute, HRM in Africa,



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Background Appraisal is a crucial tool for employee management. It provides the platform for training and development on one hand and on the other hand, provides the proof for recommendation of promotion for an employee. Another test is reward and/or promotion for just the name rather than the need. Most appraisal systems are designed for monitoring tasks and targets agreed at given periods with the employee. If the tasks and targets are reasonably set and agreed, appraisal should provide the opportunity to establish whether the employee is meeting these tasks and targets. It thus provides the opportunity for determining future career advancement. The implication of these developments is varied and impacts the HR functions in diverse dimensions as it relates to the contextual issues. Appraisal can reveal a shortfall in expected tasks and targets which could require training and development, particularly if there is a deficiency in the skills of the employee. If an employee cannot be trained because of lack of basic skills, it implies that the employee was not qualified for the position in the first place and every effort must be made to redeploy that employee accordingly. Otherwise, we will be attempting to force a square peg into a round hole. Again, this is not to be encouraged in a forward-looking organisation. A driver who fails a driving test cannot be asked to drive on the highway. It is even worse, with passengers in the car. Obviously, it is disaster waiting to happen. As the name implies, rewarding an employee is recognising that significant progress has been recorded/achieved for which recognition is deserved. Rewarding and promoting based on quota is another challenge that the HR function contends with. This implies that for the purposes of establishing the so-called balance, employee elevation should be cutting across the organisation ensuring that every tribe, constituency, zone and religion is represented. In a broad sense, reward can be in cash or kind. Reward in cash is extrinsic reward, which is usually financial and physical whilst reward in kind is intrinsic reward and attracts non-monetary elements. Examples of financial/physical rewards are cash, bonuses, holiday pays, company car/accommodation, etc., whilst examples of intrinsic rewards (which is the feeling of pleasure and satisfaction) are things like big/change in job titles, large office space,

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public announcements, etc. They do not attract cash/money. People get attracted to intrinsic or extrinsic rewards for various reasons and at different stages of their life. Therefore, it is crucial that we recognise what makes people tick. The danger in not managing rewards professionally/properly is that it can lead to unhealthy rivalry/competition in the organisation (Opute et al. 2020). From the foregoing, reward management, which excludes the less tangible items such as affiliation, work content, career, etc., appears more attractive in the developing world. Developing economies (for example) do not appear ready for the complex nature of work flexibility neither do they have the tools and discipline for performance and target- related pay, particularly for the semi-skilled cadre of employees. Additionally, cultural barriers to reward management and its implication for business success cannot be ignored in the shaping of HRM strategies in Africa. According to Budhwar and Debrah (2010), values and norms have a considerable impact on pay and benefits in developing countries. There continues to be a deteriorating welfare and infrastructure setting in most developing economies. This has placed a huge burden on organisations with the more proactive ones introducing reward policies that focus on nondirect financial benefits such as canteen facilities, free medical support, provision of electric generating sets, etc. A job evaluation system (which should be established in organisations) provides the relative worth of jobs based on required skills/education, experience, authority, etc., and is a decent platform for determining the deserving occupant for a position. Promoting an individual lacking the required competence to a position restricts authority on their part and makes mockery of such action because no individual can give what he/she does not have or lack. The subordinate will not be at ease with instructions from such ‘bosses’ and it will promote unnecessary tension and rivalry. At the end, as the saying goes—‘when two elephants fight, the grass suffers’. So, the organisation suffers and the consequence is poor service delivery. Unfortunately, in many developing economies, it is the ‘armchair’ approach that is in place in determining emoluments. A basic job evaluation system concentrating on the recurring variables for the different employee classification is the way forward.


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Rewards can also be viewed from the perspective of pay for work done. Many medium-sized organisations more than often operate from a team effort or in some cases from a team role. Therefore, as much as possible, it should be equal pay for equal work. However, it is understood that regular employment may not be achievable for various corporate reasons but as much as possible, health personnel (for example) should never work with a lower work status such as casuals/locums as they should not feel inferior or receive inferior benefits because of their status. Any work situation that can challenge the morale of a health worker must be avoided. We cannot and should not compromise the commitment of medical personnel. If the position is not required, it should not be ‘managed’ to save money. Favouritism, godfatherism, tribalism, nepotism, ‘quotarism’ and the lot must be frowned at. This representation remains a big test for the HR function. It is like an ill wind that blows no one any good. Rewarding employees through company-established pay systems is common but most of these are not based on job evaluations. An ‘Armchair approach’ particularly in private organisations is very common. This approach could be based on findings of practices in the neighbourhood or through the ‘gut feelings’ of the key personnel in the company. However, the presence of trade unions has attracted collective bargaining in many organisations. Trade unions traditionally represent the interest of junior employees, whilst senor staff associations represent the interest of non-executive management staff. Executive management staff are those individuals in the senior echelon of the company who are ‘decision makers’ or play prominent roles in decision-making. They include expatriate managers as well as heads of departments and personal assistants to senior company executives. The latter are privileged to sensitive information, and so are excluded from membership of senior staff associations. The contents of reward in developing economies broadly cover financial and non-financial rewards. They are usually stated with varying/different amounts as applicable to different categories of employees. Direct financial benefits are classified as pay/salary and allowances. The basic salary is a monthly emolument and the allowances are also monthly emoluments, but they are broken down with specific categorisation as allowances. Some of these are: housing allowance (to

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support payment of rent), transport allowance (in lieu of company car or qualifying managers), electricity allowance, child education allowance, furniture allowance (mainly applicable to senior staff ), meal allowance (where no mid-day lunch is provided), leave allowance, etc. Most of these items form part of the collective agreement that are usually negotiated bi-annually (Opute 2014).

Contemporary Human Resources Appraisals play very important roles in employee management and development. ‘Appraisals regularly record an assessment of an employer’s performance, potential and development needs. The appraisal is an opportunity to take an overall view of work contents, loads and volume, to look back on what has been achieved during the reporting period and agree objectives for the next’ (Foot and Hook 2015: p. 248). ‘There is a conflict in many appraisal and performance management system as managers frequently have a dual role as assessor and developer. Most employee performance management system focus on the individual but there is a need to ensure that the team contributions are not neglected and more importantly that the team and individual goals do not conflict’ (Torrington et al. 2014: p. 312/3). The debate of the relevance or otherwise of performance appraisal becomes more critical when viewed from the perspective of the payout to rewards and promotion (Pilbeam and Corbridge 2010). In their concluding view, Wilkinson and Redman (2013) explain that this development is not to argue that the current practice of performance appraisal is not without its challenges but that the key task facing several organisations is the upgrading, renewal and reinvention of performance appraisal that is appropriate to its environment. Taking a similar view, Beardwell and Thompson (2017) explain that it is useful to review performance management from the perspective of a series of relationships which in return will expose the various interconnectivities in the workplace. A reward/compensation setting that recognises the importance of collectivism and the relevance of the social behaviour, which is very relevant in evolving industrial relations setting such as in Africa, will


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thrive. In an earlier study, Opute (2010) captured this perspective in his conceptual model. The compensation model provides a conceptual framework that is driven by the examination of the various theories of compensation, industrial relations and culture. This is further analysed through the approach of the system variables and contextual factors that are embedded in reward/compensation management. Paradoxically, the unique cultural values, the economic history and socio-economic situation in some developing countries provide a sound platform for conceptual models such as the compensation conceptual model being discussed. Therefore, the model identifies the established contextual factors of culture (collectivism and paternalism) and IR (social services and evolving economy) as an important component that will always drive the system. The model can be a source of strategic input in collective bargaining efforts and overall employer/employee relationship in compensation management. In a broad sense, the model focuses on compensation as a strategic tool for company efficacy. Many scholars (Anakwe 2002; Czinkota et al. 2003; Brewster et al. 2007) have stressed the importance of country-specific HRM policies and cultural sensitivity as important ingredients to business success in the globalised world. Therefore, in evolving industrial relations setting such as is common in Africa (with a dilapidated social service), the role and importance of industrial relations cannot be overemphasised. Some HR practitioners (during the interview sessions and discussions in the progress of compiling this book), reiterated this latter observation. As a further confirmation of the interrelationship between culture and industrial relations, numerous theoretical discussions have accepted the effectiveness of HRM practices with social organisational context (Aycan 2005; Black 2005). In effect, the environmental factors impact on HRM activities. The contextual issues of the study (Opute 2010) are hinged on the underlying variable of culture and industrial relations. Collectivism and paternalism serve as key attributes for most cultural paradigm in developing economies (Beugre and Offodile 2001; Khan and Ackers 2004). In furtherance to this, most empirical studies stress the fact that collectivist culture focuses on harmonious interpersonal relations and teamwork (Myloni et al. 2004). Additionally, employee welfare programmes in the

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form of non-financial compensation are crucial components of compensation structure because of the inadequate social services (Anakwe 2002). This explains the paternalistic tendencies of the employee relations in developing economies (a notion that was apparent in the interview sessions with HR practitioners). Therefore, the compensation model is driven by both the system variables and the contextual issues, which are all interrelated. In effect, the model will serve as the broad theoretical framework for future studies. The conceptual framework of the compensation model is depicted in the interrelationship between the major factors being investigated as well as the interrelationships between the variables that are embedded in the major factors. It is therefore an inductive model that illustrates the connections flowing from the contextual issues through to the system to provide an appropriate compensation strategy. Most research efforts in Africa tend to highlight the tripartite interrelationships amongst the state, employers and trade unions as well as the environment. However, the compensation model that has been established does not only establish the place of the environment and the role of the actors but clearly identifies the key contextual issues of collectivism, paternalism, social services and evolving economy. In conclusion, therefore, the societal, cultural and institutional framework of industrial relations drives the compensation strategy.

Empirical Data on Current Appraisal, Rewards and Promotion Practices ‘Most companies do not take this seriously. Rewards/promotions are not done consistently (i.e. it is not a tradition in most companies in Africa). Companies only do them if they feel the need to, hence, such practices are flexible. The state of the economy also affects rewards because where the business is not producing as expected they reduce their expenses as much as they can, starting with the ones that are not mandatory. Therefore, such schemes are flexible’. Uzoamaka Ibekwe—Nigeria


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‘Minimum wage determination and its usage as a political tool, porous laws and inconsistent regulations with respect to workers’ compensation, favouritism and bias, competency as a promotion yardstick, ethnic bias and favouritism, tribalism and nepotism, cultural understanding of morality and loyalty all impact reward and promotions in different dimensions in public and private sector organisations’. Kabiru Ayorinde Oyetunde—Nigeria ‘Unless you have connections, it doesn’t matter what your background is, it’s all about your performance. In Morocco, if you have a modest background and you study well and work hard, everyone praises you, because you might have had less privileges and it was harder for you but you persevered which is a great quality, and you become an example for other people. This applies in both the private and the public sector’. Ghita Souissi—Morocco ‘In Ghana society appraisal, promotion and reward are based on company politics either from internal or external. The rule and regulation for good appraisal, reward and promotion are not much considered. And even where it is considered, and a lot of people qualified, the one to be promoted or reward is normally fixed. In most workplace, the head of the institution or the owner determine who to promote. This implies that if you do not have good relationship with the manager, the head or the owner, you cannot get position or good position. Some who manage to qualify for their promotion and rewards are normally informed that their boss is the answer. This has brought enmity in workplaces among workers. Culture has bigger impact on appraisal, reward and promotion. Bosses normally say: He/she is from my area/tribe/hometown and if he succeeds it goes back to my area/tribe/hometown and that appraisal, reward and promote in Ghana are in most case unfairly done to suit people. Most of the negative working environment is normally cause by tribalism influenced promotion and reward. Tribalism operates like old school tie. Promotion and reward also have link with religion. Technology has positive impact on appraisal, reward and promotion. Technology has helped companies to ensure that systems and procedures are maintained seamlessly for an effective delivery of employees’

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value proposition. Technology has supported most organisations in establishing performance indices. I know of companies who have “officialised” WhatsApp and send messages to members on how the organisational and individual performance. The numerous industrial actions embarked by employees is on ineffective reward system. The government or organisation can initiate forum which aim at ensuring desirable employees’ behaviour. Despite policies put in place to ensure effective reward, employees never satisfied. This is because most of the organisation are not economically sound to provide such reward and this always led to bureaucracy in the public sector, seniority versus industrial actions’. Mercy Frimpong—Ghana ‘Sometimes loyalty is a cultural thing issue in Sudan. Appraisals can be affected by the degree of loyalty to owners or managers to some extent’. Mona Mohammad—Sudan

Conclusions and Implications A prominent characteristic of appraisals, rewards and promotions is that the collectivist culture (a prominent feature of many African nations) takes the front seat in both public and private sectors. Whilst this is the norm in the public sector, it requires commitment from the private sector, which in some cases are influenced by neighbourhood factors. The neighbourhood factor is the practice amongst organisations in areas of operations, which cuts across public, private and even small- and medium-sized organisations (Opute and Koch 2011). Group reward is much more popular and a very uniting feature in several organisations. Appraisal is much more a corrective measure and may not necessarily translate to promotions because the latter can be easily abused. Many organisations prefer to approach promotion from the ‘360 degrees’ approach to ameliorate any clams of paternalism, favouritism and patronage in any form. For example, providing an incentive scheme that is departmental-based is less effective than a divisional-based approach because of the culture of collectivism. Any


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scheme that sets up a ‘challenge’ between departments tends to ‘post’ departments against each other and it leads to unnecessary rivalry. Other societal issues that cannot be ignored in handling promotion is service period (a key consideration in public service), age, ethnicity (sometimes leading to ‘quotarism’) and this can be compromised/sacrificed. However, many private organisations have introduced an egalitarian approach to reward schemes, which addresses a modest disparity across all remuneration bands or categories and thereby addressing the approach of ‘winner takes all’. For example, allowances are paid to all categories of employees but with differentials in the applicable amounts. In a similar manner, employee loans of all categories but with differing amounts are paid to qualifying employees (Opute 2010). There are two critical contextual issues that impact on rewards in many organisations and these are culture and the socio-economic challenges. Many organisations are faced with issues that do not relate to their business but because of poor infrastructure and the poverty level in their respective societies, they have embraced many activities that ordinarily should be the responsibility of the state. For example, health care is a very critical aspect that attracts significant investment from many organisations because of the poor health delivery system that is prevalent, with many organisations running clinic facilities on their premises. Health benefits constitute a very prominent aspect in most collective agreements between employers and employees with most organisations specifying the extent of support, which varies from company to company and from country to country but the bottom line is that the state has failed in providing prompt and adequate (and in some cases, affordable) medical care. Furthermore, most employment contracts spell out rewards in the form of basic salary and ‘loads’ of allowances. These allowances are intended to demonstrate the support of the organisations. Transport allowances (where no company transport are provided to pick and drop off employees at strategic locations) is intended to support the employee in making his/her way to work and back home. Housing allowance is intended to support the cost of renting a home/apartment. Electricity allowance is intended to support the offsetting of some of the cost of energy/electricity bills even where such services are epileptic, to say the

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least. Child education allowance is intended to support the employee with the cost of childcare/school fees. Furniture allowance (mainly applicable to senior staff ) is intended for supporting the acquisition of furniture in the home (Opute 2014). There is also a leave allowance which is paid to an employee taking a vacation. This latter allowance was introduced during the colonial era. At the time, colonial masters authorised the payment of leave allowance to public servants to allow them to travel to their villages (which was the traditional destination for employees). Leave allowance was calculated and paid to the employee based on the mileage of the employee’s village and the location of the central colonial government. This notion/practice gave rise to the current leave allowance practice but now paid based on the staff level/position in the organisation and the outcome of collective bargaining. The other issue that is closely associated with rewards in many developing economies is the granting of loans to employees. These loans come in various sizes and classifications, but the ultimate intension is to support staff. No wonder the commonly held view by employees that the company is viewed as an extension of their families (Opute 2010; Opute 2014). The loans come in different names, such as housing loan, vehicle loan, marriage loan, burial loan, etc. On the average, most employees are bearers of not less than two loans in many organisations. Most companies oblige because it is in response to the socio-economic challenges within the societies as well as a strong motivational tool. And finally, these loans are not interest bearing. The implication of these developments is varied and impacts the HR functions in diverse dimensions as it relates to the contextual issues. The issue of health care has severe financial implications for the average organisation. Apart from the financial outlay, there are also implications on the extent to which medical care can be provided. It is unusual for an employee to ‘fail’ a medical test as a prerequisite for employment so many organisations are conscious of this ‘development’ and carry out continuous health check for employees in ‘in-house’ company clinics or visits to ‘medical retainership clinics’. Whilst it is common to be specific on numbers of family members for medical benefits in some countries (for example, spouse and 4 children), in prominent Muslim


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states, where the religion allows more than one wife, the issue of numbers is contestable. Therefore, religion extends to culture in diverse ways and has implications for the management of the HR function. In the predominantly Muslim states, religion is an extremely sensitive issue that cannot be ignored. For example, during Ramadan fasting period work requiring physical exertion should not be encouraged. The provision of a prayer point within the company premises is usually advocated and it is common practice to oblige to these considerations. The frequency of appraisal must be targeted on a quarterly basis because of the ever-changing environmental constraints. Rewards on a collective approach (particularly through employee representation) are very popular even in the absence of a formalised trade union system. The contents of rewards are peculiar as it is intended to provide as much support as possible. Employees would rather prefer an extended list of items of remuneration as opposed to a single amount. Apart from the tax implications, employees are convinced that it would be to their advantage/benefit to list items of emoluments, so request for review can be linked to changes with respect to specific items. For example, increase in transport allowance as a result of fuel scarcity would certainly impact on how employee would channel this item of allowance in future negotiations. The issue of interest-free loan is a matter of concern so many organisations have an ‘unwritten’ rule about how many of such loans an employee can apply for so that the financial outlay to the business is carefully monitored. Some multinational organisations have struggled with embracing these changes but the neighbourhood effect becomes very compelling. An associated contribution of the book is the examination of the dynamics of HRM as it relates to the HR functions being examined. For example, reviewing the synergy between the HR function and strategic reward (otherwise equally referred to as compensation, emoluments, pay and benefits) with the underlying societal and cultural values in many African nations. This is with a view to establishing the important factors that impact on the management of compensation in a developing economy. The knowledge and understanding of the contextual factors will enhance the management of compensation as a strategic tool for company efficacy and competitive advantage in a global economy.

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This conclusion has three main parts. Firstly, the focus in reward management is examined in the light of monetary versus non-monetary reward. The significance of non-monetary compensation is evident in view of the deteriorating social services of the state and the cultural imperative of dependence on the employer by the employees. This does not make monetary compensation less important, but rather highlights the importance of a holistic approach in managing both. Secondly, the implications of the central role of industrial relations in collectivism (and not necessarily through trade unions) cannot be ignored. Thirdly, the cultural setting, particularly the beliefs in a collectivist approach by the employees on the one hand, and the paternalistic management approaches to employee relations on the other hand, are crucial in the workplace. With the continued globalisation of business across the world, it is apparent that possible conflicts in management styles, policies and procedures will arise. This is attributable in part to the extent to which a company’s culture (particularly in the area of human resource management) could be transferred from the parent company to a local subsidiary in another country. It also considers the practices of local companies. The desired goal for reward/compensation management is therefore to establish an appropriate structure, which recognises the political, societal and cultural settings of the country. For this change in reward/compensation to be of strategic importance, the company needs to be guided by employee preference and local contextual factors. The various country perspectives reveal that a cultural characteristic, such as collectivism is significant in determining reward/compensation structure. One unique contribution of the book is that this collectivism does not imply representation by the trade unions only but rather confirms the resilience of employee representation in the workplace. The continued rise in the literacy level of the population implies that the hitherto claim of lack of education (by the Trade Unions) as an important reason for employee representation is gradually fading. Several studies (Opute and Koch 2011) confirm an increasing literacy level across the workforce in some developing countries, such as Nigeria.


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This may therefore be a clarion call to the trade unions to establish their relevance or risk decline in membership. As a result of deteriorating social infrastructure and associated economic challenge to the average employee, there is a clear motivation for monetary and non-monetary compensation. Some of the empirical studies confirm the drive for increased wages through additional parttime work or extra working hours at the workplace. Besides, the lack of adequate social services by the state implies that the cost of living remains high. Furthermore, the lack of reliable data implies that monitoring inflation is a guesswork and planning is severely inhibited. Therefore, this book in some respect is providing current information (though limited) on trade union activities in Nigeria in the absence of relevant and current data. Many primary sources of information have established that direct/monetary payments (such as base salaries/allowances) are covered by national agreements. On the other hand, many non-direct/monetary payments (such as medical benefits, canteen facilities, social loans), are covered by local/enterprise negotiations. Considering the importance attached to these non-direct payments (as the book reveals), the issue is therefore not necessarily the choices to be made between monetary and non-monetary compensation but understanding the significance of each. Whilst many HR practitioners (from my discussions and interviews, including country perspectives) believe that collective bargaining will be driven by a national focus, the preference is a shift of some of the items (previously reserved for national negotiations) to revert to local/enterprise collective bargaining table. This is a rather interesting development for industrial relations in Africa. The advocates of this approach believe that the enterprise relationship provides a more pragmatic approach to the expectations of the employees because both parties are familiar with local conditions. For example, Brooks (2003) argues that people who are uncomfortable with uncertain situations in their working environments may develop anxiety and therefore work less efficiently. There is no doubt that uncertainty pervades the African society, particularly with many inconsistencies in state policies. Accordingly, non-direct monetary rewards/compensation tend to provide the employer with appropriate response and support to

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employee conditions. However, changes to the levels (enterprise versus national) of collective bargaining are subject to a review of the procedural agreement. Either party can request for this review which though will require an agreement of both parties is usually based on mutual consent rather than negotiation. A procedural agreement unlike a collective agreement is not time-bound.

Discussion Questions i. How often should appraisal be carried out in the organisation and why? Should informal appraisal be encouraged? ii. A key component of performance management is the appraisal system. It is often argued that: ‘If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it’. How true is this assertion in the application of the appraisal system? iii. What tools can be employed to reward employees in a collectivist society—as is the case in many African countries? How can perceived bias be addressed? iv. ‘Connectocracy’ (a term derived from the word ‘connections’), paternalism (a term derived from the word paternal) and ‘Quotarism’ (a term derived from the word ‘quota’) are examples of factors that could challenge ethical positioning in the management of the HR function in many African nations. What strategy can management/HR function put in place to ameliorate/eradicate this? v. Apart from the obvious importance of financial rewards in developing economies, how crucial are non-financial rewards and what does the future hold in this respect?


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References Anakwe, P. U. (2002). Human Resource Management Practices in Nigeria: Challenges and Insights. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 13(7), 1042–1059. Aycan, Z. (2005). The Interplay between Cultural and Institutional/Structural Contingencies. Human Resource Management, 16 (7), 1083–1119. Beardwell, J., & Thompson, A. (2017). Human Resource Management: A contemporary Approach. Harlow, UK: Pearson. Beugre, C. D., & Offodile, F. (2001). Managing for Organisational Effectiveness in sub-Saharan Africa: A Culture-fit Model. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 12(4), 535–550. Black, B. (2005). Comparative Industrial Relations Theory: The Role of National Culture. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16 (7), 1137–1158. Brewster, C., Sparrow, P., & Vernon, G. (2007). International Human Resource Management (1st ed.). London: CIPD. Brooks, I. (2003). Organisational Behaviour: Individuals, Groups and Organisation (2nd ed.). London: Prentice Hall. Budhwar, P. S., & Debrah, Y. A. (2010). Human Resource Management in Developing Countries. In A. Wilkinson, N. Bacon, T. Redman, & S. Snell (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Human Resource Management. London: Sage. Czinkota, M., Moffet, M., & Ronkainen, I. (2003). International Business Update (1st ed.). Ohio: Thompson South Western. Foot, M., & Hook, Caroline. (2015). Introducing Human Resource Management. Harlow, UK: Prentice Hill. Khan, A. S., & Ackers, P. (2004). Neo-Pluralism as a Theoretical Framework for Understanding HRM in sub-Saharan Africa. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 15 (7), 1330–1353. Myloni, B., Harzing, A., & Mirza, H. (2004). Host Country Specific Factors and the Transfer of Human Resource Management Practices in Multinational Companies. International Journal of Manpower, 25 (6), 518–534. Opute, J. E. (2010, January). Compensation Strategies and Competitive Advantages in the Globalised Economy: Nigerian Based Study. PhD thesis, London South Bank University, London, UK.

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Opute, J. E. (2014). Globalization and Industrial Relations in Transformational Economies: The Contextual Issues. International Relations and Diplomacy, 2(1), 66–75. Opute, J. E., & Koch, K. (2011). The Emergence of Collective Bargaining Structures in a Transformation Economy: The Example of Nigeria. Bulletin of Comparative Labour Relations, 77, 39–57. Opute, J., Hack-Polay, D., & Rahman, M. (2020). Globalisation and HR Practices in Africa: When Culture Refuses to Make Way for So-called Universalistic Perspectives. International Journal of Business and Globalisation. ISSN 1753-3627. Pilbeam, S., & Corbridge, M. (2010). People Resourcing and Talent Planning: HRM in practice (4th ed.). Harlow, UK: Prentice Hall. Torrington, D., Hall, L., & Taylor, S. (2014). Human Resource Management. Harlow, UK: Prentice Hill. Wilkinson, A., & Redman, T. (2013). Contemporary Human Resource Management. Harlow, UK: Pearson.

5 Succession Planning

Abstract This does not seem to be a common organisational norm in many African countries because it requires management time, effort and commitment. Culture is very critical here. Some cultures frown at too much futuristic planning on the assertion that the confronts of today is enough to worry about. Also, any intention that suggests an individual is being ‘groomed’ to take over from another could attract unnecessary rivalry so the succession plan must be kept closely to the heart of the HR function. The other trap that many organisations fall into is the belief that succession planning is for ‘old organisations’ and not for newly established organisations. However, it is of necessity that every organisation initiates succession planning as part of a business strategy. Some organisations devote a significant effort in team building activities as well as staff secondment activities across other divisions (and subsidiaries of the organisations) for senior members of staff as a means of preparing them for ‘succession planning’ where a prescribed approach becomes hardly manageable or sensitive. Keywords Succession planning · Rivalry · Culture · Futuristic · Commitment © The Author(s) 2020 J. E. Opute, HRM in Africa,



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Background Succession planning is one of those initiatives that requires monitoring and therefore not an occasional event. Experience suggests that the first (and in my view) safe approach is to carry out an ‘age profile’ of all employees. This will dictate whether the organisation has an ageing workforce or otherwise and therefore make efforts to address any imbalance. The other step is to do a job role analysis/profile which addresses various job holders and the associated likely replacement. This will expose the need or otherwise of a succession plan that is tied to all key positions in the organisation. For example, if the Head of Engineering is 55 years old and the deputy (on paper) is 56 years old, this already suggests we have a succession problem, so every organisation should aim at doing the least—job role analysis/employee profile as a matter of ongoing policy. This area of HR management is forward-looking and therefore extremely futuristic. Most organisations seem to be unduly focused on the challenges and successes of today that an approach that suggests ‘tomorrow will take care of itself ’ is encouraged but in the real sense it can be likened to an accident that is waiting to happen. In many developing economies, the cultural orientation of uncertainty avoidance and long-term orientation cannot be ignored as they impact on the degree to which the members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity and relationship between the present and the future, respectively (Sharma 2010). We must therefore continue to plan for today and tomorrow because establishing succession planning strategy is like a journey and not a destination. We must continue to focus on ‘what if ’ questions with all staff members. The beginning step is to take a staff audit which will reveal the following: i. What is the staff level in numbers and qualifications? Are we able to cope in the absence of any member of staff? ii. What are the age differences between heads of functions and their subordinates/assistants? Are they likely of close age differences?

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iii. Do we have an ageing staff? What is the composition of baby boomers, millennials, generation X, etc.? These categorisations have implications for succession planning. Based on the above, we should either review our recruitment plans or/and our training and development agenda. The goal is to ensure we have not just the right people in the right position but also at the right time. For any organisation, continuity cannot be compromised. Whilst this is desirable, the inundating challenges faced daily makes future planning to take the back seat coupled with the cultural disposition of ‘the future will take care of itself ’ in the cultural disposition of some developing economies.

Contemporary Human Resources In the human resources literature, talent management attracts many connotations and approaches, one of which is succession planning. Succession planning in some organisations is tend to be viewed as part of the resourcing strategy and hardly a stand-alone activity for the purposes of workforce planning and career development (Foot and Hook 2015). Yet, some organisations take what can be considered the traditional approach of identifying key individuals who will be ready to assume senior positions in future. This approach, whilst laudable, might be viewed from the contemporary perspective that organisation may be stale in the absence of ‘new entrants’ into the business, which might also improve diversity (Wilkinson and Redman 2013; Beardwell and Thompson 2017). The traditional perspective views succession planning as the application of a robust capital planning approach which identifies existing occupants of key positions and examines likely successors considering age, experience and other contextual issues. This approach is usually driven by the line manager with support from the human resources function.


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Empirical Data on Current Succession Planning Practices ‘In most public sectors in Africa, politics impacts succession planning especially at the top-level cadre. Political affiliation largely determines who succeeds a permanent secretary or a director in a ministry. In succession planning in the private sector. Ethnocentrism and family members’ succession are some of the cultural factors impacting succession planning. Due to the adoption of technology in recruitment exercise, a chunk of large organisations have automated their succession planning process. However, there are challenges with succession planning among MSMEs in Africa as many MSMEs hardly survives their owners’. Kabiru Ayinde Oyetunde—Nigeria ‘Culture influences succession planning. Candidates from the locality tends to have an edge. Furthermore, cultural and socio-economic considerations such as age and sex can influence succession planning. Organisational leadership tends to be biased towards tribe, religion, gender and age’. Kolapo Oluyinka Abiola—Nigeria ‘The absence of relevant technological tools (that help managing the knowledge inside of many companies) makes the succession planning non structured and non-efficient in many circumstances’. Zineb El Abbassi—Morocco ‘The talent pool for business and organisations to pick employees and train them to become leaders is customarily limited to CEO and top management personnel and so hardly cascades down. Identifying, preparing and developing future leaders has severe challenges. Managers in Ghana use subjective criteria for identifying succession candidates rather than objective criteria. This has led to most small business and companies going down in growth when the leader retires because of poor succession planning. Culture can impact massively on succession planning. Gender equality is still not recognised in some parts of Northern Region in Ghana. In

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these places, women who have been nurtured by Western Companies to succeed the outgoing leaders position experience lack of support from male counterparts. This decreases the confidence level of such women, thus making it difficult to pursue leadership role’. Mercy Fimpong—Ghana ‘Not introduced widely in governmental sector. Somehow, succession planning is applied as an HR practise in big companies or international companies in Sudan (MTN) where the group rules apply so this an ‘exportative strategy’ but it has its limitations’. Mona Mohammad—Sudan

Conclusions and Implications Whilst succession planning is being embraced in many organisations, the challenge is that of representation. This representation cuts across ethnicity, region and expatriation. The later impacts much more on the private sector (in particular, multinational organisations). As a deliberate company policy, succession planning is not very common because apart from the limited situation where there are enough people to move into several positions, the issue of rivalry is a concern. Many incumbents see the nomination (or apparent plan to groom a successor) as a threat to their position and may hold back any form of support for the identified individual. Another challenge is the issue of representation from various perspectives. For example, heads of function may frown about the grooming of a successor from another ethnic or religious group as this will be viewed as a deliberate policy to restrict their influence in the organisation. This practice is worse in the public service where every head of function tends to view their position as an ‘award’ for their ethnic or religious group which must be preserved. Most of the time, this arrangement also has a political dimension and patronage. Another implication is that most organisations devote a significant effort in team building activities and training as well as exposing the


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senior category of their staff to secondment activities across other divisions and subsidiaries of the organisation. From a practical perceptive, some organisations rotate the ‘acting responsibility’ role amongst the team so that no obvious individual is presented and by so doing, restrict rivalry and improve cooperation amongst the team.

Discussion Questions i. Succession planning is a forward-looking approach towards career development. Does identifying a successor in an organisational setting create any rivalry? ii. Some cultural orientations/attitudes towards time can influence succession planning. What is the HR strategy towards getting around long-term orientation and uncertainty avoidance? iii. What is the relationship between succession planning and talent management? iv. The deployment of expatriates is to encourage knowledge transfer and build capacity for the multinational organisations. How can expatriation support succession planning? v. ‘The future will take care of itself ’. How can this challenge the concept of succession planning?

References Beardwell, J., & Thompson, A. (2017). Human Resource Management: A Contemporary Approach. Harlow, UK: Pearson. Foot, M., & Hook, C. (2015). Introducing Human Resource Management. Harlow, UK: Prentice Hill. Sharma, P. (2010). Measuring Personal Cultural Orientation: Scale Development and Validation. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 38(6), 787–806. Wilkinson, A., & Redman, T. (2013). Contemporary Human Resource Management. Harlow, UK: Pearson.

6 Management of Disputes, Exits and Retirement

Abstract There seems to be an inherent belief that the organisation is an extension of the family in several developing economies. It is believed that employees are the ones to decide when they separate from the organisation and not the organisation despite any reason the latter might wish to advance for the cessation of employment. Many employees do not look forward to retirement as it a cessation of earnings with only few organisations providing substantive pension benefits. Where these benefits are provided, they are hardly adjusted to reflect the economic circumstances of the country. However, where compromising is intolerable, a ‘soft landing’ is provided so, for example, instead of summary dismissal such separations are converted to terminations so that some form of benefits can still be earned by the offending employee. The cessation of employment in Africa attracts several implications and multiplier effects to the employee because of the ‘dependency syndrome’ in the society. The employee is regarded not only as the ‘bread winner’ for the immediate family but also to the extended family. Keywords Disputes · Exits · Retirement · Extended family · Cessation of employment · Summary dismissal and separation © The Author(s) 2020 J. E. Opute, HRM in Africa,



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Background The government in many countries encourages employers to establish pension schemes that will support employees at the cessation of employment, but these are hardly tied to inflation or any other indices to capture future improvement. The issue of ‘actual/real age’ can also be contested because the desire of most employees is to work for as long as possible using ‘working age’ rather than ‘birth age’. This is an interesting phenomenon as it puts the HR function in a very delicate position when it becomes apparent that an employee should separate from the organisation because of poor/declining performance, discipline or old age. Additionally, the HR function ‘subconsciously’ considers all the associated dependents to an employee (as the home provider), so strict measures such as terminations are compromised in some cases and converted to warnings so that the family life is not destroyed. Every organisation has key ethos that must be central to its operations so also is the society. For many developing economies, losing one’s job is the last thing to be desired. A healthy working environment is a panacea for business efficacy. Teamwork and team spirit are extremely crucial tenets in developing economies as a result of the socio-economic challenges and cultural dispositions of viewing the organisation as an extension of the family. A cohesive team can be achieved through some practices as follows: i. Hold regular meetings and ask different individuals (irrespective of position) to manage the process. ii. Agree on group rather than individual targets. iii. Organise social events that will cut across religion, age and status. The fallout of these bonding sessions is that it can let out steams, frustrations, anxieties and the likes and thus ameliorate disputes. Disputes: We should not ignore the importance of establishing a disciplinary procedure which is robust, consistent and fair to all. It should ultimately aim at corrections as opposed to punishment. Most disciplinary procedures tend to aim at punishment as opposed to correction.

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The latter gives room for restoration whilst the former admits defeat and alienation. Exits and Separations: These are part of organisational life, and we cannot escape them. However, should we be faced with the need for an employee to be exited, it should be handled with no acrimony and such employees should be released immediately so that ‘bad blood’ is not spread across the team. A leaving employee should not leave with a sense of ‘loss’ but with that of ‘gain’. The organisation should be as ‘generous’ as possible as remaining employees are watching with keen interest. The only occasions where strict disengagement rules are to be enforced is for employees leaving on criminal circumstances. As an important rule, it is advisable not to give ‘circumstantial reasons’ for separation as this can lead to litigation. If it becomes necessary to review staff numbers, separation should not be based on age or time of joining the organisation. It should be based on competences and the future direction of the organisation. This approach tends to be compromised because of societal considerations and external pressures in many developing economies. Also, it is desirable to explore voluntary exit as a starting point, but in so doing, it should be properly managed so deserving staff are not lost. Retirement: This is an obvious destination for all employees. Most organisations tend to underestimate the effect of how treating exiting staff can impact on the morale of remaining employees. The actions of the organisation can either encourage or discourage continuity by existing staff. It is good practice to discuss retirement management on the local (In-House/Enterprise) basis and should cut across all levels of employees because it is one subject that is a ‘leveller’ for all employees. It should cover pre-retirement activities—talks, seminars, presentations, after retirement business opportunities (such as exploring dealership or supply assignment with the organisation), etc. Therefore, an employer of choice demonstrates valuing employees from the beginning to the end because ‘all is well that ends well’.


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Contemporary Human Resources The importance of the awareness of relevant laws relating to employee relations cannot be overemphasised. People operate from different viewpoints, and separations in whatever form should be managed in a manner that will promote employer and employee relations (Foot and Hook 2015). Many organisations aim to put in place programmes to improve retention including effective management of expectations. However, whilst the argument for a modest staff turnover is desirable, a high attrition rate can be damaging for the organisation (Torrington et al. 2014). In a similar recognition, Wilkinson and Redman (2013) reiterate the view that organisational downsizing (considering the extent) has the potential of creating problems if not well managed. In furtherance to this, employers are challenged to aim at protecting the integrity of their disciplinary procedure particularly with respect to the HR role. Managing employee relations with respect to exit has consequences for ‘Executors’, ‘Leavers’ and ‘Remainders’. An important challenge in the labour turnover and employee retention debate is centred on how organisations ensure that they have the best chance of retaining the people they employ, considering the investment in human resource management. It is also useful not to ignore why people might leave the organisation. In a competitive world, retaining employees has become an increasing challenge (Torrington et al. 2014; Taylor 2014; Leopold and Harris 2009). However, the employer can fix problems that may push people towards exits (in some societies) but cannot counter the pull of the market as the employer cannot shield the people from attractive opportunities and aggressive recruiters (Cappelli 2000). Organisational strategies in these cases may delay the inevitable for a short time but are not likely to deter resignations.

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Empirical Data on Management of Disputes, Exits and Retirement Practices ‘Employees are let go or retained as casual workers when the company wants to cut cost, if the situation of the economy is affecting the progress of businesses’. Uzoamaka Ibekwe—Nigeria ‘Politics impacts disputes exit and retirement in Africa in ways not limited to enactment of laws and legislations for employer–employee(s) dispute resolution mechanisms, legislations on retirement age and ways and manners of employee exit. Traditional institutions, norms and values play a major role in dispute resolution in Africa. Also, different cultural moral compass determines how employees perceive abuse or other issues in the workplace that can lead to their exiting. The social status of working employees and the developing nature of the African economies impact exit and retirement. Many employees find it difficult to leave their job due to its ripple economic and social effects’. Babiru Ayinde Oyetunde—Nigeria ‘Workplace politics brings disputes in many ways and when this happens, it become difficult to resolve. Culture matters for effective for communication when there is a conflict. Value, belief, history and norms influence the quality of communication and effectiveness of solving disputes. Dispute from people with same and similar culture are resolved quickly and easy and vice versa’. Mercy Fimpong—Ghana ‘It isn’t very easy to fire a person that has been working for a few years in either the public or private sector. Usually people don’t get fired from the public sector unless they have made a terrible mistake, it happens more in the private sector though. Nonetheless, there have been instances where people in higher positions retired suddenly or were asked to leave because of political reasons, but they’re not very transparent about the reasons, and most of the time it happens in political positions’.


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Ghita Souissi—Morocco ‘I believe the socio-economic situation and the crisis in the employment market impacts the disputes and exit conditions, giving more indirect power to the employer, who can take advantage of the hard employment situation’. Zineb El Abbassi—Morocco CASE Study—The Case of Transport Services Corporation (TRANSCO) The Transport Services Corporation (TSC) was part of a larger conglomerate called ZENITH Training (including all international training), and recruitment particularly for senior staff was approved by the group executive director. The system worked well and there was a clear line of succession. During this period, it was normal to have other foreign nationals as Director or as finance manager in TSC. After 2002 and having ushered in multi-party democracy, the government embarked on a massive privatisation programme. Thus, TSC was separated into 3 separate entities TRANSTAN (in charge of transportations), TRANSCAP (in charge of travel bookings) and TRANSCAL (in charge of courier services). The three entities were created by ACT of parliament and this resulted in the three entities sharing assets. Today the three corporations fall under the ministry of industry and the minister has the authority to appoint the supervisory board of Directors. In the first 8 years of TRANSCAL’s creation, training and succession plans as well as operations all worked well until political interference started. The board of Directors is mandated to appoint the General Manager who is the CEO. Since TRANSCAL’s creation all regional managers have been fired. Of the six RGMs, the last four have been appointed purely on ‘connectocracy’/political grounds, some of whom lack the experience of running a courier organisation. This is also true about some of the junior staff that have been employed and who are merely party faithful.Though trade unions exist and employees are encouraged to join, most trade unions are very weak and compromised due to political

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interference. The result is that in the case of TRANSCO the organisation has become so incompetent that by January 2020 the institution has not paid its workers for nine months! The institution owes the Revenue Authority millions in unremitted PAYE deductions the same to the National Pension Scheme Authority as well as other institutions. Political influence also ensures that these state-owned entities are forced to give business contracts to politically exposed persons and in some cases are cash cows for the party in power. Inevitably, most of the state-owned enterprises are insolvent. Negroes Dube—Zambia

Conclusions and Implications Disciplinary actions are extremely sensitive matters in developing economies. The cessation of employment has severe consequences to the extended family because of the chain reaction on the average employee. In some African countries, you cannot lay off staff without the approval of government because of the trickle-down effect and the impact on the larger communities. The lack of an adequate social security system is the central reason for this approach in many countries. The rule extends to the private sector (including multinationals) so the laying off of staff as a result of poor company performance is unacceptable reason for laying-off staff. The goal of the average employee is to ‘work until they cannot walk’ so many organisations (particularly the public sector) have introduced the working period as a key indicator of qualification for retirement as opposed to age only. The latter is gradually becoming an unreliable indicator. In the public sector, the application of the retirement age (amongst other reasons) is intended to ease out ageing staff whose positions can be filled by new applicants. The private sector tends to rely entirely on the age qualification as a means of staff replacement, but the reasons are much more for attracting ‘new blood’ as opposed to just filing the resulting vacancies.


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Litigations are frowned at so even in circumstances where an employee has committed a grievous offence, that would normally attract ‘summary dismissal’ (which can limit severance pay), employees are terminated instead, as the latter will ensure that an employee receives all applicable benefits, including writing off loans, which is a common feature in the employee relations perspective in many African countries. Thus, you are challenged to be your ‘Brother’s Keeper’ till the end.

Discussion Questions i. In many organisations, ‘employees work’ until they ‘cannot work’. What is responsible for this seemingly accepted attitude and how can it be addressed? ii. The average employee views the organisation as an extension of their family. Is this assertion applicable to the twenty-first-century employee? iii. What measures can the state and private enterprises put in place to encourage the notion of embracing retirement, without the employee feeling a sense of loss? iv. Consolidating/strengthening the ability and competencies of employees and the capability and capacity of organisations to accomplish defined target is a key task for the HR function. How can organisations ensure that they have the best chance of retaining the people they employ? v. ‘Employee reduction and management of exits’. The most valuable asset or the most disposable resource? What methods of workforce reduction can be used and what are the impacts and implications?

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References Cappelli, J. (2000, January–February). Managing Uncertainty—A Market Driven Approach to Retaining Talent. Harvard Business Review, 78(1), 103–111. Foot, M., & Hook, C. (2015). Introducing Human Resource Management. Harlow, UK: Prentice Hill. Leopold, J., & Harris, L. (2009). The Strategic Management of Human Resources. Harlow: FT Prentice Hall. Taylor, S. (2014) Resourcing and Talent Management (5th ed.). London: CIPD. Torrington, D., Hall, L., & Taylor, S. (2014). Human Resource Management. Harlow, UK: Prentice Hill. Wilkinson, A., & Redman, T. (2013). Contemporary Human Resource Management. Harlow, UK: Pearson.

7 Conclusion

Abstract From a broad perspective on the academic literature, there are some interesting debates and studies on employee perceptions of the HR practices and function albeit with limited focus on developing economies and the implications for future direction. This book addresses the HR function from current development of people management in Africa—cutting across politics, culture, the socio-economic and technological perspectives and persuasions. These contextual issues impact on the HR function in different dimensions across different business organisations and countries. Equally relevant is lessons for the international HR student and practitioner as well as the connectivity of the multinational corporations (sometimes significantly influenced by home country orientation) and ethnocentric persuasions. In providing a concluding note, attention is being drawn to the role of the respective government, the public and private sector organisations—mainly in Africa. Mention is also made of the obvious fallouts of the contextual issues and other associated issues—namely politics and economy, culture and the socioeconomic environment, technology, collective bargaining, SMEs and the State, academic literature and research.

© The Author(s) 2020 J. E. Opute, HRM in Africa,



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Keywords Government · Africa · HR function · Multinational organisations · Politics and economy · Culture · Socio-economic environment · Technology · Industrial relations · Collective bargaining · SMEs

The Role of Government, Public and Private Organisations This book takes a clue from several publications on the management of the HR function in Africa. Whilst managing the HR function is faced with varying contours across the continent, there are contextual issues that impact on the management of this function from different perspectives. The aim of the book therefore is to take a critical look at these contextual issues, sharing from an empirical perspective and thus stimulating and challenging the approach of managing the function much more from understanding the extent and implications of not just how the HR function will position itself to manage the function but also to call on the respective ‘influencers’ of business management, owners of small- and medium-sized businesses, academic institutions (keen on understanding the workings of the HR function from an African perspective) and multinational organisations to the support and understanding required to improve people management and ultimately business efficacy. The discussions and interviews with individuals cut across West, East, North and South Africa, and they share their combined working experiences from assignments cutting across the public, small- and medium-sized organisations and multination enterprises. Their academic backgrounds also bring to bear their appreciation of the application and relevance of various HR concepts and principles and their workability in real-life settings. Some of the individuals have also taken on the role of managing the HR function at strategic company levels as well as taking on responsibility for profit and loss in some of the organisations, where people management was identified as the catalyst for progress. The book therefore is a rich reflection of theory and practice from a real-life setting as well as proving an interesting future perspective for the management of

7 Conclusion


the HR function in Africa. The major themes of the book are discussed below.

Politics and Economy Political development in Africa is an ongoing challenge, which is greatly influenced by several historical backgrounds and dispensations. The colonial experience provided the foundation of several political persuasions, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to Akira (2020), the year 2005 was regarded as the second year of Africa, referring to 1960 the year in which African nations achieved independence one after the other. However, Africa’s continued reliance on foreign aid (particularly Western Aid) has increased the influence of various aspects of governance including promoting political change in addition to economic reforms. Therefore, democratic reforms were highlighted as important factors in the determination of future economic assistance for Africa. However, democracy in Africa continues to attract some myths. The view is held that democracy is not spreading across Africa despite the claim of independence because power is resting in the hands of the so-called ‘Big men’. Furthermore, it is felt that whilst elections are the sole indicator of a thriving democracy, high voter turnout sometimes means corruption and finally, the passing of power tends to be violent (Kweifio-Okai and Holder 2020). Despite the overwhelming acknowledgment of key elements of good governance that is plaguing African countries (such as popular participation in governance, accountability and transparency, the elimination of corruption, the protection of freedom of information and human rights and the decentralisation and devolution of power), the political realities of each African country defer, each of which has its own unique characteristics and this therefore does not allow us to make too much a generalisation or take a stereotypical view (Akira 2020). The elimination of such single-sided generalisation can be a useful trajectory for the management of human resources and the applicable functions in a diverse continent as Africa.


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Culture/Socio-Economic Environment Culture attracts several definitions and the intention is to take the simple narration of viewing culture as the total of the peculiarities and similarities shared by a group of people which can also include their values (Idang 2015). Furthermore, ‘The value of a thing, be it an object or a belief, is normally defined as its worth. Just as an object is seen to be of a high value that is treasured, our beliefs about what is right or wrong that are worthy being held are equally treasured’ (Idang 2015: p. 3). An important lesson that stems from this is that whether we are aware of it or not, the African society has ways of forcing its values on us about what appears acceptable and this therefore poses the challenge of how far to go or not to go as this impacts on the HR function. Much more complicated is that culture in Africa is an embodiment of social, moral, religious and economic values. Understanding how they manifest from country to country is crucial in managing the HR function and one viable approach is the deliberate recruitment of a local manager to head the HR function. This may not guarantee accomplishment in all areas of the function but provide a panacea to alluding to the peculiarities and eccentricities of every country. Many oil companies, recognising the importance of community relations, have appointed individuals with the sole responsibility of community liaison and management. From a theoretical perspective and with respect to developing economies, there has been debate about alternative approaches to examining development and participation, e.g. classic accounts of development and participation, contemporary institutional approaches, cultural accounts and dominant models. However, it is acknowledged that allowing for the periodic emergence and diffusions of alternative models cannot be ignored (Hollingsworth 2006; Wood 2010). Aycan et al. (2006) alluded to the fact that the model of culture fit suggests that organisational culture is shaped by multiple forces which are unrelated to societal culture, albeit paying attention to selection of organisational and country characteristics is paramount. The GLOBE Project (a network of social scientists and management scholars from several cultures working in a coordinated long-term effort to examine the interrelationships between societal culture, organisational

7 Conclusion


culture and organisational leadership) identified the human-oriented approach as a management orientation based on cultural studies. This perspective identifies such a leadership style as supportive and involving compassion and generosity towards subordinates (Javidan et al. 2006). However, Project GLOBE does not examine the factors that drive this perspective, other than culture in a wider perspective. Furthermore, the work of some scholars (Besamusca and Tijdens 2015), in comparing the contents of collective bargaining agreements for developing countries (mainly Africa), is quite revealing but it does not elucidate the appropriateness of the contents in the challenging environments of many developing countries; neither does it anticipate any emerging scenarios and the required pragmatism. However, the findings of Hayter et al. (2011)—alluding to innovative practices in respect of the applications of collective bargaining (as an example) and the role of stakeholders— provide an interesting trajectory for this book. Although numerous studies (Woods 2010; Besamusca and Tijdens 2015; Lamarche 2015) highlight the importance of collective bargaining (a significant cultural disposition in Africa) in the HRM literature, there are limited literature and empirical studies that identify employee cultural orientation as concomitant to workforce expectations in developing economies. Neither do Western employment frames of reference represent appropriate theoretical paradigms for the analysis of the socioeconomic context inherent to employment relations in many developing economies (Khan and Ackers 2004; Wood 2010). Accordingly, the book is intended to address the peculiar cultural orientation of many African countries and thus highlighting some items (chiefly benefits and allowances) that are components of many collective bargaining processes to demonstrate that employee rewards has specific country orientations, reflecting on both the societal predispositions of each country or region as well as the cultural paradigms and the connectivity of these issues. The socio-economic situation has a significant bearing on the HR function and practice. For example, alluding to the fact that countries with high individualistic tendencies will have relatively low collective bargaining coordination is relevant to this book. It highlights the importance of employee engagement beyond collective bargaining because this is the channel for making individual and ‘collective indirect demand’


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(outside of any formal settings) to seek support. There is no doubting the fact that most HR processes cover various employee benefits. The intention is to demonstrate the commitment of the company to addressing various issues that are relevant to employment relationships. For example, it is common to indicate items such as utility, education support, housing loan, meal subsidy and vehicle loans—to name a few—in conditions of employment. This strong paternalistic approach to management helps to explain the reason why the employee views the employer as an extension of family, a point that has been repeatedly mentioned. However, it can be argued that sometimes what drives paternalism is not the culture but rather it is the insufficient social welfare system in most African countries (Opute 2014; Opute et al. 2020). As an example, and according to NECA (Nigeria Employers Consultative Association) survey on remuneration practices across member companies, all 8 of the identified best remuneration practices in the participating companies relate to non-financial compensation (Opute 2010). This discovery goes further to explain that more companies are offering family-friendly conditions that place less emphasis on the payment of wages and salaries. In a similar study of compensation preferences in Nigeria (as an example), it is argued that benefits and allowances other than base salary are significant motivating factors in the workplace. This assertion reaffirms an earlier study by Chen and Hsieh (2006: p. 6) to the effect that in many developing countries, key trends of the total reward system in the twenty-first century, stress the fact that ‘modern reward system embraces everything that is valued by employees in the employment relationship’. They further stress the need for a holistic and integrated approach to compensation. Reaffirming employees’ perception towards HRM policies and practices in the case study research of Kannan (2014), some key concerns are withdrawal of customary benefits, inadequate welfare measures and unsatisfactory organisational climate. This assertion remains relevant today and therefore, welfare-driven benefits are crucial factors in compensation management, a consequence of the socio-economic challenges that cannot be ignored in Africa (Opute et al. 2020).

7 Conclusion


Technology Conventionally, HR was always viewed as a paper-intensive and seemingly non-innovative area, where matters such as salary decisions are made, people get hired or fired but behind the scenes the industry is changing and incorporating technology at a rapid pace (Jain 2014). The scope of HR activities was widened in the 90s with HR professionals performing the new and emerging role of strategic business partner, championing training and development, performance appraisal, rewards, change agent and employee champion, to mention the prominent ones (Seyni and Joshi 2014). Accordingly, the transition to digital working environment in the business world of today enables modern HR specialist to perform certain tasks in a faster manner and therefore able to pay attention to certain HR functions that can benefit from digital technology. The view is also held that in many African countries, digital technology reaches HR goals moderately (Seyni and Joshi 2014). This latter view arising from a research effort points to the fact that managers need to be aware of the technology that will increase effectiveness in their company and not simply embrace technology for the sake of technology. HRM information system has evolved since the 1980s from the relatively simple computer application to sophisticated human resources information and processes. The challenges that many African countries are contending with are as follows: i. The high-cost outlay to update existing HR systems and processes. ii. Increased malfunctioning (possibly resulting from epileptic power supply) to support HR needs. iii. Sourcing of qualified specialist with human resources functional area knowledge and possibility of retaining such individual(s) on a longterm basis. iv. Unauthorised access. v. Data entry errors. Despite the above challenges, a more overridding concern is management support for digital technology. In many African organisations, the focus on digital technology is organising and management of employee data


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and creation of detailed employee records. Accordingly, how to select HR information technology, the degree of flexibility of such systems, whether it can grow with the company, who takes responsibility for implementation, the reporting capabilities are issues that each company in every country is continually contending with; so the future direction of technology in HR will vary from company to company and from country to country.

SMEs and the State Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are important drivers of growth in economies across Sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for up to 90% of all business in these markets. Supporting SME growth is therefore a panacea to economic growth and revival, with the uncertainty of direct foreign investment in these economies. The role of smalland medium-sized entrepreneurs (SMEs) has been identified as a major driver for industrialisation, urbanisation and meaningful employment, particularly in developing economies (Opute 2017). Most people hold the view that a key obstacle to achieving sustainable growth in many developing nations is a lack of investment. Others share the view that leadership skills and networking in SMEs play critical roles in entrepreneurial success (Christian et al. 2018; Obeng 2018). Whereas these views are not being contested, the fundamental issue of possible sources of finance is usually ignored in many academic discussions. Fortunately, given the huge size of financial flows (remittance flows and direct investment in business ventures) originating from diaspora populations, the state can take on the initiative to create a one-stop shop for investment information and, by so doing, channel such flows to boost entrepreneurship, support innovations and encourage priority sectors of the economy (through partnerships with companies). This will, in return, form the ‘bed rock’ for possible advances in corporate social responsibility (including public infrastructure), networking and employment generations. Paradoxically, enterprises that will survive remain challenging, but the greater challenge is to mobilise the wealth of the diaspora, thus

7 Conclusion


establishing strong business and cultural communities that promote the best and brightest for the homeland. This is achievable if the contextual issues can be identified and learned by the relevant stakeholders (Terrazas 2010). Interesting enough, there is enormous entrepreneurial drive amongst the younger generations in several developing economies. Not only are they qualified but they are ready and prepared to take on what can be conceived as the ‘the millennium challenge’. They are no longer ‘losing sleep’ over who the next employer is but rather on the next opportunity available (Ovadje 2015). These developments should encourage diaspora investments in such areas as small and medium entrepreneurial ventures. Apart from the modest capital outlay, it also creates a platform for exploring new markets in an increasingly open market with opportunities for growth and continued innovation. Notwithstanding, it may not appear to be all sad news. There are many qualified individuals in most developing countries that are able and available to work but there are limited opportunities for employment in both the public and private sectors. However, a key contribution to the sustenance of SMEs is the application of sound HR practices, including state support for applicable labour laws for the sustenance of SMEs on the one hand, and the promotion of employee representation to support effective participation on the other hand. The HR function therefore has an enormous role to play in the development of SMEs in many developing countries provided the state can provide the enabling platform.

Implication for Industrial Relations On the industrial relations segment, the book provides new frontiers for industrial relations. It highlights new initiatives that are emerging in the workplace for employee engagement following the developments in the various HR functions identified. The book confirms that these evolving initiatives have improved cooperative relationship and provides feedback for HRM initiatives. Although, the industrial relations system in many African nations is generally perceived as driven by a tripartite arrangement of the state, employers and trade unions, there is little evidence


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to suggest established theoretical or empirical framework for HRM management in Africa. This book makes some contributions in this debate. For example, the discussions on rewards/compensation do not ignore the importance of the tripartite arrangement (state—represented by ministry of labour, employees—represented by the trade unions and the employers—represented by the employers’ association). Rather, it identifies the significant contextual issues, which the actors in this tripartite arrangement must understand as embedded in reward/compensation management. Although, various studies highlight the importance of strategic reward/compensation in the HR literature, there are very limited literature and empirical studies that identify the specific contextual issues that are embedded in compensation management in many developing economies. This book brings original evidence concerning some of these contextual factors (collectivism, paternalism, welfare and evolving economy) and how they impact the system (culture and industrial relations) in establishing a compensation strategy and thus a competitive advantage for company efficacy.

Transformation of Collective Bargaining Focusing on Nigeria (as an example), the discussion with HR practitioners points to the Trade Unions (Amendment) Act, 2005 as a significant factor in the collective bargaining process in Nigeria. The Act has propelled Nigeria towards creating and sustaining a pluralistic democratic approach to collective bargaining. The central issues are freedom of association, cessation of automatic checkoff and restriction on strike. Although the state has argued that the development is for the democratisation of the trade unions, many commentators argue that Nigeria does not seem ready for the sophistication of this advancement and that it could put collective bargaining to a state of flux. Many HR practitioners share the view that employers and trade unions seem to have established apathy towards this development. The possible return to multiple trade unions appears eminent though not desirable by all.

7 Conclusion


However, there could be some moderation in the items that constitute national or enterprise collective bargaining, but the latter may be predominantly non-monetary compensation-related issues such as canteen subsidy and medical assistance. The evolving nature of many developing economies economy is best suited for this approach. Centralising collective bargaining will enhance moderation in the system and protect the local companies who may become vulnerable to overzealous trade unionists at the enterprise level. Accordingly, industry-wide model of collective bargaining will most likely remain the probable bargaining outcome. The discussion of non-monetary items at the enterprise level also provides the opportunity for both the employers and employees to be more pragmatic in their collective bargaining as a result of their familiarity with the local conditions. The initial evidence for the support of a cooperative atmosphere in the workplace reinforces this positive evaluation.

Academic Literature/Research Human resources management and development on the one hand will provide the platform to unlock human resource potentials in Africa but on the other hand, understanding the contextual issues associated with the functions of HR will provide the platform for concentrating on what matters, when it matters, where it matters and how it matters. Unfortunately, there appears to be a paucity of research and academic contributions on the contextual issues affecting the HR function in the African continent beyond contemporary discussions (Wang et al. 2020). Furthermore, there appears to be limited academic studies which (for example) directly impact members of various international academic persuasions, professional/consulting institutions, postgraduate students in international HRM, and the well-being (and awareness) of the broader academic research communities. It is therefore important ‘to enlarging the empirical scope to consider, for example, cross-cultural issues, and enhancing practical relevance’ (Wang et al. 2020: p. 157).


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From a broad perspective on the academic literature, there are some interesting debates and studies on employee perceptions of the HR practices and functions albeit with limited focus on developing economies and the implications for future direction (Wang et al. 2020; Farndale and Sanders 2017; Ostroff and Bowen 2000, 2016; Kamoche 2011). However, a searching debate by some authors serves as a trajectory to the assignment of this book as the views expressed bother the link between perceived HRM practices, engagement and employee behaviour (through a moderated mediation model) on the one hand, and the responsibility for the design, adoption, enactment and implementation of the strategy and practice on the other hand (Alfes et al. 2013; Beijer et al. 2019; Buyens and De Vos 2001). However, what it appears to hardly address is the ‘What’ (relative content), the ‘How’ (relative strength) and ‘Why’ (the related attribution) and how these can be advanced to capture the possible connections between national culture and HR strength (Wang et al. 2020). In furtherance to this, many authors (Wang et al. 2020; Sanders et al. 2018; Farndale and Sanders 2017; Kim and Wright 2011) have alluded to the fact that the expansion to the range of empirical context and the need for research to expand the dynamics of culture and institutional environments is crucial. They argue the same set of HR practices and functions may attract divergent employee outcomes in different societies. Building on these assertions, this book focuses on HR systems and practices as not just the target of employees’ perception (and expectation) but as well as employers’ perceptions, as the working together of these ‘two unions’ provides a better perception on how to manage the HR functions to achieve effective employee outcomes in many developing economies and become agile organisations (Wang et al. 2020; Nijssen and Paauwe 2012). It is hoped that this book has unearthed the ‘down-to-earth’ matters impacting on prominent HR functions across the African continent (albeit not covering every nation) and that it will help in directing future debates and research in these areas.

7 Conclusion


References Akira, S. (2020). African Politics: Identifying Unique Characteristics Through Comparison. Institute of Developing Economies. English/Research/Topics/Pol/African/overview.html. Accessed 13 February 2020. Alfes, K., Shantz, A., Truss, C., & Soane, E. (2013). The Link Between Perceived Human Resource Management Practices, Engagement and Employee Behaviour: A Moderated Mediation Model. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24 (2), 330–351. Aycan, Z., Kanugo, R., Mendonca, M., Yu, K., Deller, J., Stahl, G., et al. (2006). Impact of Culture on Human Resource Practices: A Ten Country Study. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 49 (1), 192–221. Beijer, S., Pecci, R., Van Veldhoven, M., & Paauwe, J. (2019). The Turn to Employees in the Measurement of Human Resource Practices: A Critical Review and Proposed Way Forward. Human Resource Management Journal . Besamusca, J., & Tijdens, K. (2015). Comparing Collective Bargaining Agreements for Developing Countries. International Journal of Manpower, 36 (1), 86–102. Buyens, D., & De Vos, A. (2001). Perceptions of the Value of the HR Function. Human Resource Management Journal, 11(3), 70–89. Chen, H., & Hsieh, Y. (2006, November–December). Key Trends of the Total Reward System in the 21st Century. Compensation and Benefits Review, 38(6), 64–70. Christian, H., Kevin, B., & Stuart, P. (2018). Entrepreneurial Leadership in a Developing Economy: A Skill-Based Analysis. Journal of Small Business Enterprise Development, 25 (3), 521–548. Farndale, E., & Sanders, K. (2017). Conceptualizing HRM System Strength Through a Crosscultural Lens. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28(1), 132–148. Hayter, S., Fashoyin, T., & Kochan, T. A. (2011). Review Essay: Collective Bargaining for the 21st Century. Journal of Industrial Relations, 53(2), 225– 247. Hollingsworth, J. R. (2006). Advancing our Understanding of Capitalism Through Niels Bohr’s Thinking about Complementarity. In G. Wood and P. James (Eds.), Institutions, Production and Working Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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Idang, G. E. (2015). African Culture and Values. Phronimon, 16 (2), 97–111. Jain, V. K. (2014, June). Impact of Technology on HR Practices. International Journal of Information and Futuristic Research, 1(10), 25–37. Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., de Laque, Sully, & House, R. J. (2006). In the Eye of the Beholder: Cross Cultural Lessons in Leadership from Project Globe. Academy of Management Perspectives, 20 (1), 67–91. Kamoche, K. (2011). Contemporary Developments in the Management of Human Resources in Africa. Journal of World Business, 46, 1–4. Kannan, V. (2014, December). Employees’ Perception Towards HRM Policies and Practices. International Journal of Engineering and Management Research, 4 (6), 90–96. Khan, A., & Ackers, P. (2004). Neo-Pluralism as a Theoretical Framework for Understanding HRM in Sub-Saharan Africa. International Journal of Human Resources Management, 15 (7), 1330–1353. Kim, S., & Wright, P. M. (2011). Putting Strategic Human Resource Management in Context: A Contextualized Model of High Commitment Work Systems and Its Implications in China. Management and Organization Review, 7 (1), 153–174. Kweifio-Okai, C., & Holder, J. (2020). Democracy in African Countries: Five Myths Explored. The Guardian. pment/datablog/2016/feb/25/democracy-in-african-countries-five-mythsexplored. Accessed 13 February 2020. Lamarche, C. (2015). Collective Bargaining in Developing Countries. IZA World of Labour 2015: 183. Nijssen, J., & Paauwe, J. (2012). HRM in Turbulent Times: How to Achieve Organisational Agility. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(16), 3315–3335. Obeng, B. (2018). Strategic Networking and Small Firm Growth in an Emerging Economy. Journal of Small Business Enterprise Development. Opute, J. E. (2010, January). Compensation Strategies and Competitive Advantages in the Globalised Economy: Nigerian Based Study. PhD thesis, London South Bank University, London, UK. Opute, J. (2014). Globalization and Industrial Relations in Transformational Economies: The Contextual Issues. International Relations and Diplomacy, 2(1), 66–75. Opute, J. (2017). Management of Diaspora Business: Issues and Learning. In D. Hack-polay & J. Siwale (Eds.), African Diaspora Investment. London: Macmillan.

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Opute, J. (2020). In K. Koch & P. Pietro (Eds.), International Comparative Employee Relations: The Role of Culture and Languages. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Opute, J., Hack-Polay, D., & Rahman, M. (2020). Globalisation and HR Practices in Africa: When Culture Refuses to Make Way for So-called universalistic perspectives. International Journal of Business and Globalisation. ISSN 1753–3627. Ostroff, C., & Bowen, D. E. (2000). Moving HR to a Higher Level: HR Practices and Organizational Effectiveness. In K. J. Klein & S. W. J. Kozlowski (Eds.), Multilevel Theory, Research, and Methods in Organizations: Foundations, Extensions, and New Directions (pp. 211–266). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Ostroff, C., & Bowen, D. E. (2016). Reflections on the 2014-Decade Award: Is There Strength in the Construct of HR System Strength? Academy of Management Review, 41(2), 196–214. Ovadje, F. (2015). Millennials in the Nigerian Workplace, Research in Leadership Series. Lagos Business School: Lagos. Sanders, K., Jorgensen, F., Shipton, H., vanRossenberg, Y., Cunha, R., Li, X., et al. (2018). Performance-based Rewards and Innovative Behaviors. Human Resource Management, 57 (6), 1455–1468. Seyni, M., & Joshi, G. P. (2014). Impact of Information Technology in Human Resources Management. Global Journal of Business Management and Information Technology, 4 (1), 33–41. Terrazas, A. (2010, August). Diaspora Investment in Developing and Emerging Country Capital Markets: Patterns and Prospects. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. Wang, Y., Kim, S., Rafferty, A., & Sanders, K. (2020). Employee Perceptions of HR Practices: A Critical Review and Future Directions. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 31(1), 128–173. Wood, G. (2010). In A. Wilkinson, P. J. Gollan, M. Marchington, & D. Lewin (Eds.), Employee Participation in Developing and Emerging Countries. Oxford: Oxford University Press.




Adaptative 4 African 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 18–20, 24, 28, 47, 50, 52, 67, 69, 70, 74–79, 81, 83, 84 Allowances 42, 43, 48–50, 52, 77, 78 Appraisal 32–35, 40, 43, 46, 47, 50, 79

Collective agreement/bargaining 42–44, 48, 49, 52, 53, 77, 82, 83 Collectivism 20, 43–45, 47, 51, 82, 51 Company 2, 4, 5, 20, 23, 25, 27, 32, 33, 35, 40, 42, 44–46, 48–51, 60, 61, 67, 69, 74, 78–80, 82, 83 Connections 23, 25, 45, 46, 84 Connectocracy 26, 68 Contemporary 2, 3, 59, 76, 83 Contextual 3–5, 14, 40, 44, 45, 48–51, 59, 74, 81–83 Continent 6, 9, 20, 74, 75, 83, 84 Convergence 4 Culture 3–5, 20, 21, 23–26, 34, 44, 46–48, 50, 51, 60, 67, 76, 78, 82, 84


Best fit 4 Best practice 4 Birth age 64

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 J. E. Opute, HRM in Africa,






Democracy 6, 68, 75 Developing economy(ies) 3, 5, 14, 18, 21, 27, 32, 33, 35, 36, 41, 42, 44, 49, 50, 58, 59, 64, 65, 69, 76, 77, 80–84 Development 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 19, 22, 23, 32, 34, 35, 40, 43, 49, 52, 59, 75, 76, 81–83 Dismissal 70 Dispute 64, 67, 68 Divergence 4

Head hunting 21, 28 HR function 2–5, 14, 22, 32, 35, 40, 42, 49, 50, 64, 74–77, 79, 81, 83, 84 HRM (Human Resource Management) 2–5, 20, 23, 41, 44, 50, 51, 66, 77–79, 81, 83, 84


In-house training 32 Integrative 4 International 2–5, 8, 9, 83


Employee(s) 4, 18, 21–23, 26, 27, 32–35, 40–45, 47–53, 58, 60, 64–69, 77–81, 83, 84 Enterprise 4, 5, 23, 52, 65, 69, 74, 80, 83 Ethnicity 23, 24, 48, 61 Exit 65–68 Expatriate 4, 32, 33, 36, 42 Expatriation 4, 32, 61 Exportative 4 F


Job analysis/description 22 Job evaluation 41, 42


Knowledge transfer 32, 33, 36


Loan(s) 48–50, 52, 70 Long-term orientation 58

Favouritism 20, 24–26, 42, 46, 47 Futuristic 58 M G

Ghana 6, 26, 27, 46, 60 Globalisation 3, 51 Godfatherism 42 Government 7, 11, 12, 20, 26, 35, 36, 47, 49, 64, 68, 69

Morocco 8, 9, 25, 46 Multinational 4, 5, 69


NECA (Nigeria Employers Consultative Association) 78 Nepotism 20, 23, 24, 26, 34, 42, 46 Nigeria 6–8, 24, 51, 52, 78, 82



Organisation 2, 3, 18–24, 26–28, 32–36, 40–42, 46–50, 58–61, 64–66, 68, 69, 74, 79, 84


Paternalism 23, 44, 45, 47, 78, 82 Pension scheme 64 Politics 3–6, 9, 26, 33, 35, 46, 51, 60, 61 Private sector 8, 11, 24–27, 34, 47, 60, 61, 67, 69, 81 Professional 19, 27, 32, 79 Promotion 21–23, 32, 35, 40, 43, 46–48, 81 Public sector 23–27, 34, 35, 46, 47, 67, 69


Quotarism 42, 48


Recruitment and selection 18–21, 23–26, 28 Red tapism 24 Religion 24, 26, 40, 46, 50, 60, 64 Remuneration 48, 50, 78 Resource base 4 Retirement 65, 67, 69 Reward(s) 32, 40–52, 77–79, 82 Rivalry 41, 48, 61, 62

Selection 3, 18, 20, 22, 26, 76 Sierra Leone 12, 26 SMEs (Small and Medium Size Enterprise) 23, 35, 47, 74, 80, 81 Socio-economic/economical 3–6, 24, 25, 27, 28, 35, 44, 48, 49, 60, 64, 68, 77, 78 State 2, 6, 20, 23, 36, 45, 48, 51, 81, 82 Sub-saharan 3, 19 Succession 58, 60, 68 Succession planning 58–61 Sudan 9, 25, 26, 47 Summary dismissal 70


Targets 32, 35, 40, 41, 64, 84 Tasks 27, 32, 35, 40, 43, 79 Technology 3, 4, 27, 28, 32, 35, 36, 46, 60, 79, 80 Termination 64 Trade union(s) 19, 42, 45, 50–52, 68, 81, 82 Training 20, 32–34, 61, 68 Tribalism 26, 34, 42, 46 Tribe 26, 34, 40, 46, 60


Uncertainty avoidance 58


Saharan Africa 3, 75 Secondment 62


Wages and salaries 78 Working age 64





Youth unemployment 18, 19

Zambia 10–12