Business Management in Africa and the Arab Countries: Global Standards and Local Practices

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Ulrike M.M. SCHUERKENS, University Rennes 2 - LiRIS EA 7481 and EHESS, France
Michel VILLETTE, AgroParisTech, paris, France
Habibul KHONDKER, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates
The academic literature on enterprises in Africa and the Arab countries has focused on local management and governance considerations as obstacles to development. This negative and pessimistic view of societies in Africa and the Arab countries deserves to be carefully re-examined and this is the object of the investigations that we propose to carry out within the framework of the ManaGlobal research project. In this project, we study a sample of industrial and commercial plants operating in five countries: the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Senegal, Ghana and Cameroon. These plants are either subsidiaries of western multinationals, local companies or subsidiaries of a local group in the process of South-South internationalization. Our main question is: How can each of these establishments be particularly profitable and have exceptionally rapid growth?

To explain this quantifiable dependent variable, we develop in-depth qualitative analyzes that highlight the gap between globalized management standards as taught and prescribed in business schools, head offices and consulting firms, which tend to impose a Western way of doing business everywhere, and the most effective ways and means of doing business in each of the countries studied.

This research project aims to anticipate evolutions in progress. This is achieved through cooperations between junior and senior researchers from the various countries concerned and a team of European researchers. This cooperation takes place mainly during doctoral seminars organized in the partner countries. Focusing on the ethnographic approach to business practices, these seminars aim to promote endogenous and diversified management research and teaching, which is an alternative to the dominant model imported from the USA.