Brethren and mother's children : developing an industrial relations pluralism for African realities : a study of industrial relations and personnel management on the Gambian Docks
2013-12-13T11:38:02Z (GMT) by
This thesis concerns the implications of the clash between formal Western management theories and practices and 'informal' Mrican values, norms and interests, for the employment relationship. The study was carried out within a broad qualitative ethnographic paradigm that focused on the actors' perspectives and the 'social meanings' they attach to them. In that respect, it is about the sociological nature of Industrial relations (IR) and Personnel management (PM) problems in Sub-Saharan Mrica (SSA). An in-depth empirical study of IR and PM at an Mrican port revealed that these problems manifest themselves in consistent patterns of tensions and contradictions between Western management objectives and practices, and Mrican moral values and material interests. The conclusions challenge the unitarist neoliberal perspective as well as the radical, yet materialist analysis of Marxism and postcolonial critiques. It concludes that in the SSA context, broader social and moral issues of the wider community have a decisive influence on the employment relationship. As a result, established Western employment frames of reference are also not entirely suitable for analysing all the relevant social factors. The thesis contributes to existing academic knowledge about IR and PM in three key ways. Methodologically, it points to the need for qualitative ethnographic research in native languages to capture actors' social meaning and probe the informal organisation in SSA. Theoretically, it indicates the need to understand the SSA organisation as part of its wider and specific societal and historical context. Finally, it shows that it is possible to develop pluralist and stakeholder theory to link work, family, and society in an institutional model of IR and PM for SSA.