1st Edition

Postcolonial Transition and Global Business History British Multinational Companies in Ghana and Nigeria

By Stephanie Decker Copyright 2023
    198 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    British multinationals faced unprecedented challenges to their organizational legitimacy in the middle of the twentieth century as the European colonial empires were dismantled and institutional transformations changed colonial relationships in Africa and other parts of the world. This book investigates the political networking and internal organizational changes in five British multinationals (United Africa Company, John Holt & Co., Ashanti Goldfields Corporation, Bank of West Africa and Barclays Bank DCO). These firms were forced to adapt their strategies and operations to changing institutional environments in two English-speaking West African countries, Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) and Nigeria, from the late 1940s to the late 1970s. Decolonization meant that formerly imperial businesses needed to develop new political networks and change their internal organization and staffing to promote more Africans to managerial roles. This postcolonial transition culminated in indigenization programmes (and targeted nationalizations) which forced foreign companies to sell equity and assets to domestic investors in the 1970s. Postcolonial Transition and Global Business History is the first in-depth historical study on how British firms sought to adapt over several decades to rapid political and economic transformation in West Africa.

    Exploring both postcolonial transitions and development discourse, this book addresses the topics with regard to business and economic history and will be of interest to researchers, academics, and students in the fields of organizational change, political economy, African studies and globalization.

    1. Introduction   2. Organizational Legitimacy and the Development Discourse   PART I - Managing Postcolonial Transitions Externally   3. Corporate Political Activities before and after Independence   4. Indigenization Programmes and Organizational Legitimacy   PART II - Managing Postcolonial Transitions Internally   5. Africanization in Companies and in the Civil Service   6. African Managers in British Businesses   7. Conclusions    Appendices    Index


    Stephanie Decker is Professor of Strategy at the University of Birmingham Business School, UK, and visiting professor in African Business History at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She is co-editor-in-chief of Business History, on the editorial board of Organization Studies and Accounting History, and Co-Vice Chair for Research and Publications at the British Academy of Management.

    "Decker is a rare scholar, combining the empirical fastidiousness of a business historian with the conceptual and theoretical skills of an organization theorist, producing a book that should contribute to a more global and historivcal appreciation of the role of multinationals." – Stewart Clegg, Distinguished Professor, University of Technology Sydney Business School