Postcolonial transitions in Africa:decolonization in West Africa and present day South Africa


Black Economic Empowerment is a highly debated issue in contemporary South Africa. Yet few South Africans realize that they are following a postcolonial trajectory already experienced by other countries. This paper presents a case study of British firms during decolonization in Ghana and Nigeria in the 1950s and 1960s, which saw a parallel development in business and society to that which occurred in South Africa in the 1990s and 2000s. Despite fundamental differences between these states, all have had to empower a majority of black citizens who had previously suffered discrimination on the basis of race. The paper employs concepts from social capital theory to show that the process of postcolonial transition in African economies has been more politically and socially disruptive than empowerment in Western countries. Historical research contributes to our understanding of the nature of institutional shocks in emerging economies.

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Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Economics, Finance & Entrepreneurship
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
Additional Information: This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Decker, S 2010, 'Postcolonial transitions in Africa: decolonization in West Africa and present day South Africa', Journal of management studies, vol 47, no. 5, pp. 791-813, which has been published in final form at
Uncontrolled Keywords: Black Economic Empowerment,South Africa,decolonization,British firms,Ghana,Nigeria,Business and International Management,Management of Technology and Innovation,Strategy and Management
Publication ISSN: 1467-6486
Last Modified: 09 May 2024 07:07
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2013 08:12
Full Text Link: http://onlineli ... 0924.x/abstract
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2010-07
Published Online Date: 2010-02-09
Authors: Decker, Stephanie (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-0547-9594)



Version: Draft Version

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