Cross-cultural management and the informal economy in Sub-Saharan Africa: implications for organization, employment and skills development

The informal economy has grown in importance within Sub-Saharan Africa, yet there are debates about its role within national economies that appear not to take cognisance of the interests and the weak power base of those working within the informal economy. This article argues that a cross-cultural perspective should be taken in understanding the geopolitical context of informal organisations, the power relationships involved and how the contributions and future of skills development, employment and organisation within the informal and wider economies can be better understood and researched. It initially alludes to the informal sector being closer to local communities, and more appropriate to developments in Africa, but draws on postcolonial theory to better understand the nature and role of such organisation within an interface of structural and phenomenological influences that question the nature of the ‘indigenous’ as an artefact. Some of the parameters of research in this area are drawn within this work while recognising that further development is needed in both theory and methods. This article thus attempts to lay the foundations for a cross-cultural conceptual framework leading to a methodology that can inform both practice and policy in this neglected but important area.

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